Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 22nd 2015 Contents ON THE ROAD
February 22, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
The Congress of the People
(COP) stands a slim chance of
winning if it goes it alone in the
upcoming general election.
This was the view of three polit-
ical analysts as the COP gets set
to finalise its 2015 general election
In Friday s Guardian, the COP s
general secretary Clyde Weather-
head admitted that the party had
received the names of nominees
for 11 constituencies. Weatherhead
also confirmed that the COP was
seeking to contest more seats than
the six it holds.
But two former COP deputy
political leaders, Wendy Lee Yuen
and Robert Mayers, have expressed
concern over the party s future.
Both Lee Yuen and Mayers feel
that the nine-year-old COP is now
"past history" and "dead" as it
prepares to face its third general
Today, the COP will hold its
monthly national council meeting
at Operations Centre, Charlieville.
Basdeo---They're better as
a coalition than alone
Political analyst Maukesh Basdeo
said a number of polls conducted
on the performance of political
parties in the last two years showed
that the COP had not created any
significant impact nor made any
"Based on that, I think the COP s
chances are far greater as a coalition
than on its own."
If the COP were to stand alone,
Basdeo said, it might muster sup-
port from some members who had
been urging the party to contest
the general election alone rather
than as part of a coalition.
"That support might return, but
I don t think it might be substantial
enough for them to win a seat.
Their chances will be slim if they
go it on their own under this first-
Basdeo said if the COP were to
fight alone they might face a sit-
uation similar to the one in the
2007 general election, where they
captured 148,000 votes, but did
not win one seat.
He said if the first-past-the-
post system of voting was changed
to the runoff provision in the Con-
stitution (Amendment) Bill 2014,
which is yet to come before the
House of Representatives for
amendments, things could change.
"If the amendments to the
runoff provision are approved the
COP may end up as a contender,
but you have to take into consid-
eration if the COP would be able
to reignite the support they once
Asked if the COP s electoral can-
didates could contest the election
under a UNC ticket, Basdeo said
this was possible.
Basdeo drew reference to former
Movement for Social Justice leader
Errol McLeod, who fought and won
the Point-a-Pierre seat under the
UNC in 2010.
Basdeo said the best bet was for
each political party to contest under
its own identity to avoid confusion
among the voting population.
James: COP politically dead
Political analyst Dr Winford James
has described the COP as "politically
dead and buried. I cannot see how
they are making a difference."
James said, as it stood, the COP
could not win any seat, whether it
went on its own or stayed with the
People s Partnership.
James said no advice to the COP
would suffice now, since they had
given the impression of being oppor-
"They have lost all credibility as
a party. I don t know how powerful
their voice has been in some of the
major happenings in Government
since they took office."
He said the only way the COP
could emerge victorious was if their
candidates were put up to fight seats
in UNC strongholds.
"Other than that, they do not have
a fighting chance."
James said if the COP fought the
election alone or under a coalition
banner, they would not capture "one
In the last few months, James said,
the COP had been losing support
on many fronts, mainly because of
its sucking up to the UNC, being
part of the Government s many
blunders, and not living up to the
new politics they had promised the
He said rather than stand alone,
the party s leader was holding on to
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-
Bissessar s coat tail, which was doing
the party more harm than good.
James said the recent tiff between
COP chairman Nicole Dyer-Griffith
and leader Prakash Ramadhar was
likely to intensify because they would
have to go to the public with one
approach and were already not seeing
"How they would work that out,
we don t know just yet."
James said if Carolyn Seepersad-
Bachan was given the party to lead,
things might have progressed rather
than digressed in the last few
"She is one of the better ones.
She seems to be sufficiently inde-
pendent," James said.
Ragoonath: They are very weak
Political analyst Dr Bishnu
Ragoonath said he did not see the
COP as a strong, viable political enti-
ty for the general election.
Ragoonath said the COP by itself
was not strong.
"They are very, very, very, very
Ragoonath said as the party was
losing ground, the membership was
unsure as to where they would go.
"The membership is divided.
Some want to stay with the PP, while
others want to go their own way. To
that extent, a divided house will
If the COP entered into a rela-
tionship with the UNC, Ragoonath
• Continues on Page A11
John Lewis, left, of
the Congress of the
People, shakes hands
with Junior Calliste
of the United
during the start of a
PHOTO: TONY HOWELL
Analysts: COP a spent force
Yesterday, Ramadhar said he
disagreed with the political
analysts and felt confident that
the party could emerge victorious
at the polls.
"I feel confident the party will
get support once people
understand that they were given
good governance and provided
with development in the last five
In the next two weeks,
Ramadhar said, the COP would
In the 2010 general election,
Ramadhar said, the COP won six
of the toughest seats, following
which the party's support base
started to dwindle due to
Ramadhar said he recently held
discussions with Persad-Bissessar
to strengthen the COP in
preparation for the upcoming
He said the COP was yet to
work out an arrangement with
the UNC on which seats they
"Our ambition is to contest
more than the six we currently
hold. We have agreed that every
arm of the PP must work hard in
every constituency. There is no
alternative for the COP but to
continue in the PP. I can't see the
COP partnering with the PNM. As
for the ILP, they are a spent
Ramadhar said he was willing
to work with Dyer-Griffith to take
the party forward.
"To me, the party is bigger than
RAMADHAR: NO ALTERNATIVE FOR
THE COP BUT TO CONTINUE IN THE PP
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