FORMER St Augustine MP Prakash Ramadhar on Monday swore no allegiance to any political party which is contesting the August 10 general election, including his own Congress of the People (COP) party.
While Ramadhar made this decision, COP political leader Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan disclosed that she has been screened as a COP candidate for St Augustine.
Ramadhar was elected St Augustine MP on May 24, 2010 when the COP was part of the then United National Congress (UNC)-led People's Partnership (PP) coalition.
On Sunday, UNC political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar announced party deputy leader Khadijah Ameen as the party’s St Augustine candidate.
In a statement, Ramadhar said, "I have not put myself forward as a candidate for any party, nor have I screened for anyone. This is a decision I had taken some time ago."
While he was not a UNC member, Ramadhar thanked Persad-Bissessar for allowing him to serve "as an independent within the ranks of the Opposition" in the last Parliament. Of the 18 Opposition seats in the House of Representatives, Ramadhar was the only COP MP. The other 17 constituencies were represented by UNC MPs. Saying that TT is need of service, Ramadhar said he would continue to serve the country whether in or out of office.
"It is my intention to always do that which is right and proper to the benefit of my country today, and to prepare for a better future." Praising the achievements of the former PP government, Ramadhar said, "These are the matters that will put the former prime minister (Persad-Bissessar) amongst the finest that this country has had."
But Ramadhar did not endorse any political party contesting the election. He hoped that on August 10 that "we the citizens make decisions based on what is honest and what is true."
Ramadhar said whoever is elected as the government "must rise above their best expectations of themselves." He added that TT "needs tremendous healing and repair at all levels, and the politics alone would not be sufficient." Ramadhar said this is a time when true patriots, "not just those who speak of it, commit themselves to helping in their communities in every way and to give the best of our service, wherever we are located, to be the best we can."
Seepersad-Bachan said, "Mr Ramadhar has not indicated anything thus far in terms of his interest in the party." She then disclosed, "I have offered myself through the COP as a candidate for St Augustine. I have been screened."
As a member of the Better United coalition, Seepersad-Bachan said the COP has been discussing seat allocations with other parties in the coalition. She said the coalition would announce the constituencies it would be contesting in due course.
Seepersad-Bachan hinted that the coalition could target constituencies regarded as marginal as opposed to People's National Movement (PNM) and UNC safe seats