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Supporters told to come home
Newly-elected Congress of the People (COP) leader Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan in urging its disenchanted, angry and fragmented members to come back home and help rebuild the party. But she is making one thing clear, the COP will fight, win or lose, alone in the 2020 general elections.
If, however, the COP has to form a coalition with anyone there must also be a right formula, she added.
The conditions were placed on the table by Seepersad-Bachan long before the results were declared last night.
She won the post after attaining 10 of the 13 nationwide polling stations to beat lone rival Sharon Gopaul Mc Nicols, who conceded just after 7.15 pm after learning she had captured only one of the stations up to 8 pm as votes were still being counted in the last one.
At 7.30 last night, COP chairman Jamieson Bahadur confirmed Seepersad-Bachan was the outright winner although they were still counting final votes.
Over 40,000 members were eligible to vote during yesterday election from 9 am to 6 pm, but there was a trickle of voters at the 13 polling stations across T&T. The party used an online system where members could have voted at any polling station.
After casting her vote at the Tunapuna Hindu School, Seepersad-Bachan said she had heard no reports about the election machinery being flawed or irregular.
“I am today inviting all to come back to the party, whatever the differences were… differences in opinions. For many of those who felt that we did not get it right…let us get it right. And we can get it right. We must learn to agreed to disagree. Not everything I say will be agreeable by all. Decisions are participatory. This is not about Carloyn and what Carolyn thinks and Carloyn decides. This is about consensus building.”
When the leadership of the party disconnected from the ground, Seepersad-Bachan said its membership and constituency executives dwindled. But she said she was sure they had the foundation to rebuild.
“The members are all there…is just that they are dormant and they are waiting to see if the COP can make that difference….to move forward again as a party that can go into Government.”
The COP, she said, will definitely contest the 2020 election.
As for forming a coalition with the UNC, Seepersad-Bachan said, “At this point in time that question does not arise. The People’s Partnership, as you would have known…many years ago, in 2014, when I did go up for the political leader’s post I spoke about how we could have gotten the coalition politics right at that point in time. It was not taken on board. Unfortunately, the partnership came to an end.”
She said the issue of a coalition formula can no longer arise.
“It has failed and it cannot work again.”
Asked if the COP will stand alone, Seepersad-Bachan replied, “Maybe we will have to stand alone. Maybe we will go back into coalition politics. But it has to be the right formula. What that formula will be…that will work for T&T, we are yet to understand.”
As a diverse country, Seepersad-Bachan said we should encourage coalition politics for wider representation. She said if the COP did not have hope she would not have thrown her hat into the ring.
“I believe the COP can go forward, make a difference and bring good governance to T&T. So after today there is a lot of work to be done. We start from tomorrow morning (today).”
Her first mandate as leader will be to hold a solution series involving the youths who can take the party forward.
The COP, Seepersad-Bachan, said will also revisit communities.