Last update: 07-Dec-2013 3:12 am
Saturday, December 07, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Dookeran sees less chance for COP
Congress of the People (COP) founder Winston Dookeran said he prefers to await the verdict of the population on the party’s chances in the October 21 local government elections. He said, however, he felt the electoral chances of the COP would be less than it was in 2007 and 2010. There was some hope, though, in the contest for the Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation since the issues of representation and action in the community would give the COP a good chance there, he said.
Commenting on the defection of COP members to Jack Warner’s Independent Liberal Party (ILP) and a recent NACTA poll which said the local government elections race was between the PNM and the ILP, he said he was “surprised and somewhat disappointed. “There is clearly going to be division as members go where they feel their electoral chances are better.”
Dookeran said he expressed his views to party leaders but had not been in daily discussion about it with them since they were running the show. He said while there may have been challenges in the party, the philosophy of the COP remained intact. He added: “The political philosophy the COP is now being embraced by all. As I listen to the others parties, I think they are all trying to find the centre point. “Sometimes they do not have the guts to say it’s new politics. Sometimes, they say it’s better politics.”
Dookeran said he did not agree with only the UNC representing the coalition in the upcoming Debates Commission debates between different political parties. The COP’s request to have a member of its party participate was rejected. He added: “The COP is a registered party and the fact that it is a party in a coalition does not mean it was not a party in its own right. It has a right to be involved. “To have the UNC represent the coalition meant that the meaning of a coalition was not understood.”
Relating a television interview he heard with the leader of one of the coalition parties in Israel, Dookeran said he was asked to state what he agreed and disagreed with and he openly responded: “The nature of the word coalition has never been fully appreciated here.” Asked to comment on his opinion of the People’s Partnership coalition, Dookeran said he thought they could have done better in creating a reform agenda, in dealing with the issue of corruption and in trying to build a united political environment.
But he said he saw it all as part of a growth process and was not disappointed about the general direction the PP was taking. Commenting on the general political climate, he said: “There’s no doubt a space was opened up for others to participate and there is a continuation of the move towards a change. Now it’s opened up to many different competitors. “The COP has had to carry the burden of some of that change and to some extent has not received the credit it ought to have received.”
Dookeran said he was not disturbed by the situation because it was all part of the process of change. He said that process of change began even before the birth of the COP in 2007. “The world does not change overnight. It changes over time,” he added.
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