Despite sustaining injuries to her shoulder, United National Congress (UNC) political leader, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, moves into Opposition Leader Basdeo Panday's Couva North constituency today to launch her series of meeting constituents throughout Trinidad and Tobago. "Yeah, I am better, but it (the injury) is still very painful," Persad-Bissessar told the T&T Guardian yesterday. She added that she and other UNC national executive (NatEx) members were preparing for the launch of their "Meet the Constituents Tour," which would commence with a public political meeting around 6 pm today at Chandernagore Presbyterian School, Southern Main Road, Chase Village. According to UNC chairman, Jack Warner, the meetings are intended to be an ongoing exercise "to construct the bridge between the people and the leadership." "It is our answer to the call to bring people closer to governance," Warner said.
During a telephone interview with the T&T Guardian yesterday, Warner denied that the UNC NatEX was campaigning in Couva North to solicit support from Panday's followers. "She (Persad-Bissessar) does not have to demonstrate the need for support from Mr Panday. She has the support that she needs," Warner said. Persad-Bissessar has been sharing an estranged relationship with Panday after she successfully challenged him for the position of UNC political leader last month. Warner also denied that Couva North was the area chosen to kick off the UNC's campaign because the Prime Minister canvassed there last week Monday.
He said the PNM was engaging in a series of walkabouts and cottage meetings because Manning was panicking from the support that Persad-Bissessar garnered in the recent UNC internal elections. "We planned these constituency walkabouts long before the Prime Minister began to panic," Warner said. "The Prime Minister's walkabouts are a reaction to him panicking based on the (UNC internal) election results that he saw and therefore, quite understandable he is trying to counter that based on Mrs Persad-Bissessar's results in the elections." He explained that the UNC was initiating its campaign in Couva because it represented the area that Persad-Bissessar first launched her campaign for UNC leadership.
Meet the people tour
With local government elections required to be held in less than seven months, Persad-Bissessar and her rival, People's National Movement (PNM) political leader, Prime Minister Patrick Manning, would be engaging voters in separate walkabouts this afternoon. Manning would continue his campaigning in the constituencies of Laventille East and West.