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Dookeran: Carolyn can’t be bought
Foreign Affairs Minister and former leader of the Congress of the People (COP) Winston Dookeran says he endorsed the party’s chairman Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan for the position of party leader because she “can’t be bought.” Speaking at a press conference at COP’s Flagship House, Woodbrook, yesterday, he said Seepersad-Bachan had shown a steadfast commitment to her party and to a higher level of politics. Denying he had given a similar endorsement to current COP leader Prakash Ramadhar, Dookeran, the founder of the party, said he had supported all the candidates in the party’s previous internal elections in different ways. He said, however, now was the time for Seepersad-Bachan to lead the party, as he described her as a team player who was in no way self-serving.
The COP internal election will take place on Sunday and Seepersad-Bachan, the Minister of Public Administration, will contest the post of leader against Ramadhar, Culture Minister Dr Lincoln Douglas and Rufus Foster. “You are not looking at someone who is self-serving or hungry for power but someone who has demonstrated that her purpose in politics is higher. She has demonstrated that she is fit to hold political office,” Dookeran said. He also announced that he would also be working with Seepersad-Bachan to make COP a home for the younger generations. He acknowledged that the COP had lost ground. “Time has passed, the road has been rough but we have persisted. Today we are a mere shadow of the expectation and the energy that people had placed in us,” he added.
Former finance minister Selby Wilson also endorsed Seepersad-Bachan yesterday, agreeing that under the leadership of Ramadhar the COP had lost its way. “The COP in 2007 espoused certain values and principles which we adhered to but over the last four years those principles have not been adhered to sufficiently,” Wilson said. He said the party had lost the reputation for knowing right from wrong. “We need to do something different and change leadership. The presence of the COP must be felt in the coalition,” he added. He said the COP had failed to convince the population that its MPs were the moral compass in the Government.