FORMER political leader of the Congress of the People Winston Dookeran today responded to calls by party members to offer himself as a candidate to contest the leadership of the party in this month's internal election. Dookeran has turned down the request, and said that Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan was the most suitable candidate to rebuild the party. Dookeran said he was prepared to offer himself as a candidate for chairman of the party, a position now held by Seepersad-Bachan.
The following is the statement of Winston Dookeran -
There has been growing calls from the membership, and I expect some of the national community, for the COP to return to its original promise when it was formed. There also have been appeals by some of the membership for my return as Political Leader to lead the rebuilding of the Party. This is a matter I have given much thought to and concluded that recycling leaders is not the answer.
I am of the view that rebuilding of the identity of the COP must come from those younger members who both understand and are committed to the principles and values of the COP. In my opinion, we should look to encourage prospects with demonstrated quality of leadership who can serve in the best interests of the nation first and the Party second. Politics should be about nation-building which requires resilient political parties that can endure over time.
We should be looking to persons such as Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan who has an impressive track record as an exemplar of the COP. Ms Seepersad-Bachan coordinated the creation of the COP manifesto of 2007 chaired by myself and the late Roy Boyke. She chaired the revision of the 2010 manifesto with input from NJAC's Aiyegoro Ome, Timothy Hamel-Smith and others.
The membership of the COP and the wider national community continue to express the desire for greater values-based leadership in our nation’s governance. I am of the firm belief that with a return of the COP to its tenets of principled leadership and accountability, it can offer a credible option in the political landscape of Trinidad and Tobago. Ms Seepersad-Bachan’s impressive track record as a genuine COP member makes her a most suitable candidate to lead the rebuilding process.
In respectful consideration of the sentiments of the membership, I am prepared to offer myself as a candidate for Chairman of the Party in the National Executive elections due later this year and serve in a guiding role towards delivering the kind of leadership in the best interest and benefit to all.