Are there signs of an internal dispute brewing in the camp of the United Workers Party, and is there a hint of division within the party’s executive?
Opposition Leader Allen Chastanet does not think so. And he sought to make it abundantly clear that the issue at stake is no more than ‘house matters’ that needs to be dealt with.
However, a recent missive sent out by the UWP’s Chairman Andy Daniel and addressed to Chastanet in his role as political leader would appear to paint a slightly different picture.
In the October, 25 letter, Daniel takes offense to the cancellation of a series of scheduled meetings involving the UWP’s executive body, and furthermore, the lack of response from the opposition leader regarding communication on these matters.
Relaying a major point of the complaints to Chastanet, the UWP chairman claims, “The issue of Party Headquarters was brought to the attention of the meeting, particularly the disconnection of the electricity and efforts being made to raise funds to have the services reconnected.”
Daniel added: “It is striking you showed no interest in the issues plaguing the Headquarters save that the General Secretary must be fired, and you will find and pay two people to work with the Convention Committee.”
In addition, the UWP chairman contends that Chastanet “failed to honour your commitment to the National Executive to make a copy of the 2021 General Elections Review available and then to be discussed at the NEXT National Executive Meeting.”
At a press briefing, Tuesday, the Micoud South – Member of Parliament (MP) sought to allay fears concerning an internal rift within the party ranks.
When questioned as to the validity of these latter developments, Chastanet replied: “The party has issues and we need to meet…we met and those issues have been resolved.”
He added, “You cannot have a minority group thinking that they could speak for the party.”
Chastanet declared that despite all of the reported rumblings and disturbances and through his communication with UWP colleagues, ultimately, “what they want to see, is us challenging the current government and dealing with the issues that matter the most in this country.”
He said presently, the issue at stake is that, “there is a structure within my party to handle administration of the party, which is headed by the Chairman of the party.”
The UWP political leader assured that he has full confidence in the management of the party “and I believe that all of these issues have a place, need to be discussed and need to be resolved.”
Chastanet contends that while in every political entity there are issues of fragmentation, the UWP is a “Democratic Party …and there is a process on how we are going to make decisions.”
He said his present focus as the political leader is to address “what the issues of the country are … the administrative side of the party is a completely set of different people and hopefully, they get their stuff sorted out and they can find a way to pay the electricity, and they can find a way to resolve some of the other issues that they have.”
Looking ahead, Chastanet disclosed that the UWP is set to convene a National Council Meeting for Sunday “and these matters will be dealt with internally.”
Commenting on the controversial issue concerning the release of the 2021 General Elections Review, he said, “I will do whatever my party tells me to do …it is not a decision for council. The report, as per the constitution, was done and the report was given to me.”
He said a committee was formed to decide on how to disseminate the report and part of that process was held back, since there was a committee member that was out of state.
Added Chastanet: “I have the report…the report belongs to the party and it’s for the party’s national executive and the national council to tell me how they want me to disseminate the report.”
Meanwhile, the UWP Chairman has issued a directive, stating that, “I will not give notice of a National Executive meeting only to have it cancelled on the basis that we still don’t have electricity at the office. An Executive meeting will be convened as soon as I secure funds and have cleared the outstanding bill and we can meet at OUR Party Headquarters.”