STREET TALK: Congress of the People (COP) political leader Prakash Ramadhar, right, greets a vendor at the Tunapuna market yesterday during his “Street Talk” walkabout. —Photo: ANISTO ALVES

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Prakash: COP has a lot of work to do

By by Camille Bethel camille.bethel@trinidadexpress.com

The Congress of the People (COP) has a lot of work to do before the 2015 general election and very little time in which to do it, newly-re-elected COP political leader Prakash Ramadhar has admitted.

Speaking with the media outside the Tunapuna market yesterday, as he and other members of the COP took time to meet with market vendors, Ramadhar said: “We have a critical role to play but very little time to do a lot of things. We have no time for dead wood or wet blankets. We will wet ourselves with sweat and hard work to reconnect with our supporters, and the supporters of the COP are across the length and breadth of this nation. It is going to be work, work, work, it is not going to be easy but it is going to be short.”

Describing his tenure as COP leader as a difficult one, Ramadhar said when he took leadership in 2011 the equation, the (People’s) Partnership, had already been set in 2010.

 “I had inherited a very difficult position where condemnation of the Partnership and our partners was very strong. I had to harness the resources of the party and the membership of the party to say: look we have to stick this out, we made a promise to the population to work for five years to deliver things. Many thought that was a cop-out, it wasn’t, it was a cop-in—standing firm to fulfill our promises. 

“Of course, we were disappointed in the number of voters that turned out for the leadership elections (last Sunday), but it is not surprising having regard to the difficulties the party would have faced coming into Government in 2010 and, from 2011, an unrelenting attack from within and from without, so it is no surprise,” he said.

Ramadhar said he believed a lot of the party’s supporters wanted the party to sort out its business and “fix who is leader, fix whose function it is to do whatever”, but that the support base was there. “And they will turn up, they will come out and vote in a general election,” he said. 

Dismissing social media posts about him being a “weak and spineless” leader, Ramadhar said the enemies of the party were trying to destroy it by attacking him.

“There are snipers there, anonymous persons whose one ambition is to destroy the COP. When you attack the leader and demonise him and call him weak and spineless and everything else, it is easy for that propaganda to spread.

“To have arrived where we are, in the face of all the criticisms and attacks, does not take a spineless person, it takes a person with intestinal fortitude to know what is right for this country and to stand firm to achieve.

“If the COP had left the Government it would have weakened the Government and I do not know what the agenda would have been,” he said.

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