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Tobago’s top cop: No election day violence

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

There were no reports of election violence in Tobago during yesterday’s Tobago House of Assembly (THA) polls, says Assistant Commissioner of Police in Tobago Hugh Lovell. He said in an interview at 4.40 pm yesterday: “Since the opening of the polls at 6 am to now, shortly before close of polls, we can report there has been no violence in Tobago for the day’s polling activity.”


On whether there had been any during the campaign, Lovell said there had been a report during last weekend’s motorcade concerning TOP supporters. Lovell said a vehicle in the Roxborough area was blocked while trying to turn close to a truck carrying TOP supporters and some people on the truck reportedly began to pelt stones at the other vehicle.


He added the occupants of the vehicle were treated at hospital. Three were discharged with slight injuries and one was reportedly stable in hospital. Lovell said two other reports on Sunday had nothing to do with the election since the reported squabbles were not election-related.


Sampson Nanton, deputy head of news at the T&T Guardian’s sister TV station CNC3, said he did not witness any campaign violence yesterday. Nanton said, however, he had heard about two incidents last Sunday.



He said while he did not witness it, he was told a PNM supporter in Roxborough had been chopped by a TOP supporter after last Sunday’s motorcade and that the two friends were squabbling over politics. He said he had also heard of a similar situation involving a Plymouth teenager.


Nanton said it was difficult to get police to provide details of anything yesterday as they were very busy. However, Lovell clarified that the Roxborough chopping incident did not have anything to do with political activity and investigations revealed one man had been standing in an area when one came up and argument broke out—one of them was chopped.



TOP/PNM respond
Meanwhile, the Peoples Partnership (PP) has denied PNM claims by party PRO Faris Al-Rawi that the TOP was “canvassing by phone” yesterday morning. In a texted message to the media at 9.34 am yesterday, Al-Rawi claimed the TOP was doing so, although it was illegal on election day.


Al-Rawi said: “The TOP is still making robo-calls and campaigning for votes. PNM members have received calls, including from Neil Wilson (PNM Tobago official), who is prepared to speak to the press. “If the TOP could do this in direct contravention to the EBC it is a clear indication they intend not to follow the EBC’s rules.”


PNM handler Andrew Gabriel referred queries to Wilson, who he said was talking to the press about it at the PNM’s office. Wilson didn’t answer calls up to 4.20 pm nor did Orville London. During the afternoon Al Rawi texted the media that confirmation could be given by PNM Tobago Council PRO Denise Tsoi-a-Fatt-Angus. She didn’t answer calls either and her phone mailbox was full.


TOP leader Ashworth Jack, in the field most of the day, briefly said at 4.20 pm that the TOP already had issued a disclaimer to all media on the issue. Communications Minister Jamal Mohammed denied other PNM claims that the TOP had given out iPads, iPhones  and iPods and that it was canvassing. Mohammed said: “We have no comment save that it’s not true.”


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