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Dookeran backs COP leader on Sando mayor

By Anselm Gibbs  

Political leader of the Congress of the People (COP) Prakash Ramadhar got support yesterday from that party's founder, Winston Dookeran, regarding the controversy surrounding San Fernando Mayor Marlene Coudray and whether she should continue in her role as mayor.

Ramadhar has called for Coudray to be ousted from her mayoral post, and be replaced by a member of the COP. This after Coudray—a former COP member—became a member of the United National Congress (UNC) and has since been elected a deputy political leader of the UNC.

Ramadhar has indicated that if the conditions of the Fyzabad Declaration weren't honoured and a COP member wasn't given the San Fernando mayor position, his party may need to revisit its position in the People's Partnership Government.

Speaking to the Sunday Express yesterday, following an event at the St Mary's Children's Home in Tacarigua, former political leader of the COP Dookeran supported the stance taken by Ramadhar.

"I think that the Fyzabad declaration should be honoured, and I think in so doing, the arrangements that were made at the time of the election should be honoured," Dookeran said.

"I don't think it is a matter that would break the partnership, but I think it is a matter that must be fixed," he added.

Dookeran said the frustration currently being felt by party members over the issue is something that he understood.

"We are living in a period of coalition politics, and we should expect these little tremors to take place," Dookeran said.

COP member and Minister of Sport Anil Roberts, on Wednesday, lashed out at Ramadhar's calls for Coudray's removal, saying the party's leader was being unreasonable.

In light of this, when asked about the present climate within the COP, Dookeran replied, "I sense it's a feeling of anxiety, that's the mood."

The issue was discussed on Thursday night during a meeting at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann's, with Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar; Ramadhar; Ashworth Jack, political leader of the Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP); Makandal Daaga, chief servant of the National Joint Action Committee (NJAC); and David Abdulah, leader of the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ).

Following the meeting, sources have said Persad-Bissessar and the head of the COP remain at odds over the issue. The five political leaders are scheduled to meet again tomorrow to continue discussions.

Dookeran felt it was important the People's Partnership finds its way out of these turbulent conditions.

"It has to smoothen out because we have a country to run, and we have a Government to perform, and we must resolve it to the satisfaction of all," Dookeran said.

The Minister of Finance said it was important that the partnership consolidate itself, adding that he hoped the right decisions would be reached at the end of the day.

• See Page 7

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