Leading the signing of the accord in the birthplace of the labour movement, was UNC political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
Also signing on the dotted lines were COP political leader Winston Dookeran, NJAC chief servant Makandal Daaga, TOP political leader Ashworth Jack and president of the Movement for Social Justice, Errol McLeod.
Persad-Bissessar, described as “the magnet for change” by Dookeran, in turn paid tribute to the other leaders during her address saying there was unity in diversity. Quoting from the gospel classic hymn, ‘How Great thou Art’, she said each partner within the unity accord must be, “respected and loved”.
She also stated that the UNC’s name and logo would not be changed unless agreed to by the UNC membership at a special assembly.
She emphasised that “there is no shame in keeping the rising sun; there is no shame in keeping the logo of the Congress of the People, the circle of circles... it is not about logos or names.”
“Where the logo is, the UNC or the COP or NJAC you must put your ‘X’ next to that,” she added. The UNC leader said Charlie King Junction was a spot marked with history, hence it was decided that there was the spot new history would be made.
Persad-Bissessar said she was not afraid of anything, adding “nothing will stop me.” She also told the crowd, “Manning and his team cannot come between us. They would come with their bribery, threats and character assassination. And when they come we must tell them, as the brave pensioner did, ‘get out of here; you are not wanted’.”
She also hinted to the cheering crowd that a UNC administration would reform the Industrial Relations Act, including the Workmen Compensation provision, to ensure that all workers, including domestic workers and store workers, are covered under the Act.
In ending her speech before the crowd which UNC deputy political leader Dr Suruj Rambachan earlier said police estimated to be 25,000, Persad-Bissessar invited the gathering to witness the historic signing by the political leaders of the opposition groups gathered to give legitimacy to the Declaration of Political Unity accord. The massive crowd, comprising mainly UNC and COP supporters cheered for several minutes.
Earlier in the meeting, Dookeran, Ashworth Jack, Daaga and McLeod, all in their speeches, assured the crowd that what they were witnessing that night, was the real deal and that one united party would forge ahead into government after the May 24 general election.
UNC deputy political leader, Dr Roodal Moonilal, in his address sought to assure URP, CEPEP and Board of Inland Revenue workers that their jobs would remain secure under a Kamla Persad-Bissessar administration.