Sunday, February 18, 2018

Minister Douglas: PM failed to honour COP’s core values

 Deputy Political Leader of the Congress of the People and candidate in the upcoming Congress of the People Political Leader elections Dr Lincoln Douglas, has lamented that to date “politicians continue to play games with the responsibilities entrusted to them, and insult the intelligence and integrity of the nation”.

This statement was made in response to the way Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar as the Leader of the People’s Partnership treated with COP and the COP’s position on Sport Minister Anil Roberts’ relationship with the party and his failure to cooperate with the COP in the Room 201 issue.

Douglas, Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism, said in a statement yesterday, “In public life, there is the court of law, and there is the court of public opinion, and both of them are as equally important as the other as they determine how you are measured as an upholder of the public’s interest. The COP was well within its right to have disciplined Anil Roberts for his politically irresponsible approach in not cooperating with the party.”

There exists a more substantial issue, he said. 

“The failure of the Leader of the People’s Partnership to honour the core values of the COP—that persons in public life must be responsible and accountable—amounts to gross disrespect of the COP, its leaders and its members. Leaders must be responsible to their party and accountable to the nation. But no! The COP and its leader could not have been afforded that respect! It’s similar to two parents living in a home where one made a decision to discipline a child the others says ‘nah! Leave the chile alone nah’. How could this be respectful of the partners? How could this be supportive to the People’s Partnership?”

Douglas continued, “The second issue is just as profound and destructive as the first having been disrespected, what do the COP leaders do? They just take it and walk away. There is no defending of the COP, no defending of its principles, no defending of its soveriegnity. No wonder why people are saying the COP has lost its way and has sold out.”

He said, “The real issue in all of this is that the COP has advanced a position on how an issue concerning one of its members must be dealt with. There is a principle and standard by which we deal with situations, and the COP’s position in all of this must be respected and incorporated into the decision making process by the Prime Minister, who isn’t only a Prime Minister, but the more importantly, the leader of a coalition of different parties. The way in which the UNC and the COP interact with each other on matters like these must be revisited. Since the Fyzabad Accord, there is the perception—and even reality—that there has been no meaningful mechanism developed to ensure a healthy coalition relationship.”