Kamla threatens Paray with expulsion; questions if he’s being used by PNM

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Kamla threatens Paray with expulsion; questions if he’s being used by PNM

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has questioned if Mayaro MP Rushton Paray is being used as a puppet for the ruling People’s National Movement to destabilise the UNC.

She is also threatening Paray with expulsion from the party if he begins to vote against the party line in Parliament.

Persad-Bissessar made the statements within a GML interview posted today.

Paray issued a call last Friday for the United National Congress’ executive to “respect the voice of its members” and call the party’s internal elections, which he said are due in June.

Persad-Bissessar said, “Thus far, they have not exhibited any divisions in the Parliament, they have voted along the party lines, I don’t know if he is one of those who spoilt their ballots for the election of the President (Christine Kangaloo) but in the Parliament thus far, they have gone along with the line put forward by the (chief) whip.

“But the day they should break the party line, the party’s constitution is very clear again on what would be the consequence, they will be expelled from the party.”

Persad-Bissessar questioned if Paray is being used as a puppet for the ruling People’s National Movement to destabilise the UNC.

“Why is it at this time all of this is happening? It happened when I announced that nominations for general election will close, and screening will begin thereafter. Now, I wonder when you look at the timing of all of this, and the PNM is really good at this, every election they come up with this. They infiltrate or attempt to infiltrate, and I am very concerned about this, whether this is another infiltration by the PNM in order to damage the UNC?” she wondered.

Persad-Bissessar also said she has recently discovered that Paray was a financier of the PNM.

“He said that himself, I am repeating himself. It is reported that Mr Paray said that as a businessman, political parties came and yes, he gave donations to the PNM, he said it, he said that in his own words,” Persad-Bissessar claimed.

She said this was not disclosed to the party when he was screened for the Mayaro constituency prior to the 2020 general election.

“I only heard this when this whole ranting and raving started. He did not disclose when he applied to be a candidate, that was never disclosed. Had he disclosed it, we would have had serious doubts and thoughts for the very reason that we are now having this upheaval coming from him. We would have had serious doubts about that,” the UNC leader added.

Since going public with his call for internal elections, there has been speculation that Paray would challenge Persad-Bissessar’s leadership. Paray has said when the time comes to challenge for the position, if the people and his family want him to lead, he will take up the challenge.

Since then, the majority of MPs, councillors and senior party members have rallied to Persad-Bissessar’s defence, saying she is the party’s leader.

However, Persad-Bissessar said this will be a very dark day in the party’s history.

“I think it would be ludicrous and we will become a laughingstock if a PNM financier, a self-admitted financier you know, should become the leader of the UNC, we would be a laughing stock and the PNM would be the biggest laughers of all.”

She also said she could not understand what the fuss was about regarding Paray’s call for internal elections. She reiterated that it will be held when it is constitutionally due but did not commit to a date, saying that would be for the party’s executive to declare. She said the constitution is clear that national executive members serve two years.

The last internal election for those positions was held in June 2022.

She said according to the constitution, candidates will have five weeks’ notice to mount their challenge for the positions.