“Please come back home,” a weeping Lydia Hinds, mother of 16-year-old Nicole Lezama, said yesterday as she appealed for the safe return of the teen who has been missing since Saturday.
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More support for Dookeran to lead COP
Just over a month before the Congress of the People (COP) holds its internal elections, five more constituencies are endorsing the return of Winston Dookeran to take command of the party. Chairmen from four constituencies say there is too much division and in-fighting within the party and only Dookeran, who has across-the-board appeal, can bring about the stability needed to guide the party into the 2015 general election. The COP is the second largest member of the Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar-led government. The five have attached their signatures to a letter, issued yesterday, calling for its current leader Prakash Ramadhar, who is also the Minister of Legal Affairs in the People’s Partnership Government, to stand aside and let Dookeran assume the leadership position once more.
They have made it clear they are doing so in their personal capacities. “Today, more than ever, the COP and the country need personalities who represent stability, respect and integrity,” the signed letter said. It added: “It is common knowledge that for quite some time all has not been well within the COP. There has been much division and in-fighting. Members of the party have the highest level of respect for Mr Dookeran. “We are confident that should he return as leader, his return would have a calming and uniting effect on the party and allow it to focus on the delivery of decent and responsible governance.” The letter continued that throughout Dookeran’s career in public life, he had displayed “the highest level of sobriety, intellectualism and caring, as well as pure and honest leadership.”
Dookeran, the Foreign Affairs Minister, is out of the country but in an interview with the Sunday Guardian earlier this month he confirmed he had been approached to take control of the party and had a discussion with Ramadhar about the issues brought to his attention. At that point he did not express any desire to return as leader of the party he founded, opting instead to indicate he would seriously consider it if that was what the membership wanted. COP’s nomination day is June 6 at the party’s Operation’s Centre, Charlieville. A COP source said several other members are interested in contesting the leadership of the party only if Dookeran refused to accept the challenge. “Right now the calls are becoming more numerous and the voices are getting louder. Once Mr Dookeran accepts, the other challengers will stand aside,” the source added.
Who’s backing Dookeran?
• Ricardo Rambally of Tunapuna.
• Rabindranath Ramlogan of Fyzabad.
• Trevor Bridglalsingh of Chaguanas East.
• Rudolph Hanamji of Diego Martin West.
• Vice-chairman Hugh Nurse of St Joseph.