COP Out!

Quick, study your head good....apart from the Marlene Courdray San Fernando mayorship issue, can you think about any seriously vehement "principled" stance the COP has taken on other national issues? I ask, because in the past two weeks Prakash Ramadhar and Carolyn Seepersad Bachan have been running around their various constituencies, along with UNC cabinet members campaigning as if their very lives depend on it. In Tunapuna and Marabella - both villages in marginal constitutuencies - saw the Ministry of Legal Affairs and the Ministry of the people show up with hampers, and other hand outs like vitamins, nasal drops....and even better Ministry of Legal Affairs personnel to assist with things like birthpapers and deeds. Now, pardon my conspiracy theory mind.....two marginal seats and birthpapers and deeds? A birthpaper is one step away from national identification......a deed makes it possible for one to get a poling card to vote.....have i gone to far with my musings? or should Or should we in fact pay very close attention to Ramadhar's Caring Caravan.

It's been two years, one month and about 3 weeks since the COP has formed the government, nd the pry doesn't seem to have served the country well. So much for their integrity, their principled stances and their mantra of serving the people.

I have been paying attention to the COP and their position on national issues.

Without a doubt during the 2010 elections the COP was seen as the party of principles in the coalition government. Many people put their doubts aside where the UNC and it's reputation for corruption was concerned, and voted on the basis of the COP's alleged integrity.

And they got that integrity from having taken principled stances in the past. In 2007, when Dookeran got fed up with Panday's behaviour over his (Dookeran's) deputy political leadership of the party he did the principled thing and left the party and formed his own. He, and the members of his party then promised a new form of politics. Politics based on ideas, principles and consultation with the electorate.

With members such as Winston Dookeran, Prakash Ramadhar, Mary King, Lincoln Douglas, Roger Samuel, Anil Roberts and Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan, many citizens stained their fingers hoping that this party would make the difference. Perhaps we can take a look at how well this COP gallery of rogue agents have served us and whether or not we've been getting principled politics from them.

WINSTON DOOKERAN: In times past, Dookeran has been ridiculed as a "mook", the shortened form of mooksy, one of our really brilliant words for fool. And, at times I would think people were being unfair....but these days I'm not so sure. One of the things I noticed from elections 2010, was that when negotiations for the partnership were being made and the divvying up of the spoils (like that San Fernando Mayorship) was being done Dookeran, leader of the other major political party in the coalition....went off to India!

Since then, as a senior member of government and the cabinet Dookeran has been around and a part of many questionable decisions. Every single financial decision this government has made can lead all the way back to Dookeran. Those credit cards that were abused? Has to be approved by the Ministry of Finance. Dookeran barely had a comment to make about Fuad Khan or Shoppin Toppin. The many trips that Vidwattie Newton would have been on where per diem, tickets, hotel accommodations etc had to be approved...well guess where those approvals come from? Yep, you got it right...the Ministry of Finance, that was overseered by Dookeran. then of course you've got the situation of Dookeran having saddled us with the two largest budgets and largest deficits in our history as an independent nation.....no one comments on that! Certainly not Dookeran. And from 2010 - 2012, we have no clear idea where all of that money is being deployed and how any of it is being invested to safe guard the country's economic future. Dookeran also refuses to admit that the country is in a recession, although the many consecutive quarters of zero economic growth says otherwise....that and the soaring inflation. The number of instances of petty thefts that one hears about through the grapevine...because since the TTPS take down their crime stats page we can't know the official figures, can we....leads me to believe that the pinch being felt by everyone. And since not all of the thieves sit in Parliament, they have to feed on the average citizen. To date, Dookeran's performance as former political leader of the COP was abysmal and weak. Even on the Marlene Coudray issue that Ramadhar got so hot under the collar for he was lukewarm. And it makes you wonder, when Dookeran gave up leadership of the party, did he also give up any responsibility he might have felt for his membership?I've got my antennae tuned for further gaffes in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs...if Dooks can't get policy right in his area of expertise, you really think he will excel in diplomacy?

I tend to forget that Roger Samuel exists as a MP...and I think come the next elections, the people of Arima will to. The one notable comment I have ever heard from Samuels was at a COP sponsored lecture called Run D Race, and in his offering Samuels said as far as he was concerned the race problem in Trinidad was about the race for heaven or the race for hell..........I tuned him our after that. The next time I noticed him he was standing next to Prakash Ramadhar on the Port of Spain Waterfront, as they galleried themselves over the San Fernando mayorship. Samuels has yet to make a meaningful contribution to Arima or to the Parliament.

Lincoln Douglas, has in his possession a wife who once threatened the police when she was caught driving recklessly. This was early in the government's tenure and her general comment like, "You know who I is? Wait until I inform my husband." Arrogant and idiotic much? He too was at that Run D Race lecture and had nothing interesting or intelligent to add to the race question. I've noticed that after that one public speech (which apparently was spearheaded by Douglas) the party hasn't yet organised another one! He is now the new Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism and I've got a question for him. Minister Douglas, when your ministry was renamed, the PM promised to have a public consultation over the new name because Sat Maharaj was the person who requested the ministry's name change, your government held 4 meetings, I attended 3, and at 3 of 4 meetings no one was in favour of the name change....WHY DO WE STILL HAVE A MINISTRY OF MULTICULTURALISM?????? Does this government even know what Multiculturalism means? Either way, I expect to hear you overspending on Carnival next year and handing HD a cheque for $2million....so carry on smartly!

Anil Roberts.....do I really need to say anything about Roberts that hasn't been said? Loud, crass, useless.....oh and as a Minister he seriously underperforms. Ask ANY athlete here.

Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan has proven to be a serious let down for me as well. Where I had hoped she would be a true example of what female leadership can be, Seepersad-Bachan has shown, that like Persad-Bissessar, when it comes down to the nitty gritty she too is all about saving her ass and political show. When the COP was up in arms over the Marlene Coudray Mayorship, Seepersad-Bachan was heard stridently saying that the UNc was corrupt and needed to get their house in order. She raised questions about the integrity of their internal elections and voter list. The comments were barely out of Seepersad-Bachan's mouth before she was back-pedalling, backtracking and recanting! In fact, Seepersad-Bachan went so far as to say she never said the UNC was corrupt....but thank Gove for radio sound bites...because i95.5 played that clip for a good week straight! Recently, at a public lecture to talk about the history of the city of San Fernando, Bachan used it as an opportunity to instead promote her plans for the waterfront. Ahhhhh, every time I hear the phrase waterfront I remember how the COP and UNC bashed Manning for equating development with fancy buildings, while he continued to ignore much needed areas like health care, education and social programmes. Imagine my amusement, when after listening to other participants talk about all the social programmes and improvements San Fernando was lacking to hear Bachan talk about the Waterfront Project and tourism. Time really longer than twine in this place, oui!

And my girl Mary King....who could forget Mary....there's just something about Mary.....the internationally transparent Mary...who decided to grant herself a contract and then publicly admit that the Prime Minister knew all about it.....Mary, you really didn't expect to get fired? And, there's the former Minister of Feelings, Verna who dared upset two of the biggest voting blocs in the country, Catholics and Public Servants, when she dared broach topics like abortion and gay rights.....and allow Cheryl Miller to be locked up in a sanatorium under her watch......poor form Verna.....poor form. To date we still haven't gotten full disclosure from St Rose-Greaves about the Cheryl Miller incident...but I guess yesterday was yesterday, right? And why bother to explain anything to the population when no one else in the government does anyway.

And then there is Prakash....Prakash Ramadhar, who has relied on his good looks, charm and perhaps intelligence to get him by in this government. Prakash who has been relied on at every turn to put his stamp of approval on issues that are bound to upset the population. When Reshmi was hired, it was Prakash who was called upon to endorse her. When the SoE was called, again it was Prakash of the COP we saw prominently sitting behind the Prime Minister. Making it clear to all the world that hs party was in support of the Government turning the army and the police on the citizenry over an unseen menace. Has crime been solved? Ask Prakash! There first time we would hear Ramadhar speak out on an issue was when the party's hold on power in the form of the Mayorship, after Marlene defected. Now, Ramadhar will tell you that they have spoken out on race issues, media abuse issues and even the demolition of the Re-Route camp in Debe. But writing insipid press releases are to my mind tame when compared to Ramadhar's grand charging over Marlenegate. In the case of that near loss of power Ramadhar threatened to walk. Yet when our constitutional rights are breached all the COP can do is write?????? And to be absolutely truthful, it was a COP deputy, Aniruth Mahabir who wrote the press release condemning the demolition of the protest camp......Ramadhar has remained conspicuously quiet. Maybe he was packing hampers with Glen and didn't have time to write one.

While I hold no brief for Verna St Rose, and believe that she should have done the honourable thing and resigned after the Cheryl Miller incident, I noticed that Ramadhar certainly hasn't objected to her removal from the Cabinet, despite Verna protesting that she was fired for over performance.

If you ask me the COP is one of the worst things to have happened to the country under this coalition government. Having been hired to help keep the UNC in check.....nd they know that's what they are there for....the COP not sleeping on the job, they are actually aiding and abetting. They have done nothing in the last two years to convince me that they have the interests of the people at heart, but they clearly get concerned when things like mayorships are threatened. Ramadhar used to be UNC, Dookeran an Bachan too....I'm beginning to wonder if we lift their hemlines, if rising sun symbols embroidered into their petticoat tails!

De Vice Cyah Done!