Stalin on board: Former COP political leader Winston Dookeran, right, greets veteran calypsonian Black Stalin during the party's fund-raising Christmas dinner on Sunday night at Omardeen's Building, San Fernando. —Photo: DEXTER PHILIP

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Carolyn mum on PM's blackmail talk

By Susan Mohammed susan.mohammed@trinidadexpress.com

CHAIRMAN of the Congress of the People (COP) Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan has declined comment on Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar's statement that members within the People's Partnership were engaging in conduct that amounted to blackmail of her leadership of the Government.

Speaking with reporters at the COP's annual Christmas dinner at Imami's Hall at Omardeen Building, San Fernando, Seepersad-Bachan said that Persad-Bissessar was entitled to her opinion.

"I have no comment on the Prime Minister's statements", said the COP chairman. "She made it at a UNC (United National Congress) function and those will be dealt with in time. The political leader has spoken and everyone is entitled to their own opinion."

On Saturday night, addressing a UNC meeting at Rienzi Complex, Couva, Persad-Bissessar said she was sometimes made to bear "pains of insults, the stress of threats, and sometimes what amounts to blackmail of my leadership".

The comments came two days after Minister of Foreign Affairs and former COP political leader Winston Dookeran issued a strongly-worded statement in which he called on Persad-Bissessar to show compassion and compromise in the hunger strike of environmentalist and leader of the Highway Re-Route Movement Dr Wayne Kublalsingh.

On Sunday night, Seepersad-Bachan said the work of the COP would continue and the party was not deterred.

"There is a sense of optimism and idealism in the COP and the politics and that should not deter us from these works that we have to do. There are people who give us the courage and strength to do what we have to do."

Seepersad-Bachan, addressing the audience, said the COP was "the conscience of the nation".

"There will be many more challenges in and out of Cabinet, more questions about out role in national politics, more decisions based on conscience and not convenience, and more challenges and even temptations that will test our resolve. For the moment we are an inconvenient truth, but our path is clear," she said.

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