Deputy Political Leader of the United National Congress (UNC) Dr Roodal Moonilal said yesterday the Congress of the People (COP) should feel honoured that they had such high quality resources (in the form of persons) whose skills the UNC wished to utilise.
Moonilal also pointed out that people must not forget that the COP was formed after a mass exodus from the UNC in 2006.
He was responding to the press release of the COP, signed by the party's chairman Joseph Toney, which accused the UNC of "poaching" COP members.
The release was a response to the decision of former COP candidate and member, San Fernando Mayor Marlene Coudray to contest the post of deputy political leader of the UNC.
"Every citizen has a democratic right to join the party of their choice," Moonilal stated.
Told that the COP was alleging that the "poaching" its members by the UNC was contrary to the principles of the Fyzabad Declaration, Moonilal said: "In my father's mansion there are many rooms. One is free to go from room to room".
He said it was not a loss for the COP but a gain for the Government. Told that Coudray was contesting a position in the UNC (not the Government), he said the strength of the UNC was the strength of the Government.
"One must not forget that the COP was formed after a mass exodus from the UNC. Those persons (in the COP) were in the UNC. I was saddened the day I lost Manohar Ramsaran, Ganga Singh, Rabindra Moonan and others. We did not condemn them, it was their right," Moonilal said.
Asked whether this was repatriation, he said this might be reciprocity. But he assured that all this would be done on March 24.
He said Coudray satisfied the rules of the party which state that she must be in the party for at least one year before contesting a position. And, he said, he wanted to give the COP the assurance that Coudray remains in the Government (local Government), so her value and quality is of benefit to the entire Government, "so they should not be as downhearted" (as they appear to be).
The Housing Minister said he did not think that this would affect the relationship between UNC and COP.