Gopeesingh yesterday announced his decision at a press conference at Radisson Hotel, Port-of-Spain, saying that Moonilal is the best person who can take the party forward and become a national force that can regain government.
He also announced his intention to contest for the position of Chairman in the election.
Gopeesingh said before making his decision, he engaged in consultation with family, friends and people within the party. He said people felt that the People’s Partnership defeat was influenced by the failure of the party’s internal arms and institutions as well as the many shortcomings with the election campaign strategies which were authorised by Opposition Leader Kamla Persad- Bissessar.
“Feedback like this especially coming so soon after the defeat of the last polls, tends to come from a place of brutal honesty as it is understandably mingled with anger, hurt, emotional pain and disappointment by our many supporters and the party’s membership at large who have for more than 27 years vested their faith, aspirations and hopes for a better country in the actions and leadership of the party’s executive rank,” Gopeesingh said.
He added that the party faltered badly from the “one person show” in the September 7 General Election campaign.
“The will of the membership was consistently under represented or at times not represented at all with tactics and strategies that simply did not represent who we were or what we stand for as a party,” he said.
Asked if he raised his concerns about the campaign to Persad-Bissessar, he said some of his colleagues sent information to her about certain things going wrong, but he could not say whether it was accepted or not.
“In the end we can all speak about it in retrospect but that’s the past, we need to take cognisance of the lessons we have learnt from an election machinery that was not up to mark and campaign strategies that left a lot to be desired and therefore we have to remodel and reshape the internal arms and machinery of the party to be able to move forward purposefully dedicated with competence and capability to make a new party and in the shape and in the model to come back to governance once again,” he said.
Gopeesingh said he was “truly grateful” to Persad-Bissessar for giving him the opportunity to serve as Education Minister.
“Her record as Prime Minister will remain impressive and I will always have respect for her abilities and achievements. However, I believe that as the political party that most espouses the democratic ideal of service to the people, the electorate has given a key indication that it is unwilling to accept the UNC as a Government under the current leadership structure,” he said.
He said, in order for the party to pose any type of serious challenge to the People’s National Movement in the upcoming Local Government Election due next year, they need new leadership.
Gopeesingh said he looked forward to a “clean decorous and healthy campaign” in the coming weeks.
“When the dust has settled, when the people speak and the contenders are declared either winners or losers, we always remember that we belong to one family who live under one great house of unity, respect and love and whose members always come together in the end, despite our differences, to work for a better Trinidad and Tobago and a better future for our children,” he said