I think its time to disclose many of the facts about the intrigue within the COP camp that worked against that accommodation. My sources are numerous, and include (among others) one of their key ground campaign coordinators, family members of candidates, and individuals both directly and indirectly linked with the key financiers of their election campaign. I freely admit that some of what follows is subject to further clarification, but that does not in any way devalue or negate the general truth of what I have been told.
To begin with, let us revisit the factors that led to the break with the UNC and the formation of the COP. We all know that Panday 'anointed' Dookeran as his successor. Many have charged that Panday did so as a means to politically 'cut his throat' afterwards, but in reality it is Dookeran who set the stage for the troubles that beset him soon thereafter. He did so by announcing - even before his position as Political Leader of the UNC was formalized - that he would be cleaning up the party, and getting rid of many individuals he deemed to be 'tainted'. Big surprise therefore when those individuals - several of whom were either members of the Executive or were key members of the UNC - then openly rebelled against him after supporting him in his nomination. Their loyalty to Panday became their rally cry, and this led Dookeran to ultimately demonize Panday. The irony is that some of those very individuals that Dookeran termed as 'tainted' and to be discarded ended up joining him in the COP (no need to call names...). One other factor that must be stressed is the role of Gerry Yetming in all of this: Yetming reportedly believes himself to be a political genius, and has aspirations of one day being Political Leader and even Prime Minister. He realized that no such opportunity existed in the UNC for him, and he therefore was one of the key persons who pushed Dookeran to split from the UNC and form what would become the COP. This is important, because it exposes the hidden agenda that fuelled Yetming's vicious resistance to accommodation with the UNC-A.
When the COP went into the elections, the triumvate that actively killed any and all attempts at unity or accommodation was made up of Roy Augustus, Roy Boyke, and Gerry Yetming. They were collectively referred to as 'the Wall', both inside and outside of the COP. Dookeran was unable to make any decision without first taking it to 'the Wall' for approval. Yetming's motives are already known: he wants to be Dookeran's successor as leader of the COP (and he will get that wish if Dookeran does in fact depart T&T...). But Boyke and Augustus are another matter altogether. My sources tell me that they worked out a sweetheart deal with EDGE Advertising that saw them getting a 20% kickback on all ads placed through that agency. Since the COP reportedly spent over $20 Million on their campaign, that means they netted over $4 Million in kickbacks from that deal. Had they re-aligned themselves with the UNC-A in either unity or accommodation, they would no longer be in charge of advertising and would have earned zero. This is the root of their resistance to accommodation: money. [For historical reference, in the 2002 elections Boyke charged the UNC 17.5%]
The question of who was financing the COP needs to be clarified as well. While Panday has been talking about 'the drug mafia' and so on as the main sources of COP funding, that really only panders to the true-believers and rings somewhat hollow in the full light of day. My information is that the key financiers were the ANSA-McAl Group and also Beacon Insurance, both of whom had invested millions in a new methanol plant on the strength of an MOU executed with the PNM for the supply of natural gas, only to be told that the MOU would not be honored as the gas supply would instead be needed for the planned aluminum smelters. Both parties decided to fund the COP - to in effect 'buy' a political party (so much for 'new politics'), with ANSA-McAl donating free advertising and pro-COP coverage (even doctoring its opinion polls accordingly), and Beacon plowing several millions into their campaign. This explains what was printed/broadcast in the Guardian, CNC3, and other media anomalies that pointed to a non-existent COP victory. There are lots more to this, but because it involves my family, I will say nothing further.
On the issue of finances, I am told that even Sadiq Baksh is in deeply the hole having taken out a personal loan of $1 Million for the COP. Lets just say that Yetming and the rest of 'the Wall' have alot of explaining to do...
I am advised that by the last week of the campaign, many candidates and campaign coordinators were actively working around Boyke and Augustus when they realized what was happening. Many are now openly crying 'Betrayal' and 'Sabotage', and openly spewing invectives at 'the Wall'. Closed door meetings have been going on to bring many of them back into the UNC, but more on that at another time. The level of disgust and disaffection in the COP machinery however is fuelling this 'abandon ship' drive.
All of the above was made clear to Dookeran at the beginning of the final week of the campaign, but he reportedly felt cornered and utterly powerless by then, although he was becoming more open to the idea of accommodation (something that kept getting shot down by 'the Wall'). A private meeting with Dookeran - lasting over 2 hours - was held just this past Monday to lay these things bare for him once again. He acknowledged that he made a huge mistake in trusting these 3 guys, and has been advised to wait an appropriate period of time for nerves to be soothed before engaging in discussions with the UNC for either re-integration or an accommodation of some sort. He is very open to this (I got this directly from the person who met with him).
Winston is definitely NOT going to be leading the COP into the next election, despite all the rhetoric to the contrary. He will remain at the head of the party for 6 months to a year for the sake of optics, then he will demit leadership and take up his posting abroad.
Despite all public claims to the contrary, the COP will NOT be contesting the Local Government Elections. They have no money or financial backers willing to plow funds into the party, and cannot afford to proceed. They will instead begin talks - once some wounds have healed - to realign with the UNC.
Wendy Lue Yuen - deputy political leader of the COP - is determined to be the next Leader once Winston goes. She continues to make most of the statements to the press on behalf of the COP, but they are neither sanctioned nor policy, and she has no internal following. The COP is rudderless and adrift.
'The Wall' is gone ('The Wall' = Roy Boyke, Roy Augustus, and Gerry Yetming). In the COP's election post-mortem, the candidates openly and viciously went especially after both Yetming and Augustus, blaming them for misleading the party and even for betrayal and sabotage. It is now commonly believed that at least Yetming and possibly Augustus were bought by the PNM. Fingers were pointed at the meeting held at Trotters Restaurant the week before the elections between Yetming, John Rahael, and John Donaldson, and answers were demanded. Not surprisingly, none were forthcoming. 'The Wall' is finished, and no one wants anything to do with them any more. Roy Boyke will never work for another political party in T&T. Augustus is Chairman in name only. And Yetming is in hiding, his hopes for becoming Leader after Dookeran now in shambles.
Winston was advised to drop the 'dual citizenship' court challanges - he has already done so at the time of writing.
Winston was advised to stay quiet for a few months, let wounds heal, then, using local government elections as the mechanism, begin reaching out to the UNC for reconciliation. This is not an exercise for him personally - he intends to depart T&T, as noted earlier - but to at least give his followers a home. He feels beaten and depressed, and totally misled by his own key advisors. Expect that Sadiq Baksh will likely be one of those who will begin the overtures to the UNC. Winston himself remains very warm and open to either Rudy Moonilal or to Kamla, so some overture to him - if desired - is possible through these individuals.
Several ground campaign managers are already seeking accommodation in the UNC. Some recipients of this email will know who I refer to immediately, but I will not expand on that here, not yet.
I will continue to update you all on new information as it comes in. There are many other stories to be told, but this is a brief synopsis of what was happening inside the COP. I hope it is useful information, although it changes nothing in terms of the outcome of the elections.