|Ramesh faces challenger for Tabaquite |
By Richardson Dhalai Saturday, April 10 2010
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Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj...
The constituency of Tabaquite seems to be heading for a showdown over the choice of candidates from the UNC camp for the next general election.
Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj SC, who last represented Tabquite, announced himself as the chosen nominee and not Ravi Rattiram as stated by UNC constituency chairman, Henry Awong.
Awong told Newsday that six functioning party groups in the constituency met on Tuesday and have taken the “unanimous decision” to support Rattiram as their next candidate. Awong said Rattiram had been working hard in the constituency for the past six months and received the nod of approval from the party groups. “He is a good young man and he is our choice. As far as I know Mr Maharaj has not received the support of any of the party groups in the constituency,” Awong said. Rattiram went up for the La Brea seat on a UNC Alliance ticket in the 2007 general election but lost to the PNM’s Fitzgerald Jeffrey.
In dismissing Rattiram’s nomination, Maharaj said Awong and his “group of six” did not represent the views of those in the constituency.
Maharaj boldly predicted, “I am the next UNC MP for the Tabaquite constituency.”
He said the constituents nominated him to be their candidate once again. “The constituents have chosen me and come Sunday they will be filling out my nomination form for me to sign,” Maharaj said, adding Awong “can come and join me on Sunday instead.”
Rattiram could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Meanwhile, UNC deputy political leader Lyndira Oudit is expected to file her nomination papers to be a candidate but did not want to say which seat she wants to contest.
Couva South constituency chairman, Ken Ramnarine, stated all of that constituency’s party groups had recommended Kelvin Ramnath be returned as their candidate. Ramnath, who was the Couva South MP in the last Parliament, is expected to file his nomination papers on Monday. But he is expected to face a challenge from attorney and former president of the Cane Farmers Association of Trinidad and Tobago (CFATT) Dave Persad. Persad is also expected to file his nomination papers on Monday. Persad said he has been the UNC’s co-ordinator in the constituency and pointed out that people have been critical of the quality of representation they received from Ramnath when he was the Couva South MP.
Persad said he had campaigned for Persad-Bissessar in her successful bid to become UNC political leader in the January 24 internal party elections, and added he was “born, bred and educated” in the Couva South constituency.
UNC Princes Town councillor Clifton DeCoteau is expected to file his nomination papers for the Princes Town South/Tableland constituency. Marlon Mohammed, a former PNM candidate, now a UNC member will also go up for screening for the Princes Town North constituency. The UNC party is expected to mobilise for its first public meeting at Gopaul Lands Shopping Complex car park, Marabella, on Monday, at 7 pm.