Deputy political leader of the Congress of the People (COP) Prakash Ramadhar has been approved by his party to contest the St Augustine seat, while the party's leader Winston Dookeran will contest Tunapuna in the upcoming general election, COP officials confirmed yesterday.
Ramadhar was part of COP's slate of ten candidates which was approved yesterday by COP's screening team. Contacted about the readiness of candidates, COP chairman Roy Augustus said in an interview that all candidates had been selected and were to be ratified at a meeting last night. Augustus declined to reveal any names, saying the team was expected to be announced by today. However, the Guardian checks revealed that Ramadhar, an attorney, would be fighting St Augustine and Dookeran would be contesting Tunapuna. Both seats have been awarded to the COP in the unity arrangement with the UNC.
COP got a total of ten seats to contest, while the UNC is contesting 24 and the other three partners in the united opposition force would contest the other seven seats. St Augustine is currently held by the UNC MP Vasant Bharath. The latter was still waiting word yesterday from the UNC on if he would be given the St Joseph or another seat to contest. Dookeran had contested St Augustine against Bharath in the 2007 general election. Bharath, however, won. COP officials said discussions had been held in the last few days to decide whether Dookeran should contest St Augustine again or whether Ramadhar should contest the seat.
COP sources said that other people approved as candidates included:
�2 Nicole Dyer-Griffith (Diego Martin Central);
�2 Rock Garcia (Diego Martin West);
�2 COP deputy leader Carolyn Seepersad Bachan (San Fernando West);
�2 Roger Samuel (Arima);
�2 COP deputy leader Wendy Lee Yuen (Lopinot-Bonaire); and
�2 Anil Roberts (Port-of-Spain North).
The 41 candidates of the united opposition force are expected to be presented at the start of May.