PEP Supports UNC in 2025 General Elections

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By Prior Beharry

THE Progressive Empowerment Party (PEP) declares its support for the opposition United National Congress (UNC) in the upcoming 2025 general election.

The announcement was made by PEP founder Phillip Edward Alexander during a press conference following an emergency executive meeting in Port of Spain on Saturday.

Addressing the media, Alexander said, “For the upcoming election, constitutionally due next year in September, the Progressive Empowerment Party will be throwing its support behind the United National Congress, and will be supporting Kamla Persad-Bissessar as leader and hopeful prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago, following the results of that election. We believe we have a strong voice and we believe we will be able to bring a lot of support.”

The decision to back the UNC was reached during the emergency meeting, where it was also decided that Alexander would resume his role as the party’s political leader.

A subsequent press conference has been promised to provide insights into his return and the circumstances surrounding his decision to step down from the position last November.

Alexander, who resigned as PEP leader in August 2020 after the 2020 General Election, had attributed his departure from public life to legal challenges. Lawsuits filed against him by Finance Minister Colm Imbert and Patriotic Front Leader Mickela Panday played a role in his decision to step away. Last October, Alexander was ordered to pay Imbert $525,000 in damages after losing a defamation case. In November, he was ordered to pay $850,000 in compensation to Panday.

In a statement, Alexander shed light on the legal battles, stating, “Members of the public have been noticing these seemingly endless lawsuits and accompanying awards and have been asking me about them. Some have asked if this is in any way connected to me stepping out of politics. The short answer is yes. I needed to insulate the party we built while I attempted to deal with all of it.”

On Monday Persad-Bissessar had called for smaller parties to join the UNC for the upcoming elections, but said they must pull their weight as the UNC has more than 300,000 plus supporters.

She had said, “She said, “Smaller parties must be willing to work and carry their weight. It cannot be that UNC supporters must be sheep, must do everything, UNC must host the events, UNC must provide the resources, UNC must bring the supporters -bring the sheep – and then these other organisations want to come and hands swing and stand up on the platform and talk.”

But political leader of the National Transformation Alliance Gary Griffith described her remarks as “divisive”.

Griffith expressed disappointment in Persad-Bissessar’s “divisive remarks” and attitude toward third parties. Griffith believes that such rhetoric is not only regressive but also reminiscent of past failures in the political landscape.

In a release on Tuesday, he said there were shortsighted and counterproductive attempts by certain individuals within the UNC to undermine the role of third parties. He said the importance of unity, stating that the UNC has never achieved success in a general election without political partners under its current leadership.

Former FIFA vice president and a minister under Persad-Bissessar administration Jack Warner, who himself had fallen out with the UNC but has returned to the fold, promised to mend the rift between Griffith and the UNC.

Griffith and Alexander, once allies, have been heavily critical of one another recently.

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