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With the internal elections of the Congress of the People (COP) due next month, political analyst Dr Winford James believes neither Prakash Ramadhar nor Winston Dookeran is fit to lead. James added that the party was also politically dead. Ramadhar, the MP for St Augustine and the Minister of Legal Affairs, announced his intention to contest leadership for a second term. Dookeran meanwhile has been asked by some COP executive members to consider contesting the election, scheduled for June 29.
In a telephone interview yesterday, Dookeran said he was in London and was aware of the issue, but said he had not made up his mind about contesting the post he walked away from a couple years ago. “I am aware of the situation... that people have been calling for me to take back leadership of the party, but it is something I need to think about,” Dookeran said.
James, who described the Foreign Affairs Minister as a “tepid leader,” noted that he voluntarily gave up the leadership position, paving the way for Ramadhar to take over. But he pointed out that both men were facing the same issues as leader. “Both Dookeran and Ramadhar are unfit for the position of leader. When Dookeran gave up the leadership position, one got the impression at the time that he himself felt he was incompetent given all the noise which was taking placing in the party,” James said.
Ramadhar, James said, often showed he was endorsing issues occurring in the People’s Partnership Government either by remaining silent or by using carefully selected words. “It seems Ramadhar is more of a UNC than a COP and this was even expressed from within the COP,” he said. “The issue with Anil Roberts has been a slap in the face for the COP, because up to now they have not been able to have a real conversation with Roberts about the allegations.”
Accusations have been hurled at Roberts after a video surfaced featuring a man resembling a government minister rolling a marijuana cigarette in a hotel room with two women.
Little to show
On whether the COP could be revived, especially with the general election around the corner, James said the public has heard little or nothing about the party’s plans. “How do you go about doing that? I have heard nothing about matters of revival. They are holding on to the idea of morality in public office and honesty and so on, but what has the COP done that we could remember? “They have not shown their independence as a political party,” James added.
On what was the alternative, he said this was difficult, as it was not known who were the other contenders wanting to throw their hats into the ring. Another political analyst, Mukesh Basdeo, said it was a “wait and see game” as to whether Dookeran would contest the post. But he warned that if Dookeran were to return it would create a scenario within the party.
“Members have lost confidence in Mr Ramadhar, but if Mr Dookeran decides to come back it would mean he would be challenging Mr Ramadhar, who he identified as leader in the first place,” Basdeo added.