Minister's mom is a candidate

By Phoolo Danny Maharaj South Bureau 

SOME United National Congress (UNC) supporters in the electoral district of Rousillac/Otaheite, are angry over the selection of the mother of a Government minister as candidate for the upcoming Local Government Elections.

Chandra Ramadharsingh was selected to run for the Rousillac/Othaheite seat in the Siparia Regional Corporation (SRC) in the July 26 elections. She was the wife of late councillor Evran Ramadharsingh and is mother of Glenn Ramadharsingh, UNC general secretary and Minister of the People and Social Development, who also served as a councillor in the Siparia corporation.

Yesterday, a spokesperson for the protest group said, "Ten villagers who have been working with the party for many years, during the general elections and even for the clean-up campaign were not considered at all. The party pretended to screen us, taking only a minute or two, because they know they already handpicked whom they wanted.

"When nomination was closed on the Friday, we were all there, but she was not there. The party reopened nomination on Monday to accommodate her. That is not fair, they fooling people. If they know they wanted the lady, they did not have to have a screening process."  

The spokesperson added, "The UNC talked of nepotism when Basdeo Panday chose his daughter Mickela to run for a seat and when Patrick Manning made his wife Hazel a government Minister, but they doing worse by choosing friends and family to contest seats. They say the people will guide them, but we not seeing that. You tell me that there is no other family in the Rousillac area who works for the party?"        

Contacted yesterday, Chandra Ramadharsingh defended herself.

"I live in the area and I believe I am capable of representing the people. I have the people's support. I filed my papers and had to wait like everyone else to be screened. I was screened at 2.30 a.m. on Wednesday. There are problems in this area.

"We have not been represented properly over the years and I believe I can represent my area, so I offered myself. People think I was favoured because my son is party general secretary, but I did not even consult my son (Glenn) before I went for screening. I was not given anything on a golden platter."

Ramadharsingh, who has her own business Ramadharsingh's Insurance Services, said since her husband Evran died 14 years ago, her family has worked within the party.

"In the recent years, people were disenchanted because of non-representation. I believe I can make a difference in the area," she said.

Questioned on the matter, Local Government Minister Chandresh Sharma said: "Chandra Ramadharsingh has been very active in the party activities and in all the struggles of the party, even after the death of her husband. I know of her work with the party."

He said it was unfortunate that only seven could be chosen from the 49 people screened for the region, "and I hope that good sense prevails during the election process".

See Page 8

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