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Jack ordered to remove ‘party sticker’
Police yesterday turned up at the Mt Grace polling division in Tobago shortly after Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) leader Ashworth Jack cast his vote and ordered him to remove what they deemed was a party sticker on his vehicle. The incident happened close to 11 am after Jack had finished speaking to the media outside the polling station at the Mt Grace Community Centre.
The sticker in question was a yellow (TOP’s colour) map of Tobago with the letter O on it. The police told Jack it was a TOP sticker and ordered him to remove it. They reportedly responded in a rough manner to protests from Jack’s wife, who accompanied him to Mt Grace.
Jack calmly held his ground and the police eventually left. He added: “It is a yellow map of Tobago. It is not a party symbol. The law says you can’t display party symbols on election day.” Jack said he was told the police had also turned up at his home earlier in the morning over the same map issue. He was not at home at the time.
A TOP activist at the polling station said the police also sought to disrupt the party’s motorcade on Sunday. He added: “There were a lot of police officers between the motorcade and this caused a lot of stopping and piling up. “If it wasn’t for the peace of Jesus there would have been confrontation. They came out for confrontation,” the activist said, referring to PNM supporters.
Jack, questioned about reports of the police disrupting the TOP’s motorcade0, said there were some instances of police action during the event which left a lot to be desired. He said police officers should not allow their preferences to get in the way of official duties.
Asked why he had taken so long to vote (more than half-an-hour) he replied: “Like everyone else, I waited in line.” He appealed to supporters to avoid confrontation. PRO of the Tobago PNM Council Dr Denise Tsoi-a-Fatt-Angus said it was reported to the police that Jack was driving around Tobago yesterday morning with a TOP sticker on his vehicle.
The police were asked to investigate the matter, she said. Asked if it was the PNM who reported the matter, she said: “It was reported by people.” Members of the media from Tobago and Trinidad who turned up to cover Jack casting his vote also were removed by the police from where they had converged outside the polling station.
The police said they were acting on instructions from an Elections and Boundaries (EBC) officer who said people should not gather or loiter within 100 yards of the polling station.
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