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Congress of the People (COP) chair Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan says she will decide by Friday whether or not she intends to contest the post of political leader. Speaking to reporters at her constituency office in San Fernando yesterday, Seepersad-Bachan said she was surprised at Winston Dookeran’s endorsement of her as the best candidate for the post. She said: “I just heard about it. I feel humbled by the faith he has put in me. I am humbled by what he has said.
“Many months ago, people approached me and asked me about going up for political leader? They said ‘you should go,’ but I joined the group who said we should have Mr Dookeran come back. “I was very surprised that he said he is willing to serve as chairman while I serve as political leader. I thought it will be the other way around.” Saying the task was a “big undertaking,” Seepersad-Bachan said she would decide after consulting her family, friends and constituents.
Asked whether Dookeran’s endorsement of her meant he had no faith in current leader Prakash Ramadhar, Seepersad-Bachan said: “I don’t want to comment on that. I don’t want to comment on what Ramadhar has done. “There is a need for a political direction and I have always said we need to rebuild. There is a lot of disenchantment there. In fact, when I look at who is supporting Mr Dookeran, it is many people who had left the party.”
She hoped the internal election campaign would be clean one, unlike the recent campaign between People’s National Movement (PNM) leader Dr Keith Rowley and opponent Penelope Beckles-Robinson. In a statement yesterday, Dookeran said he did not wish to contest the post of leader.
Saying “recycling leaders is not the answer,” Dookeran added: “Rebuilding of the identity of the COP must come from those younger members who both understand and are committed to the principles and values of the COP. “In my opinion, we should look to encourage prospects with demonstrated quality of leadership who can serve in the best interests of the nation first and the party second. Politics should be about nation-building, which requires resilient political parties that can endure over time.”
Saying Seepersad-Bachan had an impressive track record, Dookeran noted that she co-ordinated the creation of the COP manifesto of 2007, alongside himself and the late Roy Boyke, and chaired the revision of the 2010 manifesto with input from NJAC’s Aiyegoro Ome, Timothy Hamel-Smith and others. He noted: “Her impressive track record as a genuine COP member makes her a most suitable candidate to lead the rebuilding process."
He said he was prepared to offer himself as chairman and serve in a guiding role towards delivering good leadership.