BROTHER vs BROTHER
Party members call on COP leader to resign after election loss
by Anna Ramdass email@example.com
The brother of Congress of the People (COP) leader Prakash Ramadhar yesterday renewed his call on the COP leader to resign and for the party to remove itself from the People’s Partnership.
Kishore Ramadhar, COP secretary for education and research, laid blame on his brother for the COP’s defeat at the local government elections and for destroying the party and everything it stood for in terms of principles.
Ramadhar (K) yesterday gave the media a copy of a motion which calls on Ramadhar and the entire COP executive to resign within seven days, having accepted full responsibility for the COP’s failure at the election.
The motion calls for an interim management committee to be established to manage the party until fresh COP internal elections take place.
This is the second time Ramadhar’s brother has moved a motion for his removal. He did so in July this year but it was defeated.
At a news conference yesterday at the COP Flagship House, St Clair, Ramadhar (K), together with COP members Rudolph Hanamji, chairman of the COP Diego Martin West Council; Satu Ann Ramcharan, COP founding member; Kirt Sinnette, secretary for field operations and Rufus Foster, COP chairman for the Arouca Maloney constituency council collectively said Ramadhar was to blame for the demise of the party and he (Ramadhar) was more concerned about holding on to power than the interest of the COP members.
Ramadhar (K) said the results of the local government elections where the COP failed to win any of the corporations it contested were the “final straw”.
“The much bigger problem is the fact that by staying in the Partnership we have abandoned our principles and broken our word to the people of Trinidad and Tobago,” said Ramadhar (K).
He said under Ramadhar’s leadership, the COP has gone further downhill as he keeps taking the decision to stay in the Partnership and comply with the “dictates of the UNC” rather than attend to the needs of the COP.
“Principles are more important than power,” said Ramadhar (K), adding that there was still time to salvage the COP as long as there were law-abiding citizens who stand for the party’s principles.
Foster minced no words in expressing his dissatisfaction with Ramadhar’s leadership and said Ramadhar would prove whether he was a “UNC agent” or not by the way he treats with the motion.
“....We all know that human beings like to hold on to power but I think in the wisdom of everything and the scenario that faces the party right now, I think that if the leader is true to the ideals and the philosophy of the COP then he would do the honourable thing and not lead us into any problematic situation,” said Foster.
He said the COP was strong in 2010 and now the majority of its membership were “dormant”.
“You can say (Winston) Dookeran build the party and in the case of the present political leader he is destroying the party and hence the reason I question whether he’s truly a COP member or an agent of the UNC,” he said.
Sinnette said if Ramadhar and the party executive refuse to heed the call of the motion, he will resign from the COP.
He said COP former leader Dookeran planted the COP seed but there were now persons who are uprooting this plant for their own interest.
Asked if it was specifically poor leadership that led to the COP’s defeat at the polls, he responded, “Yes, it is poor leadership because our leader refused to operate on our fundamental belief and refused to listen to the people on the ground.”
Ramcharan said there were “many instances” in the past where the COP should have left the Partnership.
She said the issue surrounding former COP member Marlene Coudray joining ranks with the UNC was one instance that showed that the Partnership had broken down.
“There was no partnership, they did not respect our independence, they did not respect our membership, they did not respect our supporters,” she said.
The Section 34 debacle, she said, was another issue that should have led the COP to leave the coalition.
“In fact, it was an executive decision taken by the Congress of the People that the six Parliamentarians should have left, that decision was overturned unilaterally on the day after that decision,” she said.
Ramcharan accused Ramadhar of usurping a “unilateral exercise of power” for his own comfort and benefit.
She added that the firetruck scandal where Cabinet agreed to pay $6.8 million to have a damaged fire truck that cost some $2 million removed and towed was another instance where the COP should have walked away from the Government.
She said this decision was against everything the COP stood for in terms of good governance and principles.
“There are a lot of other instances where they needed to leave this Partnership,’’ she added.
Ramcharan said further that there were COP members who were beneficiaries of contracts from Government which compromised their ability to negotiate fairly on behalf of the COP.
Hanamji said there must be a referendum on the COP and the membership must decide what is the next move and whether it remains in the coalition led by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
In 2010, the People’s Partnership coalition won 11 of the 14 municipal corporations at the local government elections.
The COP, coalition member, had control of the Arima Borough Corporation and the San Fernando City Corporation.
In Monday’s local government elections, the COP contested the corporations of Port of Spain, Arima, Diego Martin, Tunapuna/Piarco and San Fernando. The party failed to win as the People’s National Movement (PNM) was victorious in all.
The only corporation where the COP was able to secure seats was in Tunapuna/Piarco where it won three electoral districts with 11 going to the PNM and one to the Independent Liberal Party (ILP).