UNC Interim political leader Basdeo Panday says he is open
to meet and speak with former UNC Senator Robin Montanowho
he fired a year agoand anyone else who wants to return
home to the UNC.
And Panday says he has already communicated with Montano
on the issue since he wrote recently to Montano and 161
other past MPs, senators and councillors, urging them to
In an exclusive interview in Saturdays Public Affairs
column, Montano, fired as UNC senator by Panday last February,
said he had been approached two weeks ago by UNCs
Suruj Rambachan about returning to the UNC.
In the interview, Montano said: I told him (Rambachan)
that Basdeo Panday was the man who fired me (from the Senate)
and if anyone wants me back, it is Panday who would have
to talk to me.
yes, if Bas calls, I will speak to him, he said.
Patrick Manning called me, Id speak to him too, but
it doesnt mean Ill agree with him...In fact,
Ive already received low-level overtures from PNM.
was hurt and disappointed by Mr Pandays dismissal,
but I never criticised him privately or publicly, so if
he calls me, we can talk.
Yesterday, after the UNCs weekend retreatwhere
British Labour Party consultants addressed the partyPanday
spoke about Montanos statements.
entire party, as well as myself, believes we should unite
as the only way to defeat the PNM and and try restore T&T,
know people will realise their mistakes and consider the
issued 162 letters recently to past MPs, senators, councillors
and other members to come home, and a personal
letter to Robin was among those.
actually, I have made the overture to him and I am open
to speak with him and anyone else.
Panday said he had not yet received a reply from Montano.
far, we have received positive responses from many of the
small partiesGarvin Nicholas, Carson Charles,
Nizam Mohammed...They have put country first.
know unity is the way forward, not only for the UNC, but
Panday said he was prepared to meet-one-on-one with Montano,
independent MP Dr Fuad Khan or anyone else who
had unity as a priority.
He will be emphasising his unity call at UNCs weekly
meeting tonight in California.
Khan recently called on the UNC and the Congress of the
People (COP) to unite.
Panday said the weekend retreat was very educational.
learned a lot...The consultants spoke about setting up party
machinery, not advising on internal affairs, he said.
UNC is now in much better shape to face the election than
prior to the retreat.
Panday did not comment on his past run-in with Montano when
he fired him from the Senate a year ago.
Montano was dismissed during the heat of tensions between
the Panday UNC and Winston Dookeran and his supporters,
then in the UNC.
Panday gave no reason in notifying Montano that his appointment
was being revoked.
However, Montano said he believed he had been sacked because
he had moved a motion to oppose the return of Ramesh Lawrence
Maharaj to the UNC then. Montano was replaced by Dr Tim
Montano subsequently linked up with Dookerans team
which eventually became the COP.
But he has been low-profile with that group since last July,
save for a November appearance when COP officials prevailed
on him to speak at at a Bamboo Settlement meeting.
COP officials last Thursday confirmed that Montano had been
concerned about his role, but could not receive an answer
from the COP leadership on what his position might be.
Still, COP officials have continued to approach him to appear
In Saturdays interview, Montano declined any comment
on the COP issue.
Yesterday, a COP spokesman said there was no problem,
as far as he knew.
is with us, he added.