The Congress of People (COP) could lose its political identity in the People's Partnership coalition government if members don't fight for it, political analyst Derek Ramsamooj warned on Monday night. He also told party members their attempts to bring about constitutional reform will be met with great resistance from their parliamentary colleagues in government and opposition.
Speaking at the COP's third public consultation on constitution reform at Excel Hall in Fyzabad, Ramsamooj said: "If you do not stand up for your political identity you will be subsumed sooner rather than later." He further advised: "The COP have got to recognise that they have to look at the interest of the party as a political entity above and beyond the interest of individual members of Parliament."
Ramsamooj said the new Constitution must be able to stand scrutiny 25 years from now. "For that to occur you need to ensure that you have representation in Parliament and that your representation is firm. "If the COP wishes to keep its political rank and its political identity then they have got to have candidates for all local election and all general election. Failing that you will lose your political identity and be subsumed by a much larger entity.
"The question is do you have the political will to chart that course?" Ramsamooj asked the gathering. He noted that the government has a majority of 29 seats and suggested that the COP, through their MPs rally their fellow members of government and lobby the PNM to bring about institutional change in the government. owever, he warned: "It will be met by resistance by your partners in the partnership, it will be met with resistance by the PNM..."
Ramsamooj pointed out that the Constitution speaks to rights and freedom, but fails to address nation building. "The fundamental issue in our country is that citizens refuse to take a sense of responsibility in nation building and we have got to find ways and means of getting our citizens motivated about that," he said. COP vice chairman Vernon DeLima said he agreed with Ramsamooj's comments.