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Dookeran backs Carolyn over Prakash

By Miranda La Rose Wednesday, June 4 2014

click on pic to zoom in
The Congress of the People's (COP) Founding Leader Winston Dookeran...
The Congress of the People's (COP) Founding Leader Winston Dookeran...

The Congress of the People’s (COP) founding leader Winston Dookeran is endorsing the incumbent chairman Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan for the post of political leader while he offers himself as a candidate for the party’s chairmanship.

Nomination Day for the election of a COP leader and other positions is on Friday and the election is scheduled for June 29.

Current leader Prakash Ramadhar has indicated his intention to contest the position.

Meanwhile reactions to Dookeran’s statement have been positive from sections of the general membership.

In a statement issued yesterday by his Tunapuna constituency office, Dookeran said, “Seepersad-Bachan’s impressive track record as a genuine COP member makes her a most suitable candidate to lead the rebuilding process” of the party.

Due to calls from the membership to return to the helm of the party which he founded and served as its first political leader, Dookeran said, “I am prepared to offer myself as a candidate for chairman of the party in the national executive elections due later this year, and serve in a guiding role towards delivering the kind of leadership in the best interest and benefit to all.”

Noting that calls made by some of the membership for his return as political leader “to lead the rebuilding of the party,” Dookeran said, “This is a matter I have given much thought to, and concluded that recycling leaders is not the answer.”

According to Dookeran, the “rebuilding of the identity of the COP must come from those younger members who both understand and are committed to the principles and values of the COP.”

The party, he said, “should be looking to persons such as Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan who have an impressive track record as an exemplar of the COP.”

Dookeran said Seepersad-Bachan coordinated the creation of the COP manifesto committee of 2007 which he co-chaired with the late Roy Boyke. She also chaired the revision of the People’s Partnership 2010 manifesto with input from National Joint Action Committee’s Aiyegoro Ome, COP’s Timothy Hamel-Smith and others. He opined the party should “look to encourage prospects with demonstrated quality of leadership who can serve in the best interests of the nation first and the party second.”

Politics should be about nation-building which requires resilient political parties that can endure over time.

There have been growing calls from the membership, and some of the national community, he said “for the COP to return to its original promise when it was formed.”

On calls for greater values-based leadership in the nation’s governance, he said, “I am of the firm belief that with a return of the COP to its tenets of principled leadership and accountability, it can offer a credible option in the political landscape of Trinidad and Tobago.”

Reacting to Dookeran’s endorsement of Seepersad-Bachan, COP’s former deputy chairman Vernon De Lima told Newsday, “That’s good news. I am very happy to hear that.”

Former COP chairman Joseph Toney who lost the chairmanship to Seepersad-Bachan said, “I have absolutely no comment.”

COP founding member and former deputy chairman of the Diego Martin Regional Corporation Robert Torry told Newsday “Seepersad-Bachan is young and brilliant, and politically she has learnt a lot over the past few years. If Mr Dookeran has seen in her qualities of leadership, it is a judgement call, and a lot of us will follow.”

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