Dr Bishnu Ragoonath, Chairman of the Council for Responsible Political Behaviour.

The Council for Responsible Political Behaviour (CRPB) is calling on all political parties, their leaders and supporters, to avoid language and actions that promote hate, disrespect and racism.

According to an official statement issued by the Council today, the recently concluded 2020 General Election was conducted peacefully and such peace should be maintained now the election is over.

The CRPB says it is concerned about the racist rhetoric and ethnic tension that is escalating in the national discourse, at present.

It is reminding political leaders and parties that they must continue to adhere to the Code of Ethical Political Conduct.

The full text of the release, follows…

MAINTAIN PEACE, RESPECT & TOLERANCE, AVOID DIVISIVENESS

The Council for Responsible Political Behaviour calls on all political parties, their leaders and supporters, to give highest value to respect, tolerance and peaceful relations among different citizens in Trinidad and Tobago.

We have noted, with grave concern, racist statements made by some members of the public and the feelings of ethnic tension and harm that these statements have inflamed, and condemn all forms of overt and covert racism.

Conversations about national issues should be conducted in a manner that avoids racial stereotyping, violence and conflict. The election was conducted peacefully, and such peace should be maintained, regardless of different political opinions and loyalties or precisely because such differences require that commitment to peace and ethical conduct are held in common.

The Council calls for all in the society to respect human rights, tolerate divergent opinions, and uphold citizens’ right to make political choices, and to avoid language and actions that promote hate, racism, denigration, and disrespect.

We call on all party leaders to send this message to the nation.

We also call on all Party leaders to abide by the Commitment they would have agreed to under Section 1 of the Code of Ethical Political Conduct. That section states:

The Parties, Coalitions and their Candidates agree to:

■  Maintain the highest moral principles and ethical standards with respect to their conduct during the campaign, the elections and the post-election period.

■  Promote and Enforce respect, tolerance, harmony and peace amongst their supporters and the general public during the campaign, the elections and in the post-election period by being positive role models.

■  Refrain from practices that promote divisiveness in the Society and commit to the removal of any structures (behavioural, cultural, social or organizational) which reinforce divisiveness.

■  Confine their criticism of other political parties to the policies and programmes, past record and work.

As we prepare to collectively weather a difficult period ahead, resulting from COVID-19, the Council hopes that citizens will makes these values their priority and the basis for nation-building that improves all of our lives.

Respectfully submitted on behalf of the Council,

Dr Bishnu Ragoonath (Chair)