Speaking to reporters yesterday before the start of a five-kilometre run/walk to mark UN Public Service Day at the Queen’s Park Savannah in Port-of-Spain, Seepersad-Bachan said leaving the COP was not an option since she is a founding member of the party and had worked hard to put the party’s structures in place.
However, she feels she may step down as chairman to give others aspiring to such positions, a chance to serve.
Seepersad-Bachan, who became chairman of the party in October 2012, said she has enjoyed a successful stint as a COP member, having served in several executive capacities. The minister said she also attended every meeting of the national council.
Seepersad-Bachan is one of four persons contesting the leadership of the COP in the party’s June 29 internal election. The others are incumbent Prakash Ramadhar, deputy political leader Dr Lincoln Douglas and retired Defence Force Sergeant Rufus Foster.
With one week to go before the internal poll, Seepersad-Bachan described her campaign as successful, dismissing a NACTA (North American Caribbean Teachers Association) poll which favours Ramadhar to win the leadership race.
“NACTA polls have always been inaccurate. I remember when I contested the chairmanship, it said that I would not win and I won by a great margin. So, I am not worried about the NACTA poll,” she said.
On the COP’s internal machinery for the election, Seepersad-Bachan expressed concern about what she called “dirty tricks” on the campaign but said “I don’t want to go down that road.”
She said she has expressed concerns to the COP’s elections commission about the validity of the voters’ list as well as the number of polling stations that will be available for voting.
Seepersad-Bachan said there was a general feeling among supporters that the COP has not enunciated its philosophy within the People’s Partnership coalition.
“People are saying that we have not stated ourselves enough in the coalition but by that I don’t mean moving away from the Partnership,” she said. “I think we are responsible for the Partnership’s weak position today.” Saying it was important for the COP to maintain its base and keep membership active, Seepersad-Bachan said there also was a perception among members that Ramadhar, as leader, had not promoted the COP’s identity and code of conduct within the framework of the Partnership.
“The COP’s members are not going anywhere but they are not coming out and vote. There has to be a change in direction,” she said.
One of her first moves as leader, Seepersad-Bachan said will be to “stimulate thinking in the party and hear the views of the people.”
“My duty will be to find ways to re-energise the party,” she said.
The theme of yesterday’s five kilometre walk/run was “Shine With Pride.”