Last update: 22-Jul-2014 4:47 pm
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Prakash promises to ‘take control’ of the Anil situation
Political leader of the Congress of the People (COP) Prakash Ramadhar has promised to “take control of the situation” surrounding COP member and Sport Minister Anil Roberts’ alleged involvement in the controversial video making the rounds on social media.
Speaking with reporters as he launched his bid to recontest the COP’s internal elections at the party’s Flagship House, Woodbrook, yesterday, Ramadhar at first did not want to comment on the now viral video of a man purported to be Roberts in the company of two women and handling what appeared to be marijuana. “We do not have to (talk about the issue),” he said in response to questions from the media.
Ramadhar said he “understands” that a COP team met with Roberts, but he “exercised his constitutional right, I understand, to silence. But I have made the point before that this is a political issue, and the party will meet this week coming and then chart the way forward. “I will be holding a press conference, and I do not want the issue of why we are here today to be overshadowed by that other matter, as important as it is. This party will treat with it in the manner and form and with the seriousness that it deserves.”
He said it was not up to him to deal with Roberts. “The party has processes and we will abide by those.”
Ramadhar seeks re-election
Ramadhar also announced that he will be recontesting his seat at the party’s upcoming internal elections. With just days left before the close of nominations—June 6—Ramadhar is the first COP member to throw his hat into the ring for the leadership of the party. Ramadhar made the announcement yesterday at a media conference at the party’s Flagship House, Woodbrook, surrounded by his family and a throng of supporters.
“In this very difficult environment, the politics, as we have all said, is one of the biggest problems for the development of this country,” he said. While praising the party, Ramadhar admitted that some members had to be “persuaded” to go along with some party decisions. “And [there were] those who could not be persuaded and who felt that their points of view must reign supreme without caring or concern to all of T&T.”
In his short address, Ramadhar cemented his party’s commitment to the People’s Partnership coalition and called on the public to remember the trials faced under the former administration. “I, as the leader of this party, have had to endure personal humiliation, insults and denigration by those who truly did not understand the long march forward that is important for a nation to change its course, having been neglected for generations.”
Ramadhar said he would welcome any other contenders for the post of political leader, including former party leader Winston Dookeran. The Sunday Guardian reported two weeks ago that Dookeran had been approached by party members to take over control of the party. “I welcome all who wish to enter the democratic environment. I really want a very heated and a very dynamic campaign so that the truth will set us free.”
Dookeran, in an interview with the Sunday Guardian, then said he had met with Ramadhar to discuss the concerns of the membership. Ramadhar yesterday confirmed that meeting, but refused to comment on it. “I do not ever breach private conversations. What I will say is that we have a very healthy working relationship, and I will always cherish him as the founding father of this party.”