Threats have reportedly been made against Kelly Village/Warrenville councillor Samuel Sankar.
Sankar was the only United National Congress councillor to attend a Local Government Reform consultation with all the 14 municipal corporations on Tuesday – an event Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar specifically called on her members to boycott.
Persad-Bissessar gave the boycott directive during the party’s Monday Night Forum.
Sankar did not want to reveal the source of the threats yesterday but said he has made an official police complaint against those who have threatened him. He denied also claims he was planning to cross the floor.
Speaking to Guardian Media, Sankar made it clear again that he was not aware of Persad-Bissessar’s call to boycott the meeting at the Government Campus in Port-of-Spain.
He said there was previously a UNC executive meeting on Local Government reform consultations, and he was part of it.
He said, “The meeting had three deputy political leaders, the public relations officer, the chairman, vice chairman, along with MPs and councillors, aldermen. That time, it was said that we were going and I stayed there after the meeting to around 6 pm Monday. St Augustine MP Khadijah Ameen, who is also on the executive, announced that the political leader was going to speak at the virtual event and I stayed until around 7 pm, I stood at this event and sang the national anthem, then the event started. When I left there, the only decision I knew was to attend the event the next day. I went San Fernando to drop a fellow councillor then I went home and my phone was discharged and just to speak to about phone issues, we all have issues with devices.”
Sankar said UNC chairman Dave Tancoo contacted him but they were unable to talk as he had a doctor’s appointment.
He said it was only when he arrived at the event, he was teased by his PNM colleagues about defying his party orders to stay away from the event.
However, Sankar said as he was already there and registered, he reverted to the first party plan to ask the hard questions to the Government on the issues facing Local Government.
“The issues I have and challenges representing over 12, 000 who are affected. I have five parks to care for and it is only one functioning at this time and there is always the challenge for funding,” he said.
“I am a UNC councillor in a PNM-controlled corporation and I have a great relationship with my colleagues on the other side of the bench but there is no sufficient support to the many challenges I have in my burgess, so I see my ability being at the event was to ask these pertinent questions to the Rural Development and Local Government Minister Faris Al-Rawi.”
Sankar claimed that since the story broke that he had attended the meeting, he had been facing ridicule by many. He said he was removed from party’s WhatsApp groups and has been faced with vile messages and threats.
“I took a position and I want to note that I am grateful for the opportunity to serve given to me by the Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, who gave me to serve on a UNC ticket,” Sankar said.
“I am grateful we are in a position as UNC councillors to change the disparity among the needy and it is getting worse. How do we do that? You give an instruction, yes leader, but where are we today? I went and I said that I am going to ask questions directly to the Prime Minister and Local Government Minister and I was the first person to stand up to ask the questions that are affecting all in this country.” – Reporting by Otto Carrington