Vice Chairperson Policy,
Advocacy and Projects
Commonwealth Youth Council
As the Congress of the People (COP) quickens its pace towards leadership elections at the end of the month, the party’s membership and the media were treated to an impromptu debate among the four contenders. The group, speaking with reporters at the party’s Operations Centre in Charlieville yesterday, fielded questions from journalists that left political leader Prakash Ramadhar defending his actions as party head over the past three years.
While he was not directly challenged, each contender—current chairman Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan, deputy political leader Lincoln Douglas and party member Rufus Foster—said the COP needed to return to the political strength it had in the past. While Seepersad-Bachan and Ramadhar both agreed that coalition politics was “here to stay,” Foster, in response to questions on the COP’s continued commitment to the coalition, said he was open to “other partnerships.”
“As far as I am concerned if your policies and your ideas, mission and vision that we have as a party is not meshing well with our present partner, then I have absolutely no problem with the general membership to move on and seek other partners,” Foster said. Douglas also disagreed with both Seepersad-Bachan and Ramadhar.
“Well I don’t see that anything is here to stay. The role of leader is to evaluate the times that you are living in and make wise decisions, to mobilise, inform and educate your people so that they could follow a clear vision,” he said. Ramadhar did say that it was time that a “renegotiation” take place within the coalition. He also questioned why others were so ready to kill the coalition relationship without doing anything to strengthen the party’s own internal operations.
Ramadhar said, “As bad as many of the things are” within the PP, the COP would continue to fix the political machinery that they helped to create. Ramadhar dismissed the idea of a coalition with any other party, saying that other political groups do not support the same values that the COP does, including the need for Constitutional reform, procurement legislation and axing the property tax. (RS)