UNC leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar

With just days to go before the United National Congress (UNC) elects a new national executive, incumbent political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar is warning voters that the lack of racial diversity in her opponent Vasant Bharath’s team cannot take the party back to government.

During her virtual Monday night meeting, Persad-Bissessar said her Star Team is the best choice for the UNC, as it offers young hardworking members and is racially diverse.

However, she said it is not the same for the opposing slate.

“Look at the composition of our team, the Star Team, and the other team. You know, 17 candidates in Trinidad for this election on their team and our team. Seventeen, you know, and out of 1.4 million in this country, they could not find one looking like Sean Sobers. They could not find one looking like Jearlean John. Not one. Seventeen positions and you could not find one for diversity, looking like Clifton De Coteau. Not one. Does not that tell you something about them?”

Should Bharath win Sunday’s elections, he promises to campaign the East/West corridor in his bid to return the UNC to the government. Currently, the People’s National Movement (PNM) controls the majority of the corridor.

But Persad-Bissessar said that plan would fail with a team of people “looking like Vasant” and not one person from the corridor.

As the leader since 2010, Persad-Bissessar said she did more than her predecessors to diversify and make the UNC a national party. However, she said some still believe in the old mantra that “we have come too far to turn black now.”

She is warning voters that the UNC cannot win elections if its roots remain indo-based. Despite its Indo-Trinidadian, sugarcane fields origins, she said it is now the most diverse party in T&T.

Meanwhile, she gave another reason why her Star Team was the right choice – its loyalty to the party’s rank and file.

Showing a photograph of Bharath in the company of defeated PNM candidate for the Moruga/Tableland constituency, Winston “Gypsy” Peters during his general election campaign, she said he worked for the other side.

Persad-Bissessar said after the UNC-led Peoples Partnership lost the 2015 general elections, Bharat joined the Citizens’ Alliance with former PNM stalwarts Louis Lee Sing and Harry Ragoonanan.

Earlier this year, the incumbent leader said, Bharath joined the Government’s Road Map to Recovery Committee.

She questioned his loyalty.

Persad-Bissessar warned her opponent, “UNC people might not be as smart as you think they are, but they are loyal and dedicated people.”