Amid political turbulence affecting the People’s Partnership, some Congress of the People members will be attending tomorrow’s People’s partnership rally at Mid Centre Mall, Chaguanas, while others won’t. “We’re going to support our leader,” said COP chairman Joseph Toney yesterday. He spoke after a meeting by the COP executive on the matter on Wednesday night. Political leader Prakash Ramadhar has been advertised among PP leaders headlining the pre-budget rally. Asked if COP would be mandating members to attend, he said they were issuing word to divisions to request members to do so. However, public relations officer, Mahendra Dhaniram, told the T&T Guardian he was not attending “for obvious reasons,” noting coalition issues.
The party’s North West Division’s Rudy Hanamji said some people from the division were attending and “some are not.” He said it was split about 50-50 on attendance. Diego Martin chairman Satu Ramcharan said the division planned to launch a major land reform initiative tomorrow. He said: “We will be attending constituency responsibilities on Saturday. We have had lots of problems following the floods. To date we have not been able to reconstruct 80 homes so it’s difficult to (attend rallies) celebrate things we haven’t accomplished. “Our La Puerta members are still under the gun. They can’t sleep at night. No one can say where we are getting the material to reconstruct. By October we will have no La Puerta.” North East Division representative Kerry Ann Sudama said she was not attending since she was unwell. She said by today it would be known if others in the region would attend.
The partnership has been wracked by different types of issues. UNC MP Tim Gopeesingh’s son is alleged to have assaulted businessman Gregory Wight, husband of Diego Martin COP member Kathryn Stollmeyer Wight. Wight told the T&T Guardian she had managed the election campaigns of Nicole Dyer Griffith and had decided to resign from the party four months ago since she had felt “the way many in the COP now feel.” Wight said she was asked to reconsider and had held her hand on the resignation until she finally decided to submit it a month ago. Ramadhar was absent from the PP’s paid political broadcast on local tv stations on Wednesday night by the administration following heavy public criticism on the Clause 34 issue. The PP MPs launched an attack on PNM leader Keith Rowley and MSJ leader, former coalition partner David Abdulah.
The two are now in talks towards an alliance. The party was represented on the show by COP MP Anil Roberts who proclaimed himself a “staunch COP.” Roberts said recently he would not attend COP meetings until the party attended to an issue concerning a relative of his. UNC deputy leader Dr Roodal Moonilal, on the programme, said Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar would be “making some announcements” at tomorrow’s rally, billed as a pre-budget rally ahead of the October 8 budget presentation. Sacked Justice Minister Herbert Volney (UNC-St Joseph) said he would not be attending.
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