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Dookeran: If Carolyn were to win COP leadership race...

I’ll contest 2015 general election

By Carla Bridglal

If Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan were to win today’s Congress of the People internal election for political leader, then the party’s founder Winston Dookeran will “do the impossible” and offer himself to contest a sixth general election next year.

“Carolyn if you continue this way and when you win the election, you will get me to do the impossible. That is, to fight my sixth election come 2015. That will be history for a person, but it will be a savior for a nation, if you were able to do that,” Dookeran told the crowd at a COP public meeting in Tunapuna Friday night.

He continued his glowing endorsement of Seepersad-Bachan, saying she was growing in confidence as a politician, and this was empowering her for the people.

“This power doesn’t come out of the Constitution of the country, but it comes out of the power of the people. And I sense what is happening is that she is gaining this confidence because she is sensing that the people are willing (to help her) lead this party forward,” he said.

Seepersad-Bachan will be running against current political leader Prakash Ramadhar and Arts and Multiculturalism Minister Dr Lincoln Douglas.

“I am ready to take on the battle with Carolyn and the new team that will emerge, so that we can do what we did in 2007, where in 10 months we took the party, started from nothing, and had 150,000 votes registered with that election,” said Dookeran.

Dookeran said the current People’s Partnership coalition will be “far more secure” with a strong COP than a weak COP.

“I am very sad we see politics of fear being generated. They are trying to create fear in people’s mind, fear that a coalition would be at risk if this candidate wins,” he said.

After 30 years as an active politician, Dookeran said he had some credentials to speak about politics, and “politics itself is in need of repair in the country”.

Politics is about engaging the people, responding to their trust, generating for them the platforms and the policy that would work in their benefit, with a certain amount of humility and a lot of sincerity, he said, but today in local politics there were a lot of games, and confrontation with the ideals of good governance.

For the COP, he said, there is a sacred duty to offer a political hope to the next set of voters in Trinidad and Tobago. “

“What went through my mind when this internal elections began was if we wither away, new voters in this country will have no political home. So we are inspired by the search to serve that young generation—that new set of people who are now willing to reengage in the country’s politics. They will only do so if they see a sense of nobility of cause, sincerity of purpose and people who they can trust. That is what motivated me to come out from the ‘political hammock’,” he said.

He hit back at critics within the party who claimed he was dividing it by endorsing Seepersad-Bachan.

“Some of them in that camp have only started to wear their white shirts recently, and they haven’t taken it off to wash as yet. But they are talking and castigating me all over the place saying that the former leader has divided the party by endorsing Carolyn. I have done it now, I will do it again, and now I am convinced that I have done the right thing by endorsing Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan to be our leader.

What motivated me was to bring the party back alive, because I know one day would come that we would be the tallest political tree in Trinidad and Tobago. I had to make a choice. So the choice you are facing is whether you will literally surrender or whether you will stand up for what you know is right,” he said.
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