Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 3rd 2014 Contents A13
Thursday, July 3, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
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It is the intention of CUNA
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Re-elected Congress of the
People (COP) leader Prakash
Ramadhar says the party is
still a force to be reckoned on
the political landscape even
though political analysts sug-
gested that the poor voter
turnout at Sunday s leadership
election was an indication that
the COP is on its last legs.
Ramadhar, who captured
1,430 votes out of 2,500 to retain
the party s leadership, told the
T&T Guardian on Tuesday:
"Our death has been highly
exaggerated over time but we
have always proven our critics
On Tuesday, political analysts
Dr Winford James and Dr Bish-
nu Ragoonath suggested that
the COP was losing membership
and withering away.
In fact, the analysts shared
the view that the party s mem-
bership voiced its dissatisfaction
with the COP by withholding
The Legal Affairs Minister
dismissed the suggestions. He
said the death of the COP has
been announced many times
"This is just another addition
to that long list of inaccurate
announcements. Of course, the
party has problems. Now that
the elections are over, I hope
everyone recognises that we
need to work together to restore
and to build the support of the
COP," he added.
Ramadhar admitted that there
was some disappointment with-
in the membership of the party.
However, he said, as leader
he would champion the thrust
to rebuild the COP.
"We may have become unat-
tractive in this time for numer-
ous reasons and we have to
return to the work that made
the COP extremely popular from
"I am committed to that and
I have begun that work already
and we will continue it with the
work on the ground and in the
streets," Ramadhar contended.
He said the party would begin
its campaign to regain its mem-
bership on Saturday when he,
along with other COP execu-
tives, tour the Tunapuna market
and meet with constituents.
"We will continue many other
activities to reconnect and
restore the COP to a better
place. We have no choice, we
have no alternative but to do
the work. The time for talk is
done, now is the time for walk
and work," Ramadhar said.
The COP leader said the poor
voter turnout was a concern for
him. He admitted it did not
come as a surprise after all the
party had undergone since 2010.
He added: "And then in the
last two or three years the schiz-
ophrenia that ascended the party
and the perpetual attacks from
inside the party, the latest of
course being the campaign itself,
left much to be desired. The
disappointment that is felt by
COP sympathisers and support-
ers is natural."
Ramadhar said he had
accepted that the party had spo-
ken and the COP needed to
continue in the coalition.
"However, the arrangements
and the relationship (in the
coalition) has got to be improved
and I am committed to doing
that if others are not. The party
must embrace the reality of
opposition and do the things
necessary to lift us," he said.
He added the COP would
return to the "successful recipe
of activism that was the
lifeblood of the party in 2007
He hoped others would have
risen to the challenge "but now
as political leader it is my duty
to do the things that are nec-
essary and I hope all will par-
ticipate in it."
Ramadhar said he was not
aware of the irregularities that
were highlighted by leadership
contender Carolyn Seepersad-
He said he was happy there
was an "awakening" that there
was a need to fix the party s
Also, he added, the number
of complaints that the party
received from voters who cast
their ballots in previous elections
but were not allowed to vote on
Sunday, was "troubling."
A High Court judge has refused to grant
an injunction to a farmer from Guave Road,
Chaguaramas, who was attempting to stop
road development works which he says
would block access to his farm.
In giving the decision in the Port-of-Spain
High Court on Monday, Justice Ronnie
Boodoosingh said the farmer, Philogene St
Martin, a member of the Guave Road Farmers
Association, had failed to convince him on
the merits of the injunction.
Boodoosingh said St Martin was unable to
establish the boundaries of his land dispute
with the Chaguaramas Development Author-
ity (CDA) as well as show the court crop
He also felt that the CDA initiated the
roadworks in its effort to develop the area
of the western peninsula under its control
which would be prejudiced by the injunction.
In a press release sent yesterday, CDA s
chief executive Joycelin Hargreaves said the
judgment vindicated her organisation.
"The judgment also gives the CDA the all-
clear to move forward with its plans to devel-
op Chaguaramas to create jobs and oppor-
tunities for the benefit of all the people of
T&T, not just the few who have been holding
out in the hope of getting a big payday from
the authority," Hargreaves said.
Despite the CDA s legal victory, it has
offered to pay St Martin a stipend for loss
of his earnings while he continues his legal
battle with it over ownership of the land.
She noted while the CDA was willing to
work with anyone who wished to cultivate
land in Chaguaramas, it was aware that there
were some individuals who were engaged in
"land grabbing" at the expense of the public
"All our surveys of the Guave Road area
show no real farming has been taking place
in the area for many years and opportunists
took up a land-grabbing strategy immediately
after our plans for developing Chaguaramas
were made public," Hargreaves said.
She said the road rehabilitation project was
aimed at reducing traffic flowing in and out
of Chaguaramas by widening the road while
adding parking facilities as well as a cycling
and a jogging track.
Once completed the project will also divert
traffic away from Williams Bay by trans-
forming it into a pedestrian zone.
Farmer's bid to
block CDA fails
Re-elected political leader on victory
COP still a force to
be reckoned with
Pelicans roost on a fishing vessel at Kings Wharf, San Fernando on Tuesday. PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA
BIRDS OF A FEATHER
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