|Carolyn set to shake up the governance structure |
COREY CONNELLY Sunday, July 16 2017
NEW politics and good governance are not just buzz words for Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan.
For her, the terms are intended to truly change the conversation away from the self-serving, non-transparent model which, she feels, has long defined 20th century politics. However, Seepersad-Bachan, one of three women contesting the upcoming Congress of the People (COP) leadership election, is not naive to the fact that the movement towards such a state will take time and effort.
“Governance issues in the Congress of the People is all part of the new political paradigm,” Seepersad-Bachan told Sunday Newsday.
“But it is not an easy journey. It is a hard journey but one that we have to take if we are going to make changes to this country for the better.” Seepersad-Bachan, who served most recently as COP chairman, said the controversy surrounding the postponement of the leadership election, which was scheduled to take place last Sunday, is a classic example of the need to reverse the stereotype.
“The hiccup you have right now in the party with the postponement of this election has nothing to do with the Constitution. The Constitution is very clear.
It is people who fail to adhere to the Constitution because of our lack of will to adhere to the rule of law. This is one of the principles of good governance.” According to Seepersad-Bachan, 20th century politics focused too heavily on the cementing of political power as opposed to promoting a system of meritocracy.
She said the issue was one of competency.
“We want young bright minds but we also have to have experience and that has been the failure.
It is one of the things that is plaguing our country.
An engineer by profession, Seepersad-Bachan said the problems plaguing Petrotrin boiled down to competence.
“If we were merit- based and there was competence in the right places, we would not be facing this situation today.
“Petrotrin is in serious problems because they have not had the best and most competent people for those positions.
Competent people are not being allowed to do their jobs.” Saying the focus on political power was most seen in the State enterprise sector and even within the COP, Seepersad- Bachan said under her watch as leader, she will work tirelessly to effect a turnaround.
“We have to get that principle right and not always has the COP adhered to it. That is why people have said we have veered away from our own principles and values.” So, is the country ready for this brand of politics? Seepersad-Bachan believes so.
She said although many people are disenchanted with the politics, others were clamouring for something new.
“This is a group of people that has been there for some time. They never went anywhere and that group of people continues to grow and more and more young people are joining this group.” The mother of two said she spoke recently to a couple who told her their children were not interested in the politics of the past.
“They are not interested in tribal politics but new politics in order to be a part of the solution.
And, it is important to understand the COP itself is very much involved in the participatory governance model in order to accommodate that new type of 21st century citizen.” She said citizens are no longer interested in giving solutions to problems confronting the country but are demanding greater participation in public policy decisions.
“That citizen will take advantage of digital technology, not only to exercise that social accountability but to contribute to generating those innovative solutions to the complexed social problems in our society.
“That is why we must be able to allow for the change in order to accommodate the role of this new type of citizen in public affairs.
“We are not passive anymore.” She told Sunday Newsday that apart from regaining the trust and confidence of the COP’s once loyal supporters, building the party’s community circles was at the top of her to-do list if elected leader.
“That citizen engagement is what led to the circle of circles concept in the COP.
“Once we rebuild that, we have to train people in how to carry through with the community- based governance and how to seek the interest of their communities.” Seepersad-Bachan, who served as a minister in the Ministries of Energy and Public Administration under the former UNC-led People’s Partnership government, said she also intends to revive all the institutions and organs of the party, including a youth congress and women’s arm, to bolster the work of the community circles.