THE Congress of the People (COP) is currently a “mere shadow” of its former self and the membership is now faced with the choice of either remaining to cower in fear or deciding to ignite pride, founder Winston Dookeran has said.
Dookeran believes Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan is the one to ignite pride into the party.
Dookeran yesterday held a news conference at the COP Flagship House, Broome Street, St Clair, to again endorse Seepersad-Bachan in her quest to become the party’s political leader at next Sunday’s internal election.
After returning to the country over the weekend, Dookeran yesterday decided to publicly endorse Seepersad-Bachan again in person and assured it was not a “public relations gimmick”.
Dookeran said he believes the COP has strayed from its original tenets.
“I believe the situation of the politics of our country demands that we start another page in this uphill struggle to build a political party in the post-Independence period of our society’s history, this we started in earnest some eight years ago,” Dookeran said.
“Today we are indeed a mere shadow of the expectations and the energy that captured this nation,” he said.
Dookeran said he believes both he and current political leader Prakash Ramadhar have had their chance to lead the COP and it is “Carolyn’s time now”.
“I had my time, Prakash Ramadhar has had his say now I believe Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan must have her turn. This change is essential because we cannot allow the party to wither away. We must give it a new sense of resurgence so that the energy and expectations which led us to where we were could at least start again,” he said.
Dookeran said changing a leader is not something the party should be afraid of.
He believes Seepersad-Bachan will unite the COP.
He said his endorsement of Seepersad-Bachan was “no indictment on anyone else but now it is Carolyn’s turn”.
“What I know of Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan is that she cannot be bought,” Dookeran said.
Dookeran said he would not silenced by critics questioning his decision to endorse Seepersad-Bachan.
“I could not understand why people would not allow me the right to make my decision with respect to who I support, it is a fundamental right we all have and for those who have gone on the air trying to degrade my own position, I could never understand that it is my right to do so but I do so for a higher purpose and I am not going to be silenced,” Dookeran said.