Monday, June 30, 2014

The Enemy Within... (Saving the COP)

Now that it is behind us, the overriding questions regarding the Congress of the People's Political Leadership elections begging to be asked (besides that party's relevance to national politics) has to be the power of outside forces to manipulate that party and the ease with which Trojan horses get into the proverbial city center of its national executive. There is no denying that many things aren't as they are being portrayed, and the entire Rufus Foster affair and the jumping between the Foster and Seepersad-Bachan camps by campaign management team members are both glaring examples of improper conduct that reeked to high heaven, and, among other things, suggested a premeditated conspiracy designed to disadvantage the incumbent and steal the election.

First of all and in answer to the first question, it is my position and that of every astute political observer that the Congress of the People remains extremely relevant to the 'center' of the politics where the underrepresented call their political home. It serves a niche for those who don't easily fit into the other 'traditional' parties and gives voice to the minority races and religious collective. That they have work to do to recreate this space is without question, but there will always be a need for a party in this position to harness and negotiate on behalf of the all too important swing or non aligned voter. If the COP wants to be 'it' then they have to get down to work making themselves politically sexy to those groups, but to ignore the importance of this space is to court disaster.

On the second issue and with regard to the extraneous and questionable behaviors that took place during the campaigning, if from all quarters (both within and without) the COP is regarded as a shell of its former self with others simply referring to it as dead, why the almost Herculean effort to seize control?

It just does not add up. Who exerts so much energy for a party they assume to be politically irrelevant?

Well if one were to believe the conspiracy theorists, the greatest power the COP possesses right now is that of 'spoiler' of the People's Partnership, a card if held to the last minute and played could swing elections and frustrate the will of the voter. Imagine a scenario where the COP pulls out of the Partnership weeks before the general election, the destabilizing effect that would have. Surely that was worth something to others who have their eyes set on what the Partnership controls, people to whom the destruction of the Partnership is in their interest. But who outside of the PNM could have such designs? And in this marriage of strange bedfellows, what brought so many rumored, alleged, and even openly accepted Jack Warner loyalists and ILP members to Ms. Seepersad-Bachan's aide? What was the intention there? Was it, as some surmise, another attempt by Warner to try to destroy the Partnership out of spite?

Putting a pin in that for a second, another burning question that needs to be asked and answered if he is to have any integrity left after this is what exactly was behind Winston Dookeran's almost enthusiastic support of Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan's candidacy? This was a man who turned his back so easily on the party that he along with others co-founded he did not even bother to show up to hand over the reins of power the last time this exercise was held. And after embarrassing long standing members by refusing to come to the party's defense after they initiated the call, to do so as callously as he did that it prompted one other founding member in the person of Robert Mayers to not only publicly quit the party in disgust but to call him (Dookeran) out on his behavior, what explains this new found zeal, literally on the eve of the election, promising the world if Carolyn were to be elected?

Was this a naked attempt to transfer whatever support his brand and reputation carried, in a plan that may not have worked out the way the plotters imagined?

Clearly all of these issues have to be dealt with if the COP is to become valuable in the niche it wants to position itself, and as elected leader, the responsibility now falls to Prakash Ramadhar to follow through. As amiable and loveable as he is or wants to be he cannot ignore the need for a purge of those extremist dissidents and Manchurian candidates if he is to successfully rebuild the party. He cannot allow his second term to be as dogged by manufactured scandals and kuchoor as his first, and this more than anything else must be confronted and resolved if he is to stamp his authority on the party he now leads into General elections anytime between now and 2015 if that party is to have any relevance at all.  

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