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COP members slam Carolyn and threaten UNC switch
San Fernando West Congress of the People (COP) supporters yesterday called for the removal of their MP, Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan, as they burnt T-shirts emblazoned with her photo, and threatened to defect to the United National Congress (UNC) if their protest was not heeded. The demonstration of disaffection took place yesterday as close to 50 residents from Marabella on the Line staged a protest to prevent the opening of a constituency sub-office at the corner of Helen and Mootoo Streets. Bishop Jankie Raghunanan, field and research officer for the San Fernando West constituency, denied there were plans to open the office yesterday morning. He said: “We came into Marabella West this morning, at Mootoo Street, to have this office open to serve the people of this constituency. “It is not a formal opening. We came here this morning just to say a prayer and set up to prepare for a formal opening later.” Placards plastered on the front of the building charged poor representation by the MP and called for her to go.
The opening of the office, the source of discontent, was the straw that broke the camel’s back said Rodney Kungebeharry, a foundation member of the party, who is known as “Mr COP.” He recently was involved in a petition of no confidence in UNC San Fernando councillor Darren McLeod. Kungebeharry said the act of opening the office without consulting, informing or inviting COP supporters and the councillor for the area, Gloria Calliste, was “insulting and disrespectful.” Jankie said he did not know whether Calliste was consulted about the MP’s opening an office in her district. He also said he did not know Calliste had an office in the district. Calliste, the COP local government representative for Marabella West, publicly threatened to follow in the footsteps of Mayor Marlene Coudray, who defected to the UNC. Calliste was not among the protesters.
At the scene of the demonstration Kungebeharry accused Seepersad-Bachan of being an absentee MP.
He said in the past two years, the only time the COP focused on San Fernando West was when Coudray joined the UNC and fought and won a place in that party’s internal election.
“We supported the MP and helped her win the seat, but the only help coming to the poor people on the Line is from Councillor Calliste and the mayor,” he added. He called on Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to honour her campaign promise and move legislation to recall non-performing elected representatives. Glenford Holder, a resident of the area, concurred with Kungebeharry, adding: “She is barely representing Marabella. All she say is the Line have plenty drugs, but she never came back to assist the people.” Kungebeharry said they were giving COP’s political leader Prakash Ramadhar, who is vacationing overseas, wo weeks to address their concerns, “or else we walk.” Since the Coudray bombshell, leaders of the five coalition parties which make up the ruling People’s Partnership have been engaged in talks to repair the friction. Yesterday, Jankie, who also fought the San Fernando West constituency on a UNC ticket before Seepersad-Bachan, said that ripple would not affect the partnership.
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