Lyndira resigns from UNC
By Andre Bagoo Wednesday, August 7 2013
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Warm hug: Lyndira Oudit embraces re-elected Chaguanas West MP Jack Warner, during the opening of Parliament, while Opposition Senator Pennelope Beckle...
SENATE vice-president Lyndira Oudit yesterday said joining Jack Warner’s Independent Liberal Party (ILP) is one option which she is currently considering, after she announced to the media her resignation from the UNC and as a Government Senator.
Oudit expressed the view that allegations against Warner remain allegations, and in her view, there is no evidence of wrong doing on Warner’s part.
The former senator said she decided to quit because she felt the Government had charted a course that was not in line with her own personal philosophy.
Among the specific areas of concern she said she had were: the number of women in the Senate and the level of the food import bill. She said she did not opt to meet with Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to discuss any of these issues before tendering her resignation as she did not view this as necessary.
Persad-Bissessar yesterday said Oudit had exercised her democratic right.
“That is her democratic right to choose the party of her choice or not choose a party so I have no further comment on that matter,” she told reporters in Siparia.
Oudit emailed the media drafts of her letters of resignation which she said had been hand- delivered to party and Government offices on Monday.
In her letter to the Prime Minister, she said, “It was an honour to have served at such a dynamic political time in Trinidad and Tobago, which saw the rise of this country’s first female Prime Minister, none other than you, Madam PM. That part of the journey was nothing short of spectacular.”
She continued, “Indeed these three years have been instrumental in refining, even more, my commitment to the positive development of this wonderful country of Trinidad and Tobago.
My best wishes to you and the Government as you chart the course for the future.”
In her letter of resignation from the UNC, Oudit put the matter somewhat differently, saying, “My decision comes after deep reflection and examination of the current role and operation of the UNC, both in government and within the wider context of governance of our nation. I believe, at this time, the course charted by the UNC, as a leading member within the ruling Partnership, is not fully in keeping with my own vision and expectation from 2010.”
Asked what specific areas were at divergence with her own vision, she cited gender inequality in governance, the food import bill and education.
Oudit – who was one of three women Government senators – said one reason she quit was she thought there would be a least six women senators in Parliament by now.
“If you don’t have balance in the Lower House, at least you could have it in the Senate. I feel some more gender should have been there. I would like to see a minimum of six qualified women in the Senate.”
Oudit – once rumoured to have been overlooked for a seat in the 2010 general election by the UNC – also said she would have liked to have seen more women contest seats for the UNC in 2010.
Of the food import bill, Oudit said, “I saw that some effort was made by the previous Minister Vasant Bharath. But things are not happening at the pace which would best reflect the policy decision to reduce the food import bill.”
Of education, she said, “In the education system there should be a shifting of values: an overhaul of the education system to bring it into this century.”
Asked if she was joining Warner’s ILP, Oudit said, “I don’t know as yet, I have not explored it fully and it is an option.”
On allegations of fraud in relation to Warner, Oudit said, “These are allegations that have been around for 15 years. I believe allegations always remain allegations unless something comes up.”
Asked for her views on the evidence reviewed in the Sir David Simmons Concacaf report – prepared for the Concacaf ethics committee by the former Barbados chief justice – Oudit said she had not read the full report.
“I am not a legal person,” she said. “But if there are any allegations that are substantial and there is evidence then Jack will have to answer whatever charge there is.”
In a radio interview yesterday, Oudit also said she was not satisfied with the UNC’s decision to not accept Warner, who quit the party amid fraud allegations, as its candidate for last Monday’s Chaguanas West bye-election which he won.