COP leader stepping down

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Monday May 30, 2011 – Congress of the People (COP) political leader Winston Dookeran says that come July 3, when internal elections are held, he will not be seeking to retain the top position of the party he helped form in 2006.

He announced over the weekend, following an emergency meeting at the party’s headquarters, that he had decided to bow out of the race, noting concerns about his leadership style.

However, he said this would not affect his position in government and he would remain Finance Minister and parliamentary representative for the constituency of Tunapuna.

“Many have been dissatisfied with my style of leadership. I acknowledge that each individual has his own style but what I do know is that it is not style that matters, it is content that matters, content measured in the end by results,” he said on Saturday.

Dookeran said he did not expect his move to affect the relationship between the COP and the ruling People’s Partnership (PP) coalition, of which the Congress is part. In fact, he said, “it might help”.

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar told reporters yesterday that she was saddened by Dookeran’s decision but congratulated him on “his very brave stand”.

“He is a great asset to the Partnership and I look forward to continue working with Mr Dookeran. I have no reason to believe he will do otherwise,” she said. 

Dookeran played a major role in the formation of the PP coalition which includes the COP, the United National Congress headed by Persad-Bissessar, the Tobago Organization of the People, the National Joint Action Committee and the Movement for Social Justice. 

The coalition was established ahead of the May 24, 2010 general elections as an opposition bloc against the then ruling People’s National Movement. 

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