Nominations for People’s National Movement San Fernando East constituency closes today but many party loyalists are sad that the tenure of T&T’s longest serving MP, Patrick Manning, would final
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Army retiree also in ring
Retired Staff Sergeant Rufus Foster has thrown his hat into the ring for the leadership post of the Congress of the People (COP). In an interview yesterday, Foster, 56, said he made the decision based on what he described as the “very poor and weak leadership” of current party leader Prakash Ramadhar. After spending 27 years in the Defence Force, he said, he joined the party in 2006.
He is the father of three daughters and lives in Maloney. He said he is fluent in Spanish and is the vice-president of the Pan American Draughts and Checkers Federation.
He added: “My intention is to seriously contest the leadership because over the years party membership has been dwindling, so much so that even at a general council meeting we have problems getting a quorum, which is about 25 people. “And people have been asking whether the COP is relevant or not, given the very weak leadership by Ramadhar. “People are saying if Mr Ramadhar wins again they are going to leave the party and this will only make it weaker. Any other person besides Ramadhar is a good choice.” On what new he would bring to the party, Foster said it had to begin with certain structures, especially addressing the concerns of the poor man.
He added: “We have to remember why we got into office in the first place and we must never forget the small man, the foot soldiers who helped build the COP. “My policy is to keep in touch with the small man and to offer hope to the hopeless because if you don’t keep in touch with people you are going to lose them.” He also said a rejuvenation of the party and a dynamic leader at the helm, who could chart the way, were needed. “I want those who are bewildered and disappointed to know there is hope. If I can get those people to come out to vote, I have a good chance of being the political leader of the COP,” Foster said. On Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan’s decision to run for leadership, Foster said she seemed to be lacking that quality. “There is not much difference between her and Mr Ramadhar,” he said. He said he would be filing his nomination papers today at the COP’s Charlieville Operations Centre.