UNC supporters in Central are swinging their votes towards Kamla Persad-Bissessar. However, her team has a hard fight on their hands.
Guardian Media took to the streets in the communities of Couva, Felicity, Chaguanas and California on Friday. Many refrained from going on Camera and using their names. Supporters said while they are sympathetic towards Kamla Persad-Bissessar, many will choose to vote for individuals rather than support any slate.
Michael Jaikaran, 66, a resident of Felicity, Chaguanas said it was time Persad-Bissessar took a rest. Jaikaran believes that an ageing Persad-Bissessar is no longer politically attractive to the new generation. Jaikaran said people are being bombarded by elections and are confused.
“They should get a youthful person now. She could serve in another capacity. In my view she should now stay home with her grandchildren,” he said.
Prem Poliah, 62, a resident of Perseverance Village, Couva said he is a strong supporter of the UNC.
Poliah told Guardian Media:
“Kamla should not wait to get kicked out like Panday. Every product has a life cycle. Politics too is a product; a political party is like a product and when it no longer becomes attractive, people will not want it. She should leave voluntarily with dignity and not shamed and booted out. Persad-Bissesar has surrounded herself with a lot of ‘yes’ men and operates like a dictator. Such a situation can possibly work on a small scale, but when the party’s membership gets fed up, they will leave. She may very well win on Sunday, and after that what? Bharath may go on to form a party that will attract the persons who dislike her. Look at Team Unity, the COP—they pulled a chunk of UNC supporters in the past.”
Rogers Gopaul, 45, of Mc Bean, Couva, said:
“People will vote for Kamla, not her executive. There are some of the same people running who have led the party to disaster at the polls. All the past executive members who were there during the defeat should take a rest and give others a chance. Their way led to failure and they should be big enough to admit it. While I have no grouse against Vasant Bharath, I believe people will vote for Kamla, but she is too old. If she wins and her executive wins and she can’t go on to 2025 without a wheelchair, she may anoint someone as the new leader. It may be an MP who is sitting quietly in the wings hoping and praying.”
Krishna George, 67, of Felicity said he hopes good sense prevails. George said he was eligible to vote at the polls but was keeping his view neutral, in a bid to keep out of the bacchanal that encases the UNC’s internal elections.
At Carli Bay Couva, a 53-year-old woman said she was supporting Bharath and Ramona Ramdial.
“Ramona did so much for the people of Couva North in and out of Government. When the fishermen were killed by pirates in Orange Valley last year, not the minister, not Kamla, not Rowley, but it was Ramona who showed up. Where was Kamla? I don’t even think she ever showed up at Orange Valley. She is too old, a geriatric.”
55-year-old Dhanraj (using his first name only) of California said:
“Kamla should take a rest. People will vote for her, but I’m not so sure about the others; she has a team that is not attractive. Well at least to me. Who is the Tobago representative? The UNC don’t fight in Tobago, yet they are the Opposition of T&T. If you don’t have a presence there, the people will always get suspicious of you. The UNC is an Indian party. What will the Tobagnians think? That because they are mostly African you don’t care about them. These are all issues the UNC is failing to address. Five years with the last executive, they are the ones that really caused the failure of the UNC, but it’s a blame game. Blame here, blame there but in the end, we all will chant great is the PNM unless they get their act together.”