Last update: 10-Dec-2013 1:42 am
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Abdulah: Leaders breached rules of Debates Commission
All three PP, ILP and PNM leaders breached the rules of the T&T Debates Commission, MSJ leader David Abdulah has said. The commission cancelled the leaders’ debate on Monday after Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said she had never said she would appear in the debate and the PP said COP leader Prakash Ramadhar was the one to represent the PP at the session.
The commission expressed disappointment and concern at the PP’s position and eventually cancelled the debate after ILP leader Jack Warner said he would not appear unless the PM did and PNM leader Keith Rowley said he would appear only if the PM’s absence were noted. Abdulah, however, said in an interview there had been agreement by leaders before the debate spelling out who was the leader of each party and who were senior representatives for the first debate last week.
He said it was very clear the agreement which set the guidelines and rules for the debate also stipulated that only the leaders of parties would be eligible for the final debate and all parties were aware of the requirement that only their leaders must represent them in that final round. “But some people breached the agreement by putting conditions. The PP wanted the COP leader to speak, Warner said he wouldn’t go unless the PM did and the PNM wanted her absence to be cited.
“The MSJ is the only party that didn’t set conditions. If the PP, for instance, could breach that agreement, what would they do on other issues in Government?” Abdulah added. “Those leaders showed total disrespect for the population, which was eagerly looking forward to the leaders’ debate. Interest had developed following last Thursday’s first rounds, where MSJ’s candidate was highly successful. It may well be that others ducked this week’s debate as they’re afraid of being shown up by MSJ,” he added.
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