Police had to intervene after a United National Congress (UNC) motorcade led by Opposition Leader Kamla Persad Bissessar blaring music attempted to pass while a People’s National Movement (PNM) was in progress in Siparia last night.
The police officers on duty at the Thick Village Community Centre where the PNM meeting was being held stopped the motorcade and spoke to the Persad-Bissessar.
They were only allowed to pass after they agreed to stop the music until they reached a distance from the venue.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley seemed oblivious to what was taking place as he continued to address supporters.
While the music was blaring a song with the lyrics ‘Rowley must go’, a few of the PNM supporters with red jerseys verbally clashed with the yellow-wearing UNC supporters.
Police officers stop a vehicle with UNC leader Kamla Persad Bissessar and supporters as they approach the PNM’s public meeting in Thick Village, Siparia, last night.
UNC supporters shouted ‘Rowley must go’ while PNM supporters were shouting ‘Rowley must stay’.
Speaking briefly, Persad-Bissessar said the motorcade started at 3 pm and they were just following their route.
She said they were unaware that the PNM had a meeting at that venue which is within her constituency of Siparia.
She denied that the UNC was attempting to shut down the meeting.
“We planned this days ago. We have a motorcade route and that’s what we are doing. We are not shutting down any meeting,” she said, adding, “We are in an election season. We did not know Rowley was here. Who cares? Who really cares?”
She said: “Our supporters had a route, they followed it. In typical PNM fashion, dictatorial...shut down the voices. Rowley must go.”
She said she had no fight with the police as they were only their jobs.
However, she said if they cross the line then they will deal with it.
“My fight is with Rowley.”
Over 60 vehicles and music trucks were part of the motorcade.
A police officer stops a vehicle with UNC leader Kamla Persad Bissessar and supporters as they approach the PNM’s public meeting in Thick Village, Siparia, last night.
Former housing minister Dr Roodal Moonilal and Fyzabad MP Lackram Bodoe were also on the motorcade.
Asked what the police had told them, Moonilal said, “They told us nothing. We have a route that has been approved and we are working it.”
Persad-Bissessar added, “We had permission to do a route for the election season and that’s what we’re doing. The police say we can’t talk but we cannot stop the voices of the people.”
Siparia is a marginal municipality with the UNC just barely winning in the 2016 Local Government Elections.
The PNM amassed 14,105 with the UNC getting 14,934.
A police officer speak to UNC supporters who were part of the motorcade.
While Siparia is a strong UNC constituency led by Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, at the municipal level, areas like Erin, Brighton/Vessigny, Palo Seco and Siparia West/Fyzabad were won by the PNM by big margins.
The Local Government Elections will be held on December 2.