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Ramadhar's surprise trip may delay talks until May

By Renuka Singh

With the third meeting of the People's Partnership coalition Government still unconfirmed, members of both the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) and the Congress of the People (COP) have expressed surprise at COP leader Prakash Ramadhar's decision to fly out of the country yesterday on a three-week trip.

There was a public show of disaffection between the two parties after San Fernando Mayor Marlene Coudray crossed the floor and joined the United National Congress (UNC) just over three weeks ago.

MSJ leader David Abdulah, in a brief telephone conversation yesterday, said both parties were waiting for the Prime Minister to call the third meeting that will hopefully resolve the internal friction within the five-party coalition.

"I spoke with Ramadhar today (yesterday), and he said when the Prime Minister calls for the third meeting, he will make himself available," Abdulah said, adding he was, however, "not concerned".

Given Ramadhar's absence, the next coalition leaders' meeting may not happen until early May, according to UNC deputy political leader Roodal Moonilal, who yesterday called for the COP to move past the contentious issues and start focusing on Government business.

"There are other matters to look at and several key projects. We need to begin Government business, and people like 'Generation Still Vex' needs to move on, too," he said, referring to Mickela Panday's group, Generation Next, which is advised by former prime minister and UNC leader Basdeo Panday.

"We are satisfied she satisfied the requirements for elections. It is not up to us to question the matter," he said in a telephone interview yesterday.

"To me, I think, the parties should just move on," he said.

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