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Prakash quits as COP leader

Friday, February 19, 2016
Opposition MP Prakash Ramadhar

Continued division and badgering may have contributed to the resignation of Opposition MP Prakash Ramadhar from the post of Congress of the People political leader a year before his term of office ended, sources hinted yesterday.

Elections for the post of COP leader are due next year but Ramadhar resigned Wednesday night. The party, however, confirmed he remained a COP member and MP for St Augustine.

Party general secretary, Clyde Weatherhead, yesterday said Ramadhar had tendered his resignation to the party’s national executive on Wednesday night.

“In his letter, Mr Ramadhar has indicated an effective date for his decision, which he suggests will allow the party sufficient time to organise an election to decide on a successor and facilitate immediate transition which will ensure the continued work of the COP in charting its future, which we started at the retreat last year,” Weatherhead added.

Ramadhar didn’t answer calls yesterday.

But COP sources claimed yesterday that Ramadhar had become disenchanted with continuing criticism and “badgering” that dogged his tenure with the People’s Partnership government and after.

Ramadhar had been the COP’s second leader since succeeding former COP leader Winston Dookeran in 2011 and gained a second term in 2014 in a battle with his former chairman Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan, who had been supported by Dookeran. 

Asked what reasons Ramadhar gave for his resignation, Weatherhead said he didn’t detail his position but said he (Ramadhar) would say more at Sunday’s COP National Council meeting. 

Asked if division in the party might have contributed to the resignation, Weatherhead said he could not speak for anyone. 

He said the COP executive would recommend how the party would proceed and that deputy leader Dr Anirudh Mahabir had been acting in recent weeks since Ramadhar was overseas. 

On the perception the COP is a “spent force”, Weatherhead said simply: “That’s not our perception.”

COP sources said with Ramadhar’s resignation elections for the leadership may have to be held by April.

Commenting on Ramadhar’s resignation last night, United National Congress leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar said she was surprised by the move but did not know if he had succumbed to pressure within the party.

She added it was now for the party membership to decide on a way ahead.

MP Dr Bhoe Tewarie, who had been with the COP and joined the UNC last year, added: “COP members need to come together to determine if they have the will to support the COP as a political party, or whether it needs to evolve into something else.”

Asked the ruling PNM’s thoughts on Ramadhar’s resignation, PNM general secretary Ashton Ford said: “Prakash who...?” GA