Certainly former COP leader Prakash Ramadhar won’t be remaining “mum” much longer.
Controversy following his agreement to be part of the PNM Government’s recent Jamaica mission hasn’t escaped him. And perhaps it may not necessarily be his last “input” with the Rowley PNM administration.
It’ll soon be clear. But it will present an issue for the Opposition to ponder.
Family “issues”—political and otherwise—broke out in various sectors all week. Some Central clans were wracked—and split—by the murder of notorious Selwyn “Robocop” Alexis, a still unfolding story.
Familial splits and snafus were also clear at the US Republican convention in Ohio where Donald Trump became the beleaguered party’s presidential candidate. State governor Ron Kasich wasn’t the only jefe absent.
Team Trump’s operational-tightening will now have to guard against further plagiarising (from Michelle Obama’s addresses.)
Former contender Ted Cruz’s call for a conscience vote remains to be tested. And Tuesday’s rabid convention calls to “Lock her (HIllary Clinton) up” are set to move from conference floor to campaign fervor.
Trump’s statements Thursday - pitched to LGBT quarters among others—seen as appropriately moderate compared to convention confusion—will be measured fully when Democrats reply with their gathering next week.
Locally, strategic moves by the PNM administration—against Opposition numbers—via COP MP Ramadhar’s inclusion on the Prime Minister’s Jamaican trip are also to play out.
After the Opposition Leader’s complaint there was no consultation by Government on the invitation to Ramadhar (or to Opposition MP Ramona Ramdial) UNC officials believe moves to cut into their ranks were being made since Bail Bill debate when efforts were made to meet with the Opposition whip and others— but not the Opposition Leader.
Opposition whip Ganga Singh says that is a breach of the Constitution.
How that argument holds up with Ramadhar’s agreement on the Jamaica trip is another issue. While Ramadhar said he cleared it with his COP leader—his former deputy when he was COP leader—UNC officials noted Ramadhar attends Opposition caucuses and has signed documents saying he supports Opposition leader Kamla Persad- Bissessar.
Pondering his action in the context of team unity, some equate his crossing of the seas with the Government team with a “crossing of the floor,” away from the Opposition dock.
Reinforcing perspective, on the eve of the Government delegation’s return, the Opposition panned the trip.
Yesterday while some UNC officials queried Ramadhar’s role in the trip—noting his Opposition shadow portfolio concerns national security and legal affairs, not foreign affairs—they however acknowledged since he was not a UNC MP, he was only subject to COP sanction, not the UNC’s.
“He’s said he’s making a statement, I await this,” Singh said yesterday
In Opposition last December, Ramadhar said the COP (he’d headed then) was out of the People’s Partnership and COP might contest 2020 polls alone.
Yesterday on possible future action—like the Jamaica trip— including with government, Ramadhar made it clear he would co-operate with, and COP would participate in, “what is good for T&T.... if it involves a worthwhile effort that’s potential benefit for T&T. Absolutely.”
Including proposed legislation?
“It’ll be on a case-by-case basis. I’ll have to be persuaded, and other things, I’ll try to persuade otherwise,” he added .
He noted his February statement that COP allows MPs to act at discretion and conscience “So I remain open” he’d said then.
A month later in March, he’d said there was need for all political forces to come together to defeat PNM in 2020. Discussion on that has been mulled by some small groups
Whatever future Government moves Ramadhar supports, the repercussions on his struggling party—which bitterly fought the PNM in 2010—remain to unfold. Especially since in March, he’d given Prime Minister Keith Rowley a four out of ten for his six month performance, and barely gave the PNM five.
But former PP member Gary Griffith—whose Alliance of Independents is among small groups talking unity—believe Ramadhar’s acceptance of the Jamaica invitation can assist the COP regain credibility and rebuild by breaking out of the PP/UNC shadow, maligned in the last term.
“After the Jamaica trip, he (Ramadhar) should move from the Opposition frontbench and go to the backbench—be independent,” Griffith lobbied.