Last update: 09-Dec-2013 9:32 pm
Monday, December 09, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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COP votes went to ILP in Diego, says party official
Some votes which went to the Congress of the People (COP) in Diego Martin West and other areas in the 2010 local government elections went to the Independent Liberal Party (ILP) in Monday’s polls, says COP northern region official Rudy Hanamji. Hanamji is one of the group of six COP members who on Thursday called for COP leader Prakash Ramadhar and the COP executive to resign after Monday’s COP defeat in the elections. The COP controlled the Arima and San Fernando corporations after the 2010 local government polls. On Monday, however, despite contesting more regions than it did in 2010, the COP ended up with only three seats in Tunapuna/Piarco, with 11 going to the People’s National Movement and one to the ILP.
On Wednesday, the six COP members, including executive member Kishore Ramadhar, brother of the party leader, also called for an interim team to lead the COP until executive elections next July and for a referendum to be held to determine if the COP should leave the People’s Partnership. Some of the six said they would leave the COP otherwise. COP leader Ramadhar has said he is not resigning. Yesterday, one of the group, COP executive member (field officer) Kirt Sinette, said Jack Warner’s ILP had got far more than the COP’s votes. Hanamji also said he and others in COP’s Diego Martin team had called more than 1,000 COP members in that area before the elections to find out if they would vote and to tell them who the candidates were. “About 300 said they were not voting,” he said. “Some people didn’t answer, some cursed and told us to take their names off our list. But I also spoke to 61 people who I know voted COP before and I know they voted ILP. Also I think hundreds of our voters in that area stayed home.”
Hanamji said the group is giving the executive until Monday—a seven-day limit—to resign. If not, the group will take its issue to COP’s National Council. That is held the second Sunday of each month. Hanamji’s mother, former COP member Nalini Dial who challenged Ramadhar for the COP leadership in 2011, left the COP and formed her own National Coalition for Transformation party which contested the Chaguanas West by-election unsuccessfully. Yesterday, members of the COP executive which is targeted by the group, said they had received reports of some “sabotage” of COP support which allegedly took place in western and eastern areas in Monday’s elections, but could not confirm it. Ramadhar has called a meeting tonight of all COP local government candidates to discuss Monday’s results.
Meanwhile, COP MP Anil Roberts, who was conspicuously absent from last Saturday’s People’s Partnership (PP) rally platform at Mid Centre Mall, Chaguanas, had been scheduled to be among PP frontline platform personalities but Nicole Dyer appeared instead, PP officials said last Saturday. They said Roberts could not be contacted on Saturday. Yesterday, when contacted about his absence from the rally platform and his view on the COP’s defeat, Roberts declined to answer. Former COP leader Winston Dookeran was unavailable and MP Rodger Samuel had no comment. Political analyst Bishnu Ragoonath said the six COP MPs, now all with ministerial portfolios, are hardly likely to give them up to take themselves out of the Partnership, though the COP has fallen away. He said the COP’s leadership has subsumed itself to the UNC and COP members seem to want to go their separate ways and likely didn’t vote, which has also made clear the negative picture on the COP’s future.
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