Photographer faces off with Prakash
A PHOTOGRAPHER on assignment for the Guardian newspaper yesterday faced off with political leader of the Congress of the People (COP), Prakash Ramdhar, over allegations of financial impropriety levelled against a party official.
Guardian photographer Andy Hypolite and Ramadhar squared off during a press conference called by the COP to launch its manifesto entitled “Total Local: The COP Approach” for the October 21 local government elections at the party’s Flagship House in Port of Spain.
The press conference began around 11 a.m. with an address by COP deputy chairman Nicole Dyer-Griffith.
Following Dyer-Griffith’s address, Ramadhar took to the podium.
The COP candidates for both the Port of Spain City Corporation and Diego Martin Regional Corporation stood behind while their leaders spoke.
Deputy political leader Lincoln Douglas and COP chairman Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan were also among the entourage.
Hypolite was taking photographs.
Following the two addresses Ramadhar fielded questions from the media.
After Ramadhar answered several questions from the media, Hypolite spoke.
HYPOLITE: What if a member of your candidates had defrauded a public servant their money. If there are allegations like that, would you have them be a part of your team?
RAMADHAR: If it came up at screening then I would hope certainly not. We have been as careful as we possibly could be.
HYPOLITE: And if there is proof?
RAMADHAR: Then we would ask you to share that with us. I know in other parties that is so but I have not heard that in my party. Thank you.
Hypolite’s questions to Ramadhar were interrupted by another journalist.
He however did not give up.
HYPOLITE: On your way to Parliament I approached you on a situation with (name called) almost a year or something ago......
RAMADHAR: Sir with all due respect that is a legal issue. You have raised it with me and I have heard from the lawyers.....
HYPOLITE: I produced all the papers but you all never addressed it.....
RAMDHAR: Sir, are you a member of the media here or are you acting in your private capacity? If it is you are acting in your private capacity then it is inappropriate for you sir to make any allegations in front of the media.
Another member of the media asked Ramadhar a question.
Hypolite picked up his bags and walked out the door.
Douglas left the entourage and attempted to follow Hypolite but was stopped by a COP colleague.
Ramadhar tried to call him back.
“Tell Lincoln come back for me, please,” Ramadhar said to Seepersad-Bachan who was standing to his left.
The press conference ended shorty after.
Douglas eventually returned for the photo opportunity with the COP candidates and leaders holding the party’s manifesto.