Friday, February 23, 2018

Ex-corporation chairman quits UNC over reform row


‘undemocratic move: Dave Persad

Mark Fraser

Former chairman of the Couva Tabaquite Talparo Regional Corporation (CTTRC) Dave Persad has resigned from the United National Congress (UNC) stating the Constitution (Amendment) Bill was the proverbial last straw that broke the camel’s back. 

In a release yesterday, Persad, an attorney, criticised the Government’s run-off proposal in the Bill and knocked the ruling Partnership for what he described as employing an undemocratic process. 

“An undemocratic process cannot yield a democratic result.  It is a contradiction in terms.  It simply cannot be denied that at no time during the many national consultations did the run-off issue featured nor were debates centered around it,” stated Persad.

He noted that no member of the Constitution Reform Commission (CRC) can say otherwise and it does not matter whether two members of the CRC agree with this position or not.  

“The fact that the commission, as a commission in itself, remains dangerously silent on this issue only confirms this fact.  Having been “paid handsomely” by the taxpayers of this country, they must raise their voices or be condemned and run the risk of their entire report losing it’s integrity and being deemed a massive and expensive hoax on the population,” stated Persad. 

“This is, and remains, the heart of the issue on the run-off proposal.  And no amount of propaganda, public relations, gun-talk or  rhetoric can and ought to detract from this issue,” he added. 

Persad said that to delve into the merits or demerits of the run-off proposal at this stage will only serve to detract and trivialise the Government’s “brazen attempt to employ a most undemocratic process on an important constitutional matter”.  

He pointed out that the elected 22 members of the Lower House have already done it by voting for the bill.

“One must wait with bated breath to see what the Independent senators have to say,” stated Persad.

He stated that it was for this reason that the President of the Senate advocated further consultation and the COP’s Winston Dookeran and Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan voted against the bill in opposition to their very Government.  

“Mr Dookeran, sanctimoniously declares, that the issue is ‘extremely fundamental’, goes against all his lifelong political beliefs and declares he feels duty bound to leave a strong future for the next generation.  I totally agree.  And when something is so ‘fundamental’ that goes to the heart of one’s beliefs and belies from within your very own organisation, one must respond with equal fervour,” stated Persad.

“And it is for this precise reason it is my intention to submit my resignation as a member of the UNC.  For me, this issue is, but one of several other fundamental issues that I have had to grapple with over the last three years and which contributed significantly to my decision not to seek re-election as chairman of the CTTRC.  This issue, however, is the proverbial last straw that broke the camel’s back.”

Persad also sent a message to his colleagues, stating: “For those who parade as flag-bearers of the gospel of ‘new politics’, it continues to remain elusive as to when fundamental becomes so fundamental as to warrant decisive action to meet their utterly idle and empty boast. Perhaps, the most fundamental thing for them is the supreme desire to hold on to office and power, temporary as it might be, at any cost.”