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COP: No disciplinary action planned against Seepersad-Bachan

CONGRESS of the People (COP) deputy leader Dr Anirudh Mahabir yesterday denied that the party is considering harsh action against party chairman Dr Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan for her views on last week's Tobago House of Assembly (THA) election.

The Saturday Express reported at the weekend that Seepersad-Bachan had found herself in "hot water" with the People's Partnership upper ranks for publicly stating that the ruling coalition lost the THA election because the Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP), a coalition member, failed to maintain its identity.

Seepersad-Bachan's opinion and her public declaration of it did not sit well with the PP executive, a source said, and a special meeting was convened last Friday to discuss possible disciplinary action. The meeting was confirmed by Seepersad-Bachan Friday but she declined further comment.

COP leader Prakash Ramadhar also confirmed the meeting but denied that the party's chairman was to be reprimanded.

He said then the meeting was to discuss a way forward post-THA elections.

Ramadhar also declined to comment further on Seepersad-Bachan, saying he needed "all the facts".

Ramadhar and Seepersad-Bachan could not be reached yesterday.

Mahabir, in a press statement, said the party had noted Saturday's story with "serious concern".

"The story suggested that the COP national executive called a meeting to discuss statements made by its chairman on the outcome of the recent Tobago House of Assembly (THA) elections, and that the COP chairman was facing disciplinary action for speaking out of sync with the Partnership's sentiment," Mahabir stated.

"This story is grossly inaccurate and misleading. This is indeed regrettable."

Mahabir said the COP's national executive met instead to conduct a thorough assessment of the THA elections, the outcome and the implications of the results for the party.

"All members of the executive contributed to this in-depth analysis," he stated.

"The national executive began a discussion on plans for the rest of 2013, details of which will be made public as they are decided by the appropriate bodies of the COP. No disciplinary action against anyone formed any part of the executive's agenda."

Mahabir further said the party wants to see race-based politics relegated to the past.

A race debate had dogged the THA election following statements by People's National Movement (PNM) candidate Hilton Sandy that a "ship from Calcutta" was waiting to be launched. Sandy was inferring an intended land-grab by members and supporters of the People's Partnership.

"The COP reiterates its belief that race-based politics must be relegated to the past," Mahabir stated.

"The COP through its Rich Heritage Series, its 'Run the Race' initiative and numerous statements made by our political leader and membership has demonstrated that we will promote racial and cultural understanding and inclusiveness in our young and growing nation.  

"The COP urges that all political parties must now take up an issues-based and nation-centred approach to our governance and our politics.The national executive remains firmly united behind our political leader and chairman in their leadership in this direction." —See Page 11

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