Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 20th 2016 Contents A6
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Saturday, February 20, 2016
Giving himself a performance rat-
ing of seven out of ten, Congress of
the People (COP) leader Prakash
Ramadhar says he will take to his
grave the public perceptions that
under his leadership the party lost
its identity and confidence.
Ramadhar said this while explaining
his decision to resign as COP leader
on April 24.
He spoke to reporters in the lobby
of the Parliament, Tower D, Interna-
tional Waterfront Centre, Wrightson
"So I take it (blame), I will carry it
to my grave," he stressed, adding that
the People's Partnership (PP) govern-
ment brought many benefits to the
people of T&T.
Ramadhar made it clear that he
was not resigning as a member of the
party and that he will continue to
serve his St Augustine constituency.
"So the issue of whether I should
demit as MP for St Augustine, the
constituents will determine that," he
Asked whom would he take direc-
tions from on voting in Parliament,
Ramadhar said while an MP takes
directions from his party, the COP
always allowed MPs to "act with what
you consider best, taking the views
of your party, but you must exercise
your personal discretion and con-
science on matters. So I remain open."
He said he rejected calls for his res-
ignation after the People's Partnership
government was defeated in general
elections on September 7 because he
did not want it to appear that he was
being chased out of office.
"That must never happen," adding
that his decision to give up the lead-
ership now was "a deliberate and vol-
untary exercise in my discretion as
political leader to call early elections."
Ramadhar was elected in 2015 and
his term was constitutionally due to
expire in 2017. His announcement to
resign on Wednesday came a year
ahead of the elections.
COP sources said Ramadhar had
become disenchanted with the con-
tinuing criticism and "badgering" that
dogged his tenure with the PP gov-
ernment and after the general election.
Ramadhar had been the COP's second
leader since succeeding former COP
leader Winston Dookeran in 2011 and
gained a second term in 2014 in a
battle with his former chairman Car-
olyn Seepersad, who had been sup-
ported by Dookeran.
Ramadhar said he was seeking to
have not only elections for a new
political leader of the party on April
24 but also national executive elec-
tions. He said he decided to tender
his resignation now because there
was need for the party to stabilise
itself after the election defeat, with
him being the only COP member who
was re-elected on September 7.
He said despite criticisms by some
while he was in the PP government,
he remained to ensure the then gov-
ernment remained intact.
Ramadhar said he was "not abdi-
cating my responsibility to my party
or the country and therefore the COP
will have a voice in the Parliament."
He also said the COP "needed some
level of change."
Responding to claims from many
that he was responsible for the party's
defeat at the polls, Ramadhar said,
"If that is so I will take that respon-
He said, however, the last govern-
ment did "tremendous good" during
its term despite claims of corruption.
He said there has been no evidence
to support those claims.
Ramadhar said he did not have the
full support of many of the COP
membership. "It was a huge disap-
pointment for me to see my party
and members before the (Sept 7) elec-
tions campaigning for and with the
PNM and celebrating on election night
at Balisier House and calling them-
He said he was not prepared to
endorse any candidate for the position
of political leader.
'Blame me for
St Augustine MP Prakash
members of the media
during a press conference
at the Parliament building,
Tower D, International
PHOTO: NICOLE DRAYTON
After his life deteriorated
because of drug abuse to the point
where villagers considered him a
"madman," David King s tragic life
ended when he was gunned down
near his La Brea home yesterday
King, 32, of Short Street, Three
Hands, was found dead in a track
leading to his home around 7.30
am by residents minutes after they
heard gunshots. The incident took
place near an area commonly
referred to as the "mall," but his
killer was able to get away unseen.
Police have not yet established
a clear motive for his murder but
suspect that it may be drug related.
While King was not known to be
a dealer, residents said he was a
cocaine addict who would some-
times walk the road screaming.
At her Gonzales home yesterday,
his sister Carol King said her brother
worked on the Union Industrial
Estate in Vessigny years ago and
although she did not know what
he was employed as, she said he
made a good living. However, he
became hooked on marijuana, and
when he progressed to other drugs
his life took a dreadful turn.
She said he had not worked for
two years and the last known job
he had was as a temporary Unem-
ployment Relief Programme (URP)
worker in Vessigny. She said their
mother and brother would try to
take him to the hospital to get help
but he often became impatient
waiting and never followed
Carol said it was a while since
she saw King and then she got a
phone call yesterday saying that
he had been shot in a track.
"We don't know what happened.
A friend of the family called this
morning and told us he was shot.
My mother's sister, who lives right
in front of him, came down here
and told my mom what she heard
happened. We heard that someone
pointed a gun at him and he tried
to grabbed it, but I don't know if
that is the truth.
"He had plenty trips in and out
of jail. With the drugs, he broke a
man's windscreen, he was beat up
and fell out with another man. He
used to work by the smelter and
then started to smoke weed and
progressed to other stuff so he was
not too normal," Carol said.
The latest killing has taken the
murder toll to 68 in 50 days.
Drug addict shot dead in La Brea
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