Congress of the People (COP) leader and Minister of Finance Winston Dookeran said he would have preferred if Planning Minister Mary King "had her say" before she was fired by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar. King, a member of the COP in the People's Partnership coalition Government, had her appointment revoked yesterday by President George Maxwell Richards upon the advice of the PM. King was fired after investigations by Attorney General Anand Ramlogan into the award of a $100,000 contract by her ministry to Ixanos Ltd, a family business she jointly owns with her husband. Dookeran, who nominated King to be a senator, spoke to the media outside Parliament yesterday afternoon after news broke she was fired.
He said: "I think it's a rather sad day. I assume the Prime Minister would have made her judgment in seeking to maintain the integrity of the party. "I would have preferred her (King) to have her say before such action was taken. "But I believe the PM wanted to maintain the integrity of the party at all cost." Noting the PM's action must be respected, Dookeran stressed COP called on King to demit office "pending investigations." Told that Sport Minister and COP member Anil Roberts called outright for King's resignation, Dookeran replied, dismissively: "Roberts has his own party." Dookeran said King was supposed to have met with the party's executive yesterday.
Asked if the COP would seek to replace King's position in Parliament, he replied: "We haven't reached that stage."
Asked if the firing of a second COP person (Nizam Mohammed was recently fired as chairman of the Police Service Commission) was an indictment against the party's continuous espousing of good moral values and transparent governance, Dookeran said: "We had a conference last week on coalition politics. "We are in the process of change and we have to set in place proper structures to make it (coalition governance) effective." Asked if the COP made a wrong choice concerning King, Dookeran said: "All parties have to look carefully at the people they choose. All parties fall short. "We are in a changing process. We will be expecting things."