party tension: Former prime minister Basdeo Panday at the Generation Next public meeting in Esperanza Presbyterian Primary School in California on Wednesday night. —Photo: DAVE PERSAD

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Cop warns heckler at meeting during Panday's address

Warning of court action if UNC elections not fair

By Sue-Ann Wayow

A SPECIAL Branch police officer had to warn a heckler who showed up at a public meeting held in Couva on Wednesday night by the Generation Next slate contesting the United National Congress (UNC) internal election.

The man accused Generation Next's special adviser and UNC party founder Basdeo Panday of "selling out" sugar workers and of hounding the party's political leader and Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

Panday paused during his address and asked the unnamed man whether he wanted to address the audience.

The man responded by clasping his hands in prayer before he was silenced by the police officer.

Panday's daughter Mickela also spoke at the meeting, held at the Esperanza Presbyterian Primary School, Dow Village, California.

She said next year, if party members wanted, they will have the opportunity to vote for a new political leader, or re-elect the old one.

She said the reason UNC members should vote for Generation Next was because many of the people contesting the 17 positions for the national executive were ministers and Members of Parliament, who would not have sufficient time to effectively govern the party.

Basdeo Panday said at the last internal elections when Persad-Bissessar won the leadership post, the elections were not fair, but he did not make a "big issue" out of it.

This time, if the elections are not fair again, he will encourage members to go to court.

Panday said in addition to key names not being on the voting list, there were other issues relating to the elections.

"There are people with three and four party cards, with same name, different numbers. What does that mean? That people could vote three and four times? There are people who did not apply for any membership of the party and who got cards, and some of them brought in their cards to me."

Panday said this would form the basis of a legal challenge after the elections.

—additional reporting

by Dave Persad

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