CAROLYN Seepersad-Bachan, head of the Congress of the People (COP), yesterday welcomed the launch of the Patriotic Front party by former Oropouche West MP Mickela Panday whom she said echoed many of the COP’s ideas.
Seepersad-Bachan said, “We welcome the enthusiasm. It is good to see more people coming forward to act in the best interest of TT.
“When I listen to Mickela and others who have been stepping out and making similar statements to her, I am very happy to note that now that there is this wide awakening towards this urgent need to get the politics right and put country first.
“This is the mantra the COP has been advocating since 2006. So it’s all in keeping with what we’ve been saying.”
Seepersad-Bachan said many of Panday’s sentiments were advocated at the COP’s recent re-launch.
“Having said that, I’m of the view TT needs a credible plan of action to realise all this. That is what we attempted to do at our re-launch.”
She said the COP's plan was for sustainable development, citizens' engagement in governance, equitable distribution and people's empowerment, the latter which Panday had also spoken of.
Seepersad-Bachan said, “The time has come for us to sit together. At the re-launch, I made the call for all those who are thinking in this way to come together to propose a credible action plan.”
She said the people of TT were fed up of talk but wanted action.
“Those who believe in this new philosophy, let us come together. Let us unite, not for the sake of power, but for making meaningful change to TT.
"A lot of the new, emerging political voices over the past year are not saying anything different and that is why I’m happy we have this wider awakening.”
Newsday asked if many small parties would be squeezed out by the two main ones.
“There is a critical mass of people who want something different and subscribe to this philosophy, but the predominant parties continue to intimidate them, by instilling fear and bringing out tribal politics. ‘If you don’t vote for me, you are voting for the other side.’”
Seepersad-Bachan said that to make a meaningful change in TT politics, it was time to stop voting “out” a party, but instead vote “in” a party.
"We must vote for a new vision and a new future, and for getting the politics right.
“The time has come for us to put forward a credible action plan which the people of TT can understand and appreciate as being doable.”
Seepersad-Bachan said that to level the playing field she was advocating campaign finance reform, saying big donors are funding big parties but not smaller ones.
She said, without such reform, politics would continue to depend on big financiers, which is the reason the country couldn’t get change. Seepersad-Bachan said TT did have a future.
“I agree with Mickela that young people need to come forward and let their voices be heard. They must participate. She spoke of empowerment and of reforming the educational system. We must bring the educational system to a point where we can build a model citizen who can be a citizen of the global village.”
Seepersad-Bachan said the empowerment of the citizen should also see a reduction of the dominance of state control where everyone relied on the state.
“If you want empowerment, we must break the back of that to allow for enterprise. It is a holistic plan of action that is required, a sustainable development plan.”