He also announced his decision to quit as a government senator. Abdulah, who remained solemn-faced as he read from a six-page statement, said: “The national executive and activists council of the Movement for Social Justice have decided that our party will remove itself from the People’s Partnership coalition of political parties. “As a consequence of this, the MSJ will not be in the Government of Trinidad and Tobago.”
Abdulah said Labour Minister Errol McLeod was advised that the council was considering leaving the partnership. He said, however, the decision to pull out of the partnership was taken after a meeting with the national executive on Saturday and the activists council yesterday morning. He said the decision was not taken “lightly or easily.”
Abdulah said he sent Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and the other coalition members an e-mail yesterday, informing them of his party’s position. He said while the party still adhered to the principles of the Fyzabad Accord for equity, respect and good governance, it could no longer adhere to the provisions of the accord which formed the political union of the United National Congress (UNC) the Congress of the People (COP) the Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) and the National Joint Action Committee (NJAC.)
“We believe that the time has come for the MSJ to paddle its own canoe,” Abdulah said. “We recognise that to do this, to build a mass party that is non-ethnic and which does not depend on the largesse of either the State or powerful financiers is not an easy task.” He said the party was prepared to meet with Persad-Bissessar, if requested, in her capacity as UNC leader.
The MSJ Leader said: “I do not know if the decision we have taken is up for review or reconsideration…It is a decision we have taken and we are prepared to go forward with that.”
Abdulah said he could not speak for the COP which has also raised concerns. “It is for the COP in terms of its own internal debates and discussions and assessments to make a decision on what is best for the country,” he said.
“The leader of the COP has stated categorically that the COP has concerns, but it is for the COP to address how best they see those concerns, to tackle and dealt with, not for us.”
The MSJ, he said, recognised that “we have a responsibility to the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago as we were an integral part of the partnership that campaigned in 2010 and asked you to vote for the partnership to be your government.
“We do not regret that decision,” he said. “It was the right thing to do at that time… “As it is the right thing for us to now withdraw from the partnership.” He also said he does not feel alienated in the Government.