“Political opponents, but never enemies.”
So said former prime minister Basdeo Panday of his political colleague, former prime minister Patrick Manning.
Robert Mayers said he was the first signatory to a document calling for Dookeran’s return. At the time of the meeting, he said Dookeran was in Algiers. He said he was aware the group wanted to seek support from people, like Patrick Watson, Vernon De Lima, Wendy Lee Yuen, Hulsie Bhaggan, Senate President Timothy Hamel Smith and Paula Morgan.
But noting Dookeran’s bid to push Seepersad-Bachan and contest the chairmanship with her, Mayers said: “Not having been successful in appeals for Mr Dookeran to return to the helm, I see no reason to stay a COP member. “I’m not supporting ‘anointed’ people, I don’t believe in anointees. They are seldom ever the genuine article, so the best thing I can do at this point is take my leave.”
He added: “I had been supporting the movement for Winston to return on the basis that this was not simply a question of persuading him to take the helm but that he had no choice given T&T’s state. “In the current state any right-thinking person could not ignore the situation, and therefore it was not a matter of a choice but that he had to take it in T&T’s best interest. “But the fact he has ceded it to someone else (Seepersad-Bachan) is abdication and a continuation of the apathy of looking the other way.”
Asked why he and others felt Dookeran should return after demitting office in 2011, Mayers said it was not necessarily about the person but Dookeran was more symbolic. He added: “It was symbolic in the sense that you wanted someone untainted, that’s the first requirement. “I never doubted his sincerity of purpose. He was the only person I returned to politics for (in 2006) after the NAR. I can only wish him the best now.
“But he has a weird mantra of walking in the rain without getting wet and this abdication is a continuation of that mantra. New politics cannot be only talk, it must be translated to action.”