Dookeran: Wrong to leave COP out debate
By Clint Chan Tack Thursday, October 10 2013
FOREIGN Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran yesterday said the People’s Partnership (PP) Government must do more to fight against corruption in the country.
Dookeran, founder of the Congress of the People (COP), also insisted the party remains a viable political force; has not been replaced by the Independent Liberal Party (ILP) as the vehicle for “new politics” and should be allowed to participate in the upcoming national debates as an individual party, despite being a member of the PP.
As he left a function at the Capital Plaza Hotel in Port-of-Spain, reporters asked Dookeran to assess the PP’s performance over the last three years. I think there are many areas in governance that I think we could have done better,” he replied.
Without making references to any particular issue, Dookeran said Government had not done as well in fighting corruption as it should have. “In terms of the issues of corruption, it is something we could have done better,” he said.
However, Dookeran said he viewed Government’s performance “in the context of a movement.”
“It took us 50 years to be where we are. It’s only within the last few years that we had a direct confrontation on the norms that established the politics of the past.” On the COP’s future, Dookeran admitted the party’s ability to win any election on its own has become “less than it was in 2007 and perhaps less than 2010.” However, Dookeran declared, “I think the political direction that the COP has put forward is now being embraced by all. That’s how I read the politics now.”
Dookeran said the UNC, PNM and ILP local government election campaigns, “are all trying to emulate the position that was taken by the COP.”
“Sometimes they don’t have the guts to say it is new politics. Sometimes they say it’s better politics. Sometimes they say it’s different politics,” he said.
On COP’s Local Government election chances, Dookeran said the party would have some challenges in winning the Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation (one of five corporations it is contesting on October 21). Dookeran, who is Tunapuna MP, said, “I know it is a difficult electoral prospect at this point. In Tunapuna, I recognise that we will become liable to the overall picture.”
On the Debates Commission’s decision to deny the COP’s participation in the local government debate on Friday, Dookeran said, “I don’t agree with the Commission. I think the COP is a registered body. It is in fact putting candidates for a number of seats and ought to be treated in its own right.” Saying many people did not understand what a coalition government was, Dookeran said, “The nature of the word coalition is not being fully appreciated here and to some extent that has created a liability to the COP.” He referred to a Bloomberg programme he saw on Tuesday in which a leader of one of the parties, in the Israeli coalition government showed his party can maintain its individualism despite being a member of a political coalition.