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UNC Political Leader, Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

The Opposition UNC is presenting a motion in Parliament today seeking to bring National Security Minister Stuart Young before the Privileges Committee concerning alleged untruth on the Damen vessels.

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar said so at last night’s Star team campaign meeting where she and others slammed the rival Vasant Bharath slate in UNC’s upcoming elections.

She noted Young’s statements in Parliament last week where he’d said people from the Damen firm in Holland didn’t want to come to T&T to fix the Damen vessels due to the COVID pandemic. She also noted recent Dutch Embassy statements that one engineer came to T&T in October and another in November.

Persad-Bissessar said Young is the one who grants exemptions to enter T&T. She questioned how he didn’t know the engineers had entered T&T:

Alleging untruths, she added, “Do you have a clone or robot signing exemptions? Does he read the exemptions or is he signing without reading? He ought to have known the engineers came as he’d have had to approve the exemptions – he must resign from the National Security post!”

Persad-Bissessar also alleged Housing Minister Penny Beckles appeared to be “lying” concerning her New York trip for unpaid bills and when asked if she was alerted by the Foreign Affairs Ministry. Persad-Bissessar said Beckles said she only spoke to the Prime Minister but Foreign Affairs stated Beckles was alerted to unpaid bills which she couldn’t have as a minister.

Persad-Bissessar said the Opposition wouldn’t support the Procurement Bill’s amendments being debated in Parliament today since Government was removing the bill’s teeth – financial, accounting, medical services, auditing – from its scrutiny.

She said the bill requires a special majority vote for passage rather than the simple majority Government’s using. Persad-Bissessar said matters concerning Government officials need procurement scrutiny. She said for example Young had to recuse himself from Cabinet 57 times and his brother headed NCB Global Finance and Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi also had to recuse himself many times when matters where he had an interest arose. She said Government shouldn’t tailor law to fit its “business.”

Persad-Bissessar slammed Bharath’s supporters particularly former UNC members, “They talking about ‘former’ people – this isn’t about former, this is forward to the future!”

Without naming Jack Warner who appeared at Bharath’s meeting on Wednesday she referred to the “FIFA man” and Warner’s paper which she said she’d told him to name “Sunshine”.

“Now it’s being used to denigrate UNC members and you want to come back with Vasant now – no way, no way!”

She said some of Bharath’s supporters had confessed to strategising with the PNM against the UNC/PP in 2015 elections, some came from other parties, others tried to form other parties and some screened for PNM in general elections.

Displaying a picture of Bharath and PNM’s Winston Peters, she said Bharath had campaigned with PNM against UNC in the August 10 elections, “But you’re not coming back! You can’t fraternise with the PNM then come and say you want to lead the UNC!”

She said if Bharath won, his team would “put out” others. She said they were elitist and arrogant. Persad-Bissessar said she was fed up of people using UNC to enter Government but don’t support members after. Candidate David Lee said Sunday’s election is one of the most important decisions members will have to make.

“Vasant you will pay!”

Candidate Don Sylvester said he couldn’t understand what medication Bharath was on.

“Vasant you know where Scorpion is in Carenage? On the hill in Cocorite? We’re comparing cheese and chalk and Mr Chalk – you go get it. Not the victory, the blows. Because Judas had to pay and you will pay!” Sylvester added.

Candidate Neil Gosein Bharath predicted Bharath would lose. Candidate Shanty Boodram gave a fiery challenge to Bharath, “Be a man and come out!

Candidate Dave Tancoo said Bharath lost the 2015 internals and “ran away” in 2017, ‘This time he will lose again! Fake, treacherous, unpatriotic and untrustworthy! He must apologise for calling UNC members sycophants!”

Candidate Imam Rasheed Karim said Bharath’s team was a “Big Truck” movement with “mamaguy talk”, “Where’s their finance coming from, who’s paying for their billboards?!”

Candidate Eli Zakour said Bharath had the gall to “bite the hand” that fed him and made him a Minister. Dr Lackram Bodoe assured UNC would heal post-poll.