Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 18th 2013 Contents A11
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United National Con-
gress (UNC) candidate
Khadijah Ameen has
called on Opposition
Leader Dr Keith Rowley
to stop using race as a
weapon in his party s
campaign for the
Chaguanas West by-elec-
She made the comment
during a function hosted
by National Commission
for Self Help Ltd at the
Devi Mandir in Chaguanas
Describing herself as
being mixed, she said
there was no room for race
talks on the campaign trail.
"I believe I am the
woman," she said.
"I have heritage that I
am very proud of and no
politician should target a
person based on race. So
trying to imply that my
campaign has some sort
of racial overtones or
should focus on the issues
and not on anybody s
Ameen admitted to
being surprised when told
about Rowley s statement,
during the PNM s Mon-
day walkabout in the
Chaguanas West con-
stituency, that her cam-
paign was using "racial
She said she would not
endorse that type of cam-
paigning, as she herself
was not of one race.
When asked about the
campaign so far, Ameen
said she only saw the peo-
ple she wanted to serve,
but was disturbed by the
"What I am horrified
by is the fact that more
and more as we walk,
people who are cam-
paigning with me are
being targeted by other
people...they are being
intimidated by other
people," she said.
She said she would not
get involved in mudsling-
ing or "any kind of bac-
CHARLES KONG SOO
It s too late for the T&T Debates Commission
(TTDC) to host a debate on the upcoming Chaguanas
West by-election, the commission s project leader,
Catherine Kumar, says.
Speaking in a telephone interview on Tuesday, Kumar
said: "We really don t have the time to do this, you re
talking about something just around the corner.
"We re already in mid-July and we would have had
to start planning and already assigned a production
team much earlier," she said.
"It s really too late to look to do the by-election for
Chaguanas West, definitely, but we re already planning
for the local government elections.
"So we ve already begun work. A date hasn t been
called, but we know it s due before October 26 and
therefore we ve begun work talking with the media,
actually talking with the parties and getting their com-
mitment, so the project has already started."
The call for a national debate ahead of the July 29
by-election had come from Independent Liberal Party
leader Jack Warner, who challenged the UNC earlier in
In a release on Monday, the commission had also
said it would not be possible to host the debate because
of budgetary constraints and that its current focus was
to produce made-for-television debates for wider national
events such as general elections, local government elec-
tions and the Tobago House of Assembly elections.
On Tuesday, Kumar said the commission was still
trying to pursue funding internationally via bodies such
as NGOs and this may change their fortunes for a by-
election debate if it came in time. She said the TTDC
had tried several sources before and had not been suc-
cessful, but had not given up on that avenue.
In the interim, Kumar said the commission was
appealing to corporate T&T for financial support.
"And if funds do come our way, we may change our
position. But for now the decision is we will only host
elections that impact more at a national level," she said.
She said to stage such an event would cost approx-
imately three quarters of a million dollars and could go
over that figure, depending on how much additional
assistance was received from sources such as the media.
She said it was quite costly to stage such an event
and a significant part of that cost went towards the
production aspects, such as the set, audio equipment,
lighting and the production of a show. Kumar said a
significant amount was also spent on advertising and
marketing before the actual debate.
Staff to manage the event was another cost factor,
but was not as significant since the Chamber of Com-
merce acted as the secretariat.
Commission: Too late to
host by-election debate
Ameen responds to Rowley:
No room for race on campaign trail
"I also notice there is
a concentrated effort to
attack my character," she
"There is an effort to
get personal and to per-
sonalise these attacks.
What is more relevant---
the people of this con-
stituency or your own
rejected attacks from a
whom she did not iden-
tify by name.
"And it is abhorrent
enough to be my grand-
father attacking me in
the worst way, person-
ally," she said.
"But you know what,
my focus will be on the
people and I will not lose
Her reference, how-
ever, seemed to point to
her former colleague Jack
Warner, who is running
against her for the seat.
Warner has promised to
expose Ameen during a
Ameen said her cam-
paign was gaining
momentum and she felt
"When I walk and I
meet people, that is
where I measure. I really
do not focus on the
meetings and what hap-
pens in the media. My
focus is on the people
on the ground," she said.
"As I walk, I don t just
ask people for support.
I have been gathering
their concerns and their
Independent Liberal Party Leader Jack Warner interacts with supporters during a
walkabout at Warner Village, Charlieville, Chaguanas, on Monday. Warner is one
of six candidates who will be vying for the Chaguanas West post in the July 29
by-election. PHOTO: SHASTRI BOODAN
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