Gail Alexander and Joel Julien
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Dookeran hurt as ‘COP fails’
Asked if he was willing to return as the Congress of the People’s (COP’s) political leader, Winston Dookeran, MP for Tunapuna, said: “I said today that I was prepared to continue in my search and in my advocacy for getting the politics right. That is as far as I am prepared to go at this stage.”
Dookeran was speaking at the launch of The Foundation for Politics and Leadership’s School of Politics and a panel discussion entitled Building Institutions for Democracy, yesterday, at his constituency office at El Dorado Cooperative Complex in El Dorado. The party is due to hold internal elections in July. When asked about “new politics” and about the perception that the COP had failed, Dookeran said:
“I sense there is a feeling of agony in the people’s minds that the attempt of the COP, at the time it was formed, to bring about what it had described as new politics has failed. And they do not know what to do from this point on.
“I am somewhat hurt that the party has not been able to evolve into a much larger political entity in this country. I still believe that it will. I have always said that our job is to walk in the rain without getting wet, and to do that is not an easy task; the challenges we face are enormous. But...we must move in the direction to put things right...” he said. When asked if he felt a new political party was the answer, he replied no.
Seepersad-Bachan: We were never able to get it right in this coalition
Party chairman Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan, asked about the questions raised at the meeting about the COP’s relevance, said the constituency that supported the COP was still there. She said there was much disenchantment among COP supporters. Seepersad-Bachan said a lot of this had to do with the party’s current relationship with the Government.
“I have gone on public record before and stated in this coalition COP has got to continue to maintain its own identity, and it must be able to have the opportunity to adhere to its own philosophies and policies. Somehow I think in this coalition we were never able to get it right, in terms of the relationship between the parties, the modus operandi between the parties in order to allow us to be the COP…” she said.
The COP elections, she said, are due in July this year; the party was awaiting recommendations from its own election commission, she said. Asked if she would offer herself for leadership of the party, she said she had no idea as yet.
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