Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 22nd 2014 Contents A11
June 22, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
Four-way fight for COP leadership
Why should COP members vote for you as
political leader of the party?
Why should they vote for me? Because I am
resolute in my position which at all times adhered
to the COP s philosophies, principles and values.
They ( COP members) know that I can compromise
and I will in the country s interest.
I will ensure that all our representatives---MPS,
councillors, appointees to state boards---adhere to
our political code of conduct and the principles
declared in our People s Charter which include
objectivity, integrity, accountability, meritocracy,
openness, honesty and dialogue.
Has the COP lost its credibility as the country s
third political force?
A spirit never fades away. Who is this third force?
An example is the 149,000 we got in 2007 evenly
distributed throughout T&T, a diverse group of
people comprising different ethnicities, religious
groupings, character, age, cultures, and gender as
well. They believe in nationhood and the politics
of patriotism which they know is indispensable to
governance in the 21st century.
Do you honestly believe the COP is a subsidiary
of the United National Congress?
There is a perception by our supporters and
members that we have become a subsidiary of the
UNC. The new political leader, by his or her actions,
must change the direction of this party to remove
this perception, and this is why we must reestablish
our identity making us distinguishable from any
other party. Strong identities of individual parties
make a strong coalition government.
Two of the candidates vying for this position
are claiming the COP was disrespected by the
Prime Minister s position on Anil Roberts. Should
they remain in the PP Cabinet?
Before asking the question, we must ask whether
it can be solved. The issue of disrespect of partners
within the partnership can be solved by new terms
of engagement. The Fyzabad Accord was never
fleshed out to provide the subsidiary agreements
or to facilitate clear and definitive mechanisms for
engagements, giving rise to disrespect between
The COP has no plums to offer anyone, why
should you want to lead the party in such a sce-
Having plums to offer is not the COP way, it is
not about allocating resources to supporters of the
party, and we will continue to encourage compet-
itive, fair, and merit-based systems for the allocation
of state resources. This will ensure fair and equitable
distribution of our resources.
What s your immediate priority if you should
win the June 29 polls?
There can be no government in which the COP
could be a part of without proportional represen-
tation, campaign finance reform, and the allocation
of seats for the party which must be negotiated
before the next general election in 2015.
In terms of the COP, we are going to re-establish
the ground-up approach, and our policy teams
must also be re-established to initiate dialogue
with civil society and other interest groups if we
are going to represent the very much alive and
vibrant third force.
Mr Foster, why should the Con-
gress of the People membership
vote for you as the political leader
of the party?
If they really want the dreams and
aspirations they had four years ago
to be realised, we have no other
choice. It is necessary that a COP
party has a leader where the trust,
respect and independence of the
party could be restored. I am quite
certain, that generally speaking, the
nation as a whole has been saying
the COP is no longer relevant.
And because of that, our party is
too important, the fundamental
principles of the party, the new pol-
itics that Mr Dookeran had spoken
about four years ago, I think that
they are still dreams and aspirations
of many of our supporters and the
nation as a whole.
Has the COP lost its credibility
as the country s third political
Yes it has. It has. The nice thing
about it is that all is not lost. As I
just said, one of the reasons for Rufus
Foster entering the political arena is
to restore the image of the COP, to
bring the trust and the respect that
people once had for the COP and,
of course, for the COP to once again
have its own independence.
Do you honestly believe the COP
is a subsidiary of the United
It is clear because of the weak
leadership by Mr Ramadhar, either
by his action or inactions, that one
sees the COP as losing its identity.
He seems to be supporting every
single thing that this Government
does, even though I would haste to
say they have achieved considerably,
they have done fairly well...But then
there are other areas in which the
perception by the nation, especially
when Mr Warner spoke about the
cabal, and for too many of the cit-
izens this is real. These things need
to be addressed.
Two of the candidates vying for
this position are claiming that the
COP was disrespected by the Prime
Minister s position on Anil Roberts.
Do you think they should resign
from the PP Government as a mat-
ter of principle?
Well, you see, I mean that should
be a question for them, and they are
people who have strong views about
their convictions and what they
The COP has no plums to offer
anybody, why should you want to
lead the party in this scenario?
What we have is our integrity. It
is true that as far as material things
go, even in government, it would
seem as though we do not have any-
thing to offer anyone...It is very dif-
ficult for those who did not get any-
thing to have those fellows come out
and say they supporting the COP.
What s your immediate priority
if you should win the June 29 polls?
Getting back to the grassroots of
the COP, showing them that at least
we really care about them, try to
empower them, making them feel
they are part of the decision-making
process of the party.
Continues on Page A14
'COP has lost
...but all is not lost---Foster
Seepersad-Bachan: I'm resolute
Continues from Page A10
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