Seepersad-Bachan Elected New Leader of COP


Urges Fragmented Supporters to Reunite and Rebuild the Party

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – Former government minister Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan was on Sunday night (November 19) declared the winner of in the race for leadership of the opposition Congress of the People (COP).

The COP was part of a coalition government in Trinidad and Tobago during the 2010-15 period.

Seepersad-Bachan urged disenchanted, angry and fragmented supporters to come return to the fold and help rebuild the party that at one stage had been seen as a credible alternative to the two main political parties here – the ruling People’s National Movement and the main opposition United National Congress (UNC).

“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 agree 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,” she added.

The COP, which was co-founded by former finance minister Winston Dookeran, had formed part of the coalition People’s Partnership government of Kamla Persad Bissessar, but the party failed to win a seat in the 2015 general election amid widespread dissatisfaction of its role in the coalition.

Seepersad-Bachan has not ruled out a possible coalition in the future but insisted that there must also be a right formula.

“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.”

The former COP chairman defeated her lone challenger Sharon Gopaul Mc Nicols for the top post of the party in an election that had been challenged in the courts following the decision of the former chairman, Nicole Dyer-Griffith to seek the top post.

An estimated 40,000 members were eligible to vote during Sunday’s election with the party using an online system allowing members to vote at any polling station across the country.

“I believe the COP can go forward, make a difference and bring good governance to Trinidad and Tobago,” she told reporters, adding “I also intend to bring back the young people – the Youth Congress – and have them participate in the solution series”. – CMC