THE man who has in the past challenged Kamla Persad-Bissessar for leadership of the United National Congress (UNC) is now hitting critics who are expressing doubts over her ability to continue to lead the party.
Addressing the first On the Pavement series of meetings in Couva on Monday night, Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal was very dismissive of detractors and expressed full confidence in Persad-Bissessar’s ability to lead the UNC into government in the next general election.
Chaguanas West MP Ganga Singh broke ranks and voted with the People’s National Movement (PNM) government on the pension clause of the Miscellaneous Provisions Bill in Parliament last Friday.
Moonilal spoke to an audience and panel of speakers including Couva North MP Ramona Ramdial, chairman of the Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation, Henry Awong and host Couva South MP Rudy Indarsingh.
“I saw something on social media, somebody reporting about some motion by some group, some bodies contemplating some motion of no confidence of the political leader and opposition leader," he said.
“I want to tell you something: there will be no motion of no confidence in Kamla Persad-Bissessar, either as opposition leader or political leader or any leader.
“That matter cannot and does not arise. Mrs Persad-Bissessar indeed has the support of all MPs, notwithstanding any recent ripple,” he said in reference to the Singh debacle.
“When the time comes for Mrs Persad-Bissessar to vacate the office of the Leader of the Opposition, she will do so when she becomes the PM of TT. So let not your heart be troubled with that.”
The On the Pavement series of meetings derived its name from the challenge the prime minister issued to Moonilal in Parliament in March 2018.
On that occasion, Moonilal was enquiring about the continuing medical expenses of then Public Administration and Communications Minister Maxie Cuffie and questioned whether Rowley would assist Cuffie rather than taxpayers.,
Rowley responded, “Madam Speaker, if my colleague from Oropouche East want to talk about party elites, I will meet him outside on the pavement.”
Moonilal said that is what spurred the title of the meetings, to be held in the constituencies of every opposition MP to discuss key issues in the national community “to report to you some of the measures of the PNM government and give our critical views. Many of the views, of course, we are not able to give in the Parliament. Chief Whip David Lee (who was scheduled to speak but was delayed) will tell you of some of the struggles we have in the Parliament every week when we ask questions and put forward motions and many are rejected.”
Moonilal said when opposition MPs ask questions about the people’s business and seek answers from Dr Keith Rowley and Cabinet ministers, “It is a struggle to get fairness and equality in the Parliament.
“When the government come to talk, they insult us. They are arrogant. They don’t deal with the issues,” he said.