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‘Ram your finger in the ink’
People’s National Movement (PNM) political leader Dr Keith Rowley is calling on Community-based Environmental Protection and Enhancement Programme (Cepep) workers to ignore rumoured threats by the People’s Partnership (PP) Government to vote for the PP or lose their employment.
Speaking to supporters at a PNM rally in Mount Lambert, St Joseph, on Monday night, Rowley said he had heard that Cepep workers were being threatened into attending PP functions and into voting for the Government, an accusation he has made consistently since 2011.
“Tonight I want to say to all Cepep workers, they have absolutely no way of knowing how you are going to vote except that they know that you are going to vote them out of office.
“So when you go to the polling station put the X by the balisier and ram your finger in the ink down to your elbow and give them the shaft,” Rowley said.
He told supporters the PP Government had the worst things to say about Cepep before getting into Government.
“Now every political event they have, they must corral Cepep workers and threaten them that if they don’t come to the UNC function they wouldn’t get this and they wouldn’t get that.
“And now they telling them that they know how you vote so they telling them that if you don’t vote for them and they going to win so if they come into government again you will lose Cepep work.
“They have no way of knowing how you going to vote. The vote in T&T, thank God, remains secret. We are protected by the Constitution. They ain’t mash up that yet.”
Rowley also took issue with the government’s handling of the Unemployment Relief Programme (URP).
“The URP was under the Ministry of Works. To be able to carry out their nefarious activities, the Prime Minister broke it into three parts. She put a part under (Suruj) Rambachan in the Ministry of Works, put a part under (Glenn) Ramadharsingh in the Ministry of the People and she took a part onto herself and between the three of them, they waged war against the treasury.
He also challenged the Prime Minister to tell the country whether contracts were being awarded by the Government, even after the dissolution of Parliament, something which he said went against the spirit of the law.
Yesterday, Cepep chairman Adesh Deonarine denied that workers were being threatened and said it was a shame that Rowley insisted on bashing a programme created by the PNM.
He said Rowley’s statements were “totally untrue.”
“All workers are entitled to support who they want to support. Nobody is being threatened into doing anything,” Deonarine said.
He said the only time Cepep workers were penalised was when they did not do their required work.
Deonarine acknowledged that accusations of workers being used for political purposes had cropped up regularly but they were baseless.
“Workers do a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay. We do not threaten workers.”