MSJ leader and party walk out on TT government
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago, Monday June 18, 2012 – Leader of the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) David Abdulah has ended weeks of speculation by announcing his party’s withdrawal from the five-party coalition that forms the government of Trinidad and Tobago.
In a statement released yesterday (June 17), Abdulah launched a scathing criticism of the People's Partnership government, accusing it of moving away from its original intention to change the system of government, in favour of changing faces because it is "we time now".
Abdulah also tendered his resignation as a government senator given that the MSJ would no longer be a part of the government.
This move did not come as a surprise to observers as, since last month, Abdulah had come out and publicly objected to the system of governance under the five-party coalition, while the MSJ had begun to systematically remove all of its members from serving on state boards, except those serving on tri-partite boards. The party reportedly also withheld its participation from the government's second anniversary rallies.
It also did not come as a surprise to leader of government, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, who, in a statement issued yesterday evening in response to the development, called Abdulah’s resignation a “predictable but timely departure”.
Persad-Bissessar also levelled some criticisms of her own against the departing minority leader.
“I am compelled to tell you that the list of demands made by David over the past few months were always impossible, unreasonable and reckless. It seems David's entrance into government never allowed him the advantage of a national perspective. He remained trapped in isolationist thinking,” she charged in her statement to the nation.
“You cannot negotiate governance like a labour union leader representing the interest of only one group. In government your responsibility is larger than that; it seems not everyone can make the shift. As for David's accusations, they are vacuous and without a shred of evidence. We have established a more transparent and accountable Government than any other before. David's comments and criticism as a parting shot fired from the gun of a new political aspirant is an ambitious quest for power,” she added.
Adding that the government would likely be “strengthened” by Abdulah’s departure, she pledged that the People’s Partnership government would “continue with our labour agenda regardless of the absence of the MSJ. Minister Errol Mc Leod whose life-long dedication to the struggle of the labour movement can never be challenged, remains as a huge resource within the People's Partnership Government.”
The four remaining parties in the coalition are: Persad-Bissessar’s United National Congress, the Congress of the People, the Tobago Organization of the People (TOP), and the National Joint Action Committee.
Ashworth Jack, the leader of theTOP, is quoted by the Caribbean Media Corporation as saying that he was saddened by Abdullah's departure from the government but "the show must go on".