COP votes on Warner motion
By COREY CONNELLY Sunday, September 9 2012
At least one high-ranking member of the Congress of the People (COP) has thrown her support behind the party’s political leader, Prakash Ramadhar, in his position that the COP will not be leaving the People’s Partnership coalition Government.
Deputy political leader, Anna Maria Mora, said yesterday the COP will stay within the Partnership “to work through whatever needs to be worked through.”
“That is my position. We have made a decision and we made that decision a long time ago,” she told Sunday Newsday.
Mora’s comments came ahead of today’s COP National Council meeting at the party’s Operations Centre in Charlieville, Chaguanas, at which a motion calling on Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to remove National Security Minister Jack Warner from the Cabinet is expected to be discussed.
The motion, filed early last week by COP vice-chairman Vernon De Lima, is calling on the party to sever ties with the PP if the Prime Minister does not remove Warner from the Cabinet.
It also calls on the PM to remove Warner from the Cabinet in light of FIFA bribery allegations against him, which includes the findings of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in relation to a secret US fund account.
De Lima, who had unsuccessfully contested the leadership of the COP in July 2011, said he would resign if the party did not pass the resolution. Warner is reported as saying that De Lima’s grievances with him were personal.
Ramadhar, also the Legal Affairs Minister, said last Tuesday that the party will not be leaving the Partnership. He said since Warner has refused to step down, only the Prime Minister can take action against him, not the COP.
Mora, one of three COP deputy leaders, yesterday agreed with Ramadhar.
She said, “The political leader made a statement a while ago that the COP is not leaving the Partnership and that is my take on it too. I supported that motion when it came up, I don’t know how many national council meetings ago, that we are not leaving the coalition.”
De Lima was said to be on a fishing expedition in Las Cuevas when Sunday Newsday tried to contact him yesterday.
Ramadhar could not be reached for comment and was said to have been tied up in meetings and functions yesterday.
COP chairman, Joseph Toney, also did not answer calls to his cellular phone yesterday.
Meanwhile, chairman of the COP’s Cumuto/Manzanilla constituency, Latchman Ramrattan, also wants the party to remain within the PP.
“It was unanimously agreed by my membership and executive that we do not pull out from the PP,” he told Sunday Newsday.
“The party has raised this issue already and it was decided by the leadership. The membership of Cumuto and executive feels that if anyone should call on the removal of Warner it should be the citizenry of Trinidad and Tobago. The party has had its say and we are moving on. It has now gone beyond us.”
Ramrattan also said the COP was built on hardcore principles and values.
“We are about building and not mashing up anything,” he added.
The COP, which was launched at Centre of Excellence, Macoya, in September 2006, is the second major entity in the now four-party coalition government.
Earlier this year, David Abdulah, the head of the Movement for Social Justice, pulled out of the Partnership over a disagreement with how the party was dealing with several issues.