Former Prime Minister Basdeo Panday speaks to COP leader Carolyn Seepersad before the start of the Panday’s third force plan meeting at Gaston Court, Chaguanas, yesterday.

Congress of the People (COP) political leader Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan said yesterday’s unity meeting with Basdeo Panday wasn’t simply about “removing a government,” but about plans for T&T’s future as the country is in crisis.

Speaking prior to the 6 pm meeting in Chaguanas, Seepersad-Bachan said the COP is serious about electoral and constitutional reforms and is always prepared to speak to people on this matter.

“We saw what happened in 2007 when 22 per cent of the population was disenfranchised, so our interest is putting country over party and political ambition,” she said.

Panday recently called for a meeting with small parties to form a united effort to contest upcoming general elections. He said that would be the only way to have representation of all in Parliament and for such groups to seek constitutional reform. Representatives of several small parties agreed to attend.

Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) leader David Abdulah was uncertain about attending. Neither confirming or denying attendance, he said he ha have spoken to Panday before the meeting which was planned as an open forum for attendees to air their views on how they might go forward.

“We have nothing to hide, the aim is only to unite the people who believe greater representation in Parliament,” Panday said prior to the meeting,

Panday added that the fact he called a meeting in the middle of Carnival and people agreed to attend showed the level of concern about T&T. He said many responded to his call, though several asked why he had sought a meeting in the height of Carnival since they had fetes to attend.

“We know how long the Carnival season is and the actual Carnival days are only 48 hours. But after Carnival life continues and we have a lot to deal with in Trinidad and Tobago. I only want to say I’ve tried,” he said.

Panday added that he “won’t be sidetracked with arguments and ignorance” from UNC MPs critical of his meeting, saying he was aware many might be concerned that any third force would split votes.