Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 26th 2013 Contents GAIL ALEXANDER
Top level COP members have described
as "treasonous" the recent "secret" Gran
Couva meeting which MSJ leader David
Abdulah held with several of their national
executive officials, constituency chairmen
and several high-profile party personalities,
including leading attorney Vernon de Lima,
on the state of T&T.
Abdulah said yesterday the three-hour
meeting two Sundays ago was not about
poaching COP members but concerned the
country and governance issues. He said COP
issues were also raised.
Abdulah said no PNM members were
Those who attended the meeting agreed
to continue dialogue Abdulah said.
Among the COP members who attended
the meeting, held at a private residence,
were former COP vice chairman De Lima,
former deputy leader Robert Mayers, former
minister Mary King, former ambassador
Laila Valere, constituency chairmen and
several executive members.
COP members who attended told the
T&T Guardian concerns were specifically
expressed about the COP's internal state
and its leadership.
The COP subsequently called a special
national executive meeting last Friday to
discuss the Gran Couva meeting.
But yesterday COP chairman Carolyn
Seepersad-Bachan declined comment when
asked if the COP meeting last Friday was
to discuss the Gran Couva caucus.
She said it was to discuss several issues,
including one involving COP MP Anil
Roberts. She declined giving details, saying
executive deliberations were not for public
However other COP executive officials
said the Gran Couva meeting, which was
not exactly "secret", was the focus of the
party's executive discussions last Friday and
they were particularly upset that about five
executive members had accepted Abdulah's
Sources said top COP members had
expressed very different views on the sit-
uation and some were uncertain anything
could be done about their members attend-
ing the Gran Couva meeting, conceding it
was yet another example of problems in
MSJ leader Abdulah said: "I had merely
invited a number of citizens, many of whom
are from the COP, but not necessarily all,
to the meeting to discuss the state of T&T.
Some COP persons who were invited told
"They came at my invitation but it was
not an MSJ meeting and it was an informal
gathering. I didn't wear my hat as MJS
"People had strong views on the poor
state of governance in T&T and the PP's
failure to deliver on important commitments
concerning governance, corruption, account-
ability and so on.
"There was a lot of sharing on those
issues by people. I spoke but the majority
of contributions came from others."
Abdulah, who confirmed COP "internal
business" arose, said members expressed
strong views about their party.
"But not on my insistence. I said it was
not part of what I would called people for
but people expressed views about governance
and COP is part of the PP governance
framework," he added.
Abdulah said people were looking at what
they should do to try to deal with governance
"There were no decisions but at the end
there was consensus to continue the dialogue
though no special date and time was given,"
One Gran Couva participant, economist
Mary King, said: "It was not an MSJ meet-
ing, it was just a conversation. COP people
have had conversations for years on all kinds
of issue with officials of all kinds of NGOs
"This meeting was called by David to get
views on whether we are going in the right
or wrong direction on issues of governance
and issues of leadership also arose. Some
concerns were voiced about current lead-
Asked if she would attend another such
meeting with Abdulah, King said: "It
depends on what's on the agenda. I'm very
concerned about our country, so yes, if
there's another, I will go."
De Lima said he just "sat and listened"
at the Gran Couva meeting. Admitting he
was very interested, he said if invited again
he would attend.
Valere said: "I didn't know what it was
about but Vernon de Lima invited me and
I went to support him on the recent issue
where he was denied right of reply on a
"It was a very productive meeting. People
who may have felt hopeless or helpless came
out to see where we go from here. Yes, I'd
attend another to try to find a solution to
the predicament we are in."
Anil issue still open
The COP matter concerning member
Anil Roberts is still open, says COP chairman
Its executive had invited Roberts to attend
a meeting last Friday to discuss issues involv-
ing the Integrity Commission.
Roberts subsequently said there was no
such issue and he was not attending the
Seepersad-Bachan said despite Robert's
non-appearance last Friday the issue was
discussed but no decision was made and
the COP was waiting on Roberts.
She said the matter was still open and
COP would issue a public statement on it
in due course.
Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
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Tuesday, March 26, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
COP members on secret meeting with Abdulah:
for 25th MARCH, 2013
From Page A1
But 50th Anniversary of Independence Calypso
Monarch Roderick "Chucky" Gordon said: "I would
agree with the point of dancehall and hip-hop
music. A lot of the topics and areas dealt with in
dancehall and hip-hop speak to the objectification
of women, the value of money and materialism.
Crime is a by-product of the love of money so
these music forms tend to influence the psyche of
the young people listening to them--- topics based
on sex, money, clothes, cars and women.
"I disagree, though, that soca music falls within
this ambit as this music deals primarily with the
festival that is Carnival. You may have songs with
sexual connotations, but that is what we've always
had in calypso music. So, would you say as well
that calypso of the 60s-80s influenced crime?
"If one wishes to find a link between music and
crime, one needs to look at the development of the
popular urban market, from the early 90s. The
advent of the urban music caused young people to
be influenced by hip-hop and rap music. Youth
was also exposed to, and influenced by cable tel-
evision. It was from there one saw the lack of love
and depreciation of soca and calypso music."
National Calypso Monarch 2011 Duane O'Connor
said: "I wouldn't say calypso or soca influences
criminal behaviour in young people. Most of the
soca music speaks about love and relationships. It
is a totally out of place, and an erroneous statement
to link the message of soca music to that expressed
in dancehall and rap music, and the music influ-
encing criminal behaviour.
"In the old days, people like Sparrow and Duke
would sing spicy calypsoes, cleverly using double
entendre. Artistes like SuperBlue, Machel (Montano),
Destra and Denise Belfon have all only sung about
love. Look at SuperBlue this year. His song is a
sweet party song that has nothing to do with vio-
lence. For Carnival I watched my son and about
300 children under 11 years old just jumping and
screaming, and enjoying Fantastic Friday. You tell
me what part of that is encouraging violence.
"Other music genres like rap or hip-hop do induce
violent thoughts and action, and we definitely don't
have none of that in our soca music." ---With report-
ing by Peter Ray Blood
speaks of love
It was treasonous
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