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New COP chairman: Any move to PNM not up to me
New chairman of the Congress of the People (COP) Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan says she will not take any unilateral action to move the party into the direction of the Opposition PNM if tensions arise in the Peoples’ Partnership. She bested former COP chairman Joseph Toney for the post in last weekend’s COP internal elections.
Seepersad-Bachan spoke yesterday prior to her first meeting with the new COP executive. She also met with former executive members and candidates who had contested COP’s internal elections to begin moving the party forward . The Movement for Social Justice, which left the PP in May, has been supporting the PNM in issues concerning the PP Government.
During the COP campaign Toney was asked if he would take the COP towards the PNM if the COP moved away from the PP. Toney had said he would not.
Yesterday, when asked whether she would steer the COP to the PNM if coalition tensions arose, Seepersad-Bachan said:
“That is not an issue for me to undertake at all. Any such move would have to be a party decision, depending on the circumstances. That is not a decision I would take as chairman but I don’t even see that in the near future at all.
“I don’t see any association with the PNM but as I said that decision can’t be taken by me or the leader or COP executive. “Only the membership can decide things like that. So I would not make any unilateral move towards the PNM as our constitution does not allow officers to decide on such issues. Only COP’s national council or assembly can decide those things.”
Seepersad-Bachan said she had congratulated PNM Senate leader Pennelope Beckles for winning the post of PNM lady vice chairman at last Sunday’s PNM convention. She added: “I see the fact of women now emerging in the politics as a good sign. One of the problems we had before was that women were sceptical to get involved due the type of politics being practised — character assassination and the like — but now I hope to see more joining the political landscape.”
She hoped to begin any necessary “healing process” in the COP from yesterday’s first executive meeting, adding:
“I had said during the campaign a new executive would deal with issues raised by candidates and we will try to do so.”
Seepersad-Bachan said she had, for example, invited candidate Satu Ramcharan to meet yesterday after her allegations of irregularities by some candidates in the campaign. She said she also was working on “bringing home” ‘COPers’ who had “parked up”, including Vernon de Lima, Wendy Lee Yuen and others.
She said she also spoke to former deputy leader Robert Mayers last week on returning to the party. PP officials said after COP’s elections and with a new executive in place, a meeting of the chairmen of all coalition members would be held today. This would set the stage for a later meeting of all coalition leaders, it was stated.
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