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PNM candidates advised: Keep the election campaign clean

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

As members of the People’s National Movement move to elect a new executive on May 18, candidates are being told to keep the campaign clean.This is according to the election code of conduct and regulations, which were approved during a marathon five-hour special general council meeting last week. The code says those contesting the election “should at no time focus on the personalities of other candidates, their families or members of their campaign team of other candidates.”


The code also stipulates that candidates:
• Shall not direct or promote vicious attacks or innuendoes on other candidates or their family members.
• Shall not incite hostilities or violence.
• Shall not use language that is disparaging, distasteful, abusive, indecent or inflammatory. 
• Should act with a sense of responsibility and display conduct that is befitting of an aspirant to office in the movement


General secretary of the PNM Ashton Ford said yesterday candidates would be allowed to publish media advertisements but they should not be “excessive.” Ford told the T&T Guardian the candidates should conduct inexpensive campaigns in humility. The report was presented by former attorney general and chairman of the party’s standing orders and rules committee, Brigid Annisette-George. Ford said the elections would be conducted by a 21-member elections supervisory committee, chaired by Charles Mitchell, with former Port-of-Spain mayor Murchison Brown as deputy chairman. Nomination Day is March 14. The election will be historic as it will be the first time it is being held under the system of one-man-one-vote. All previous elections in the 58-year-old party took place using a delegate system.


Ford said permission has already been granted for polling to take place at various schools. A pressure group within the PNM, called To Preserve the Balisier (TPTB), led by Dr Bose Sharma, is leading a campaign against the party’s leader Dr Keith Rowley, saying members of East Indian descent were leaving because of his leadership. Sharma said the TPTB would name its candidate to challenge Rowley for the leadership of the party soon. Its campaign was launched in Pinto Road, Arima, last month. Former assistant secretary and member for 42 years Deodath Ojah-Maharaj has dismissed that claim, saying he had never experienced discrimination in the PNM. Rowley was a “no-nonsense leader and a proactive man who is committed to delivery,” he added, also describing him as “non-corruptible and a man of integrity.”


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