Last update: 13-Dec-2013 3:20 am
Friday, December 13, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Ramadhar: Misguided decision
Congress of the People Leader Prakash Ramadhar says the T&T Debates Commission was misguided in its approach to its Leaders’ Debate. The debate, which was scheduled for last night, was cancelled on Monday after Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar maintained her decision to delegate Ramadhar to represent the People’s Partnership.
Yesterday Ramadhar, speaking with reporters during Naparima Girls’ High School’s speech day and awards ceremony, at Susamachar Presbyterian Church, San Fernando, said the commission erred in its representation of what it considered a leadership debate. The commission, in announcing its decision to cancel the event, stated that no substitutes were permitted.
Ramadhar added: “The Debates Commission misguided itself, not fully appreciating its stated purpose which is to enlighten the population on political growth in the country. “The age of coalition government is upon us and therefore it would have been important to recognise independent political parties with their own leaders that would exist in a partnership and not lose identity.”
Ramadhar said such leaders would have the right to speak on behalf of their party and “if nominated to be a leader within the partnership for that purpose (as well).” Reflecting on the cancellation, Ramadhar said: “I think it was grave error. “I am certain that we will all learn from the experience as we move forward because debates are critically important and it should not be about titles only.
“Yes, it’s a leadership debate but I am a leader of my party. Whether you like it or not I am the leader of the Congress of the People, a significant part of the Partnership and we created the Partnership.” The Legal Affairs Minister said he stood ready to debate anyone at any time. “I am not afraid,” Ramadhar added. He dismissed statements that Persad-Bissessar “ducked and ran” from the debate. In fact, he said, the Prime Minister should be applauded for her decision to allow him to represent the Government.
“I think that as the co-parent of the Partnership she acted responsibly in allowing the COP a space,” he said. Ramadhar said to denigrate the Prime Minister’s effort without understanding the magnanimity of her offer was not right. He opted not to comment on United National Congress (UNC) decision to select Crime Watch host Ian Alleyne as its candidate for the St Joseph by election. “That is a UNC choice,” he added.
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