PNM found to have breached code of ethics again during LGE 2023 campaigning

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PNM found to have breached code of ethics again during LGE 2023 campaigning

The People’s National Movement (PNM) has breached the Code of Ethical Political Conduct on two more occasions.

The Council for Responsible Political Behaviour, in a statement yesterday, said it met on Monday and considered two complaints that were submitted by the United National Congress (UNC).

The first complaint related to the language used by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley on the PNM platform at a meeting in San Fernando on July 15.

The council stated that in the July 15 incident, “The UNC claimed that Dr Rowley’s statements were based on a false and unsubstantiated allegation which was inflammatory, divisive, and had the potential of inciting violence.”

The council said a review of the recording noted that Dr Rowley did not name any party or person, but based on the policy proposal being discussed, it was clear that reference was being made to the UNC and its female leader.

“In making the said criticisms of policies as advocated by the UNC, Dr Rowley went on to allude to events which have not been linked to the UNC, and, as such, those statements can be deemed to be unsubstantiated allegations, and this is in breach of the code,” it said.

It said continuing this part of his speech, Dr Rowley, again without calling any name, but still referring to the policy proposed by the UNC, spoke in derogatory terms of a political leader.

“This is unacceptable and to that end, he is in clear breach of the clause of the code which reads: Not make false or defamatory allegations in print or speech in connection with an election in respect of a party, its candidates, representatives or members,” it said.

This is the second occasion that a complaint on the PM has come before the council.

On the first occasion on July 7, the council found that the PM used language that was insensitive and inappropriate during a campaign meeting in St James.

NTA leader Gary Griffith had reported the July 7 incident involving Rowley to the council.

The council had stated that having reviewed the speech made by the Prime Minister in St James, it found “the language used was clearly inappropriate and insensitive”.

Meanwhile, in the second complaint from the council yesterday, reference was made to the advertising flyers of two PNM candidates in the Mayaro/Rio Claro Regional Corporation.

The complaint by the UNC is that these PNM candidates are advertising themselves as having the ability to assist or facilitate access to state-controlled grants.

“Two flyers were supplied to the council, and while one speaks to ‘offering assistance to the public’, the other is more bold and troubling since, under the candidate’s name, it simply states “Apply Now–Grants available.”

The council said that the flyer goes on to list items such as ‘food card,’ ‘house wiring,’ ‘HDC housing,’ ‘public assistance, and many more’ and also gives contact information.

“The council investigating the authenticity of this flyer was advised to visit the campaign office of the candidate to follow up, thereby further giving the impression that one can apply and be afforded grants from a PNM campaign office.”

With the PNM holding the Central Government, the council stated, these advertisements give the impression that state resources are being channelled through the campaign offices of PNM candidates.

Based on the complaints, the council called once again on Dr Rowley to be mindful of the use of language in the campaign and to “ensure that its candidates desist from giving the impression that grants can be on offer as inducements, particularly so when such will utilise state resources”.