Acting United National Congress (UNC)chairman Khadijah Ameen, who is also the incumbent chairman of the Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation, said yesterday she has filed her nomination papers to again be the party’s candidate for St Augustine South/Piarco/St Helena in the upcoming local government elections.
Ameen made the disclosure in response to questions from TV6 News, as the National Council of the Congress of the People (COP) has given a mandate to the party’s leadership to ensure it alone contests the Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation as part of a ruling People’s Partnership ticket.
“The nominations would be for the electoral districts and certainly all of the incumbents would have been screened and so on. I am also a part of the screening committee so I will not be a part of screening any persons for Tunapuna/Piarco I have to excuse myself,” Ameen said.
Asked if she was confirming that she filed her nomination papers with the UNC, Ameen said, “Yes.”
All the parties contesting the elections should have already begun screening candidates, she said. Ameen also said that “no one” from the COP sent in their nominations in her electoral district.
“The COP did approach several persons and asked them to consider running and even those persons are people who I am regularly in communication with because they are with, some within the community, and I know that if I run (as the UNC candidate) I will have their support and similarly they know if the seat goes to the COP they know that they will have my support,” Ameen said.
She said she and UNC members in St Augustine threw their support behind COP leader Prakash Ramadhar when he contested the St Augustine seat in the Parliament for the COP as part of a People’s Partnership ticket for the 2010 general elections. Ameen said she is confident the UNC and the COP will soon resolve the matter regarding which among those two parties in the ruling People’s Partnership will contest the Tunapuna Regional Corporation.
Also speaking with TV6 News on the matter, UNC deputy political leader and Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal, predicted a resolution would occur by Monday.
“We are convinced that we would be in a position to end any deadlock. I would say, I could say within about 72 hours or so we should be able to end any deadlock,” Moonilal said.
COP chairman Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan told the Express and TV6 News after the party’s emergency National Council meeting on Thursday night, it has a vested interest in the Tunapuna region.
“In the case of Tunapuna, we are also very clear that we have to move forward with Tunapuna, our five MPs sit in that area, five of our MPs out of the sixth and I sit in San Fernando West and I do want to say that our candidates know that they have to get into state of readiness and they are doing so,” Seepersad-Bachan said. She said she knows that “it will be resolved.”
Moonilal shared a similar view even as he said the COP is not the only party in the ruling partnership with a vested interest in the Tunapuna/Piarco region.
“The UNC also has a strategic interest in that region and I am sure that we will arrive at a consensus where the strategic interest of the UNC is protected, while the Congress of the People would also feel you know that they have also achieved some measure of success,” Moonilal said.
Ameen, however, expressed concerns about the disclosure of any aspect of the talks before they are concluded.
“I feel it is improper and it undermines good relations when one of all the partners go to the media or go public to disclose publicly what has been discussed as if it is something set in stone. The discussions continue,” Ameen said.