Trinidad: Fuad Khan quits politics

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Trinidad: Fuad Khan quits politics
Fuad Khan

(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) —  A sec­ond long-time mem­ber of the Unit­ed Na­tion­al Con­gress (UNC), Barataria MP Dr Fuad Khan, is bow­ing out of pol­i­tics.

This fol­lows the pre­vi­ous an­nounce­ment by Tabaquite MP Dr Su­ru­jrat­tan Ram­bachan who said he was not seek­ing re­elec­tion. Who’s next?

In an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with Guardian Me­dia, Khan on Thurs­day said he had had enough.

“I’ve had enough af­ter 25 years, it is not an easy place to be. I have lapsed in my ser­vice to the con­stituen­cy,” he said.

Khan sug­gest­ed that a younger per­son would have more en­er­gy to ser­vice the con­stituen­cy.

He said he has been go­ing full time with the role as an MP and doc­tor, and it was “dif­fi­cult to ride two hard hors­es.”

Khan said a per­son must know when it is time to go and to make room for younger, more en­er­getic rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

Con­cern­ing his re­la­tion­ship with the par­ty, he said that every­thing was good and it was a per­son­al de­ci­sion.

Just months ago, in Au­gust, Ram­bachan an­nounced his de­ci­sion to re­tire from ac­tive pol­i­tics af­ter 30 years of ser­vice.

At a UNC meet­ing at the Gas­par­il­lo Sec­ondary School, he said while he was priv­i­leged to serve he had in­ter­nal squab­bles with­in the par­ty.

“I have had my bat­tles with the lead­er­ship, with our po­lit­i­cal leader, with col­leagues, but I have al­ways tried to fight in­side not in the pub­lic. I be­lieve that con­ver­sa­tions lead to con­ver­sion and that pol­i­tics is still about the art of com­pro­mise with­out re­lin­quish­ing with your es­sen­tial life val­ues. ”

He said then that leav­ing of­fice was in­evitable.

“You must al­so be pre­pared to move on if the dis­agree­ments are be­yond com­pro­mise. I want to as­sure you that my de­ci­sion to re­de­fine my role in the pol­i­tics of my coun­try and more par­tic­u­lar­ly in the fu­ture of my par­ty has noth­ing to do with dis­af­fec­tion or dis­ap­point­ments in my leader nor of any fun­da­men­tal dif­fer­ences with my col­leagues.”

In June of this year, there were ru­mours of a pos­si­ble vote of no-con­fi­dence in Kam­la Per­sad-Bisses­sar as the po­lit­i­cal leader of the UNC head­ing in­to the next gen­er­al elec­tion, but those po­lit­i­cal fires were quick­ly put out by the last per­son to chal­lenge her for the post, Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Mooni­lal.

He re­port­ed­ly said that “there would be no mo­tion of no con­fi­dence in Kam­la Per­sad-Bisses­sar, ei­ther as op­po­si­tion leader or po­lit­i­cal leader or any leader…That mat­ter can­not and does not arise. Per­sad-Bisses­sar in­deed has the sup­port of all MPs, notwith­stand­ing any re­cent rip­ple.”

The talk of the mo­tion arose af­ter Ch­agua­nas West MP Gan­ga Singh broke ranks and vot­ed with the Peo­ple’s Na­tion­al Move­ment (PNM) Gov­ern­ment on the pen­sion clause of the Mis­cel­la­neous Pro­vi­sions Bill in Par­lia­ment.

Af­ter the vote, he told Guardian Me­dia, “My con­science is clear. I’m an­chored on prin­ci­ple. The UNC must stay true to the vi­sion and prin­ci­ples by which it held Gov­ern­ment in the past if it’s to re­main a true al­ter­na­tive to the present ad­min­is­tra­tion.”

Guardian Me­dia sought to find out from MP Singh whether he will be of­fer­ing up him­self for re-elec­tion for the UNC but he said at this time he was “un­de­cid­ed.”

But the shape of the UNC is al­ready chang­ing with the emer­gence of younger faces like Ani­ta Haynes, Sean Sobers, Sad­dam Ho­sein, Tahar­ka Obi­ka and Rishi Tri­pathi rep­re­sent­ing the par­ty at the lev­el of the Sen­ate.

Con­tact­ed re­gard­ing the rev­e­la­tion by Fuad Khan, UNC Pub­lic Re­la­tions Of­fi­cer Ani­ta Haynes said she was un­aware of his de­ci­sion but could not say whether he had spo­ken to any­one else in the hi­er­ar­chy of the par­ty.

She said she wouldn’t con­sid­er Khan’s de­par­ture from elec­toral pol­i­tics as a blow to the par­ty be­cause “choos­ing not to go back up for a seat does not mean that there isn’t a space for men­tor­ship.”

She ex­pressed con­fi­dence that the par­ty can still strike the right bal­ance of youth and ex­pe­ri­ence in the Par­lia­ment even if more se­nior mem­bers de­cid­ed to bow out as well.

“If your vi­sion and the vi­sion of the po­lit­i­cal par­ty that you are a part of is to say we have to in­clude more per­sons then cer­tain peo­ple who would have had years of ser­vice would opt to make a gra­cious ex­it out of the par­lia­men­tary pol­i­tics and make that space.”

She, how­ev­er, made it clear that while there has been a call for new blood no­body has been “pushed out.”

She said the work of both Khan and Ram­bachan to the par­ty and coun­try can­not be un­der­stat­ed.

Haynes said at this time she was un­aware of any oth­er mem­bers in­di­cat­ing in­ten­tions not to re­con­test seats in the 2020 elec­tion on be­half of the UNC.

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