Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 1st 2014 Contents A11
Tuesday, July 1, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
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While defeated Congress of the Peo-
ple (COP) leadership challenger Carolyn
Seepersad-Bachan is accepting Sunday s
election results, her team has written
the party s election commission on
alleged irregularities in the exercise.
Seepersad-Bachan indicated this yes-
terday, adding, "Ive congratulated Prakash
(Ramadhar) on his victory but we did
express concerns and have written COP s
election commission on matters on the
day of the election and before. We ve
accepted the results but must ensure
there is integrity in the electoral process,"
she said in a telephone interview.
Other members of her team noted
concerns about a supplemental voter s
list emerging on Sunday, breach of elec-
tion rules by some on advertising and
Seepersad-Bachan said, "We fought
the good fight ... I thank all my team
member and supporters, and we stood
by principles, but sometimes it s better
to lose than violate principles and win."
Saying she remained committed to
COP principles, Seepersad-Bachan dis-
missed rumours that she, former leader
Winston Dookeran, who supported her
candidacy, and rival Lincoln Douglas
planned to shift from their COP seats in
Parliament to the backbench - behind
the Opposition - next to the Independent
Liberal Party s Jack Warner.
Asked if she d work with Ramadhar,
she said, "I worked with him. A lot of
things were said on the campaign trail
so that s to be determined. He s said he
wants a new executive and that s his
On if Ramadhar could revive COP s
fortunes, she said, "I don t know. I imag-
ine he d articulate his thrust, but the
voter turnout was very disappointing
and must be analysed."
Ramadhar was in a meeting and Dook-
eran was not in office, his secretariat
But former public service head Regi-
nald Dumas said while he expects
Ramadhar and Seepersad-Bachan to give
the impression they re working together,
"on the face of it, there seems to be a
fair amount of bad blood between the
two and they seem to have different per-
spectives on their roles or what should
be the COP s role in the PP coalition."
Dumas added, "I can t believe those
differences will be healed just like that,
so I d be very surprised if there isn t
continuing tensions between the two.
She expressed sentiments about the list
on voting day so I expect she s enquired
into that also."
Dumas also didn t think Ramadhar
could revive COP s fortunes.
"He s a nice fellow and I like him, but
my impression over time is he waffles a
bit too much politically and I don t know
if that s good for his party and I can t
see the party taking off this late in the
"You can also have a rift between him
and party founder Winston Dookeran,
The Independent Liberal Party (ILP) is interested
in alliances with the Congress of the People led by
Prakash Ramadhar, says ILP leader Lyndira Oudit.
Oudit voiced the view
yesterday after last Sun-
day s COP election, when
Ramadhar retained the
She said, "Of course,
we believe in alliances of
parties and pursue
alliances with every party
"What s required for T&T is coalition of people
through representation---no one party has the answer.
We sent our support in terms of COP s elections and
our congratulations to the leader after the exercise."
ILP founder Jack Warner, like Oudit, favours alliances
which may affect his party and the political landscape
en route to the 2015 general election.
At last Saturday s ILP first anniversary dinner, which
featured Oudit giving the main address, along with
remarks by Warner, former Independent senator Rev
Daniel Teelucksingh, delivering the sermon, told the
ILP audience the question of morality in political man-
agement could not be evaded by any party and the
public wasn t willing to allow politicians to have a
morality of their own and get away with it. He said
society didn t prefer "shades of truth or variety in
honesty, integrity and transparency."
Oudit told the T&T Guardian last week that the
ILP had about 41,000 members listed---a healthy figure
for a one-year-old party, she felt. The party received
102, 918 votes in 2013 local government polls.
On councillor Faiqq Mohammed s May PP platform
appearance, she said he was an ILP member, but one
couldn t force people to decide on another party. "One
can only position yourself and people will choose."
She believes the ILP s new thrust will be welcomed
by those who "a few weeks ago had a sense of hope-
lessness" and couldn t choose from among the two
On the ILP s push for alliances with others, including
the PNM, she said sometimes a party that entered
government didn t have the majority of support.
"Local government results showed some people
uninterested in the PNM, UNC or COP," she said,
adding that the ILP was building, since it recognised
it lacked complete support.
Oudit declined to give details of whether discussions
had been with the PNM or UNC, save: "There have
been talks informally and privately...we always speak
to people in UNC, but it hasn t been executive to
On another matter, in the Integrity Commission s
2013 report, laid in Parliament, chairman Ken Gordon
said he d written to the President asking him to appoint
a tribunal under Section 15 of the Integrity in Public
Life Act, over the declarations of income and assets.
Four months after the request, in April, Gordon
said the commission awaited the President s response.
Gordon said the commission had called on the President
to appoint a tribunal to investigate one person who
failed to comply with the Integrity in Public Life Act.
Yesterday, an Integrity official said there was no
Sources explained that the commission had also
requested another entity to examine issues concerning
Section 11-8 of the Integrity Act.
On Gordon s request, the President s House infor-
mation officer says, "There were two requests made
by the Integrity Commission.
"In the light of well-established legal authorities,
there are matters of due process and natural justice
that have been engaging the attention of the President.
The President has since been in receipt of legal opinions
and a decision on the issue will shortly be forthcom-
How that may affect the landscape remains to
More changes on
Carolyn queries election irregularities but...
Better to lose than violate principles
who made it clear he felt Carolyn should lead.
"So there may be tensions at that level and COP has
split in a way I m not sure it can recover in the next
year for general elections. People in the election basically
thumbed their noses at Dookeran and said they didn t
want him so the next thing to do is not run again for
Dumas said the low 2,500 turnout showed people s
disenchantment with the party.
"What is the interest of members in COP s welfare
if that number turned out? If you re choosing a party
leader and have differences among contenders, it suggests
people aren t interested in the party."
Analyst Dr Bishnu Ragoonath doesn t expect Ramad-
har and Seepersad-Bachan to work together either.
"I think Ramadhar will push for new party executive
elections and new team. If Carolyn holds to her word
she ll resign as chairman and let the vice chairman
But he didn t think Seepersad-Bachan would challenge
Asked if the COP will be able to revive fortunes
under Ramadhar, he replied, "Does the party have any
On whether low turnout was a sign the party is
moribund, Ragoonath said, "Low turnout demonstrates
COP has to review its membership listing. Once Kamla
Persad-Bissessar became UNC leader many COP people
returned to the UNC, although they may not have
relinquished COP membership. The turnout also
demonstrates former leader Winston Dookeran and
party founding fathers like Alloy Lequay no longer hold
Minister of Agriculture Devant Maharaj, left, congratulates Prakash Ramadhar as supporters
look on, moments after Ramadhar was declared winner of the party's internal election at
Gaston Court, Chaguanas, on Sunday. PHOTO: SHASTRI BOODAN
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