MP Rambachan Speech at UNC National Congress October 31, 2017
Political Leader, Colleagues, Delegates, Friends
The strength of an organisation is reflected in its ability to sustain itself over the long term, to engage in freedom of expression, to promote true democracy, to have differences of opinions, to argue these differences as mature people must and should do, to respect diversity and at the end of it all to coalesce around a common understanding that places the interest of the party which should be synonymous with the interest of the people above all other interests. This is the strength of the UNC.
The UNC is a political organisation that is resilient and that stood the test of time, has prevailed, has grown, has governed at the highest level and WILL govern again.
This National Congress is another example of our ability as a party to manage our internal affairs and to emerge even stronger and more resilient. By the way we are discussing these matters today we are demonstrating the kind and quality of maturity that the people expect of us and admire. No party has this level of freedom of expression and maturity.
Contrary to those who want you to believe that this party is a geographically based party, let me remind that in 1995, the UNC won a National Election and repeated it in 2000. It won again in 2010 demonstrating that it has been attracting National support across Geographic Regions, race, ethnicity and religion.
The UNC understands the political maturity and political intelligence of the people in this Country who are looking beyond the colour of the skin, the tilt of the nose and the texture of the hair to lend the support in the cause of efficient and effective Governance. This is why the UNC through its Leader has always articulated the Philosophy “to listen and then lead”. More than ever today we are witnessing a worldwide phenomenon of the rejection of Centralized power and the demand for shared power between those who govern and those who are governed.
This phenomenon is no different in T & T. It is one of the factors that differentiates the UNC from its Political Rivals in that it has always preached and practiced consultation, participation in decision making and consensus building. The UNC recognizes that its power to Govern has always been delegated to it by the people and as such it has promoted the best traditions associated with a functioning democracy. This is why those who think the UNC will implode are wrong. Yes we fight, yes we argue but yes are united to the hilt.
In the UNC there is no “ if you don’t like it get the hell out of here,” there is no “ Let no dog bark when I speak, there is no “we are in charge and you will have to deal with that” and by the way there is no Le Couteau Jumbie. Instead there is compromise, consensus and equality of opportunity.
Today the word Independence has assumed new meaning and it is not just about Political Independence of a Country. It is about freedom of thought, speech and expression without the fear of harassment or victimization. Independence today is very personal and refers to the freedom and security that a citizen must and should experience under a Government that he/she may not have voted for. It is about the one thing that you cannot take away from a person and that is the freedom to choose. That freedom to choose is what the UNC respects and upholds and that freedom to choose differently is what this Congress is also about today. No one will hold it against anyone for his/her choice in the upcoming Leadership and Natex Elections.
Let us admit that past Leadership Elections in the UNC have been vitriolic. In 2009/2010 the commentary on Kamla Persad-Bissessar was venomous by her opponents. After the Elections she showed what Leadership maturity is about and incorporated even her harshest of her critics into her Government. That is Leadership-where you are not afraid of challenges but where you place the Nation’s wellbeing above all else and value the contribution that can come through competence and technical proficiency.
For reasons like these, the UNC has been given National Mandates to Govern and when we Govern we do so with the mantra of “Prosperity for All” As night follow day and as the sun follows the moon, clouded as it may be on some mornings it eventually breaks free and shines with its brilliant glory across the landscape; so to this party the UNC is rising and shining. The UNC is in a revivalist mode, the energy is rising, the support is increasing, the sentiments for the return of the days prior to 2015 are increasing, the electorate is growing more disenchanted because the policies of the PNM are devastating the hopes of the people, crippling even the remnants of the middle-class and the working poor are getting poorer.
It is the spending of the middle class that will have the capacity to resuscitate the economy. Sadly that capacity is slowly failing.
Institutional Dysfunctionality, Public Service malaise, Ministerial lethargy, uninspired leadership, Youth cynicism, explosion in crime are all deepening the crisis that is before our eyes.
The time is right for us to present to this Nation a formidable and united UNC, a people policy alternative development agenda to bring this recession to a close and to usher in to the applause of hopeful hearts another era of sustainable prosperity.
THE UNC UNITED, UNITED, UNITED TO WIN, TO WIN, TO WIN, TO SERVE, TO SERVE, TO SERVE, TO BE THE VEHICLE FOR THE HAPPINESS OF THE PEOPLE WHICH IS THE ONLY GOAL OF A GOOD GOVERNMENT