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

Dr Bishnu Ragoonath, Chair, Council for Responsible Political Behaviour is encouraging all Political leaders, Candidates and supporters of political parties/candidates are encouraged to uphold the several commitments as listed in the Code. Details follow in this press release from Dr Ragoonath: 

As we approach the end of the campaign leading to the December 6, 2021 Tobago House of Assembly elections, it is acknowledged that thus far the campaign has been peaceful with minimal infringements to the Code of Ethical Political Conduct. With this backdrop, all Political leaders, Candidates and supporters of political parties/candidates are encouraged to uphold the several commitments as listed in the Code, all of which we have become accustomed to and which have defined our elections of the past. To reiterate, these commitments are: 

  • Uphold the Constitution and the spirit and letter of the laws relating to the holding of public activities and election campaigns. 
  • Maintain the highest moral principles and ethical standards with respect to their conduct during the campaign, the elections and the post-election period. 
  • Cooperate with the police in maintaining law and order during election campaigns. 
  • Promote and enforce respect, tolerance, harmony and peace amongst supporters in the remaining hours before the poll, as well as on election day and in the post-election period. 
  • 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. 

Alongside, these commitments, parties signing on to the Code had also agreed that certain conduct would be deemed prohibited. Again as we come to the election day, the Council would like to underscore some behaviour and practices which should be avoided. Amongst these are: 

  • Not offer any inducement or reward, for example money, groceries or other benefits, to another person to Vote or not to vote, or to vote or not to vote in any particular way 
  • Not engage, recruit, or deploy any individual(s) for the purpose of violence, intimidation or harassment, including intimidation by congregating in groups wearing similar identifiable colours at or near to election stations on election day. 
  • Not indulge in negative campaigning or advertising or any action which would bring the political process into disrepute. 
  • Not use language or act in a way that may provoke violence; or Intimidate Candidates, members of Parties, representatives or supporters of Parties or Candidates, or voters; or invite, encourage or foster hatred, resentment or any form of violence. 
  • Not seek to assassinate the character of or make defamatory comments about any individual, family, professional group or section of the community. 

Like in every contest, there will emerge winners and while the winners will celebrate, they should ensure that their victory celebrations are tempered so as to ensure that on the morning of December 7, 2021, all citizens, winners, as well as losers, will hold their heads high in consideration of a well fought election. Acknowledging that we will all continue to live in our common space of Trinidad and Tobago, let us ensure that we live in peace and harmony. 

In the context of the current pandemic, the word “live” takes on special meaning and in this regard the Council would also like to encourage all political parties, leaders, candidates and supporters to be mindful of the health regulations and protect yourselves, your family, neighbours, members of the community and all citizens from the COVID 19 virus.