Carolyn: I won’t be bullied
By Richardson Dhalai Wednesday, June 4 2014
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Decision stands: Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan, at her San Fernando West constituency office yesterday, defends the party's suspension of Sports Minister A...
Congress of the People (COP) chairman Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan yesterday said she will not be “bullied” by Sports Minister Anil Roberts.
She was responding to a letter written yesterday to her by Roberts in which he described his suspension as “fundamentally flawed” and was “aimed at creating a veneer of some sort of action having been taken to placate others.”
In his letter, Roberts said he had not yet received any notification from either Seepersad-Bachan or any party representative about his suspension and accused her of pontificating about “procedure and transparency”, and said she had “pre-judged” the issue and should have recused herself from a committee which he alleged was set up by her to investigate a controversial video of a Government minister.
However, Seepersad-Bachan, the San Fernando West MP, said the committee had been set up by political leader Prakash Ramadhar adding the decision to suspend Roberts had been taken by the party’s national executive.
“I didn’t suspend him. Natex (national executive) met. They heard our report and then they took our decision,” she said, adding both the country and the party membership had a right to know the facts about the video. I am not going to be bullied by him but the country needs to know the facts,” she said in a phone interview.
Earlier at her constituency office, Gordon and Keate Streets, San Fernando, she said the reason for the lengthy delay in handing down a decision on the matter was because the party believed in the “principles of natural justice” and had given Roberts an opportunity to address the contents of the video, first aired on TV6, in a meeting last week.
“Mr Roberts has to be given that opportunity to be heard, Mr Roberts has also requested that we get a copy of the tape,” she said. “We did request a copy of the tape and it took a little while for TV6 to release that tape for us to view, but as you know we did not see the tape. We asked him if it was him in the video, he said the matter was in the hands of his attorneys so our recommendation to the national executive last night (Monday), we were of the view that Mr Roberts, by not trying to clarify and not putting this matter to rest was causing more pain for the COP and decided to sever all ties with Mr Roberts,” she added.
“The one factor was his unwillingness to cooperate with us and to clarify the matter, he has neither denied nor confirmed that he has appeared in that video and in the absence of that clarification and what was the perception out there at that type of behaviour, it is not in line or not in keeping with the code of ethics for public officials representing the COP,” she said, confirming a letter of his suspension had been sent to him by the party’s general secretary.