Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 25th 2013 Contents A6
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, October 25, 2013
National Security Minister
Gary Griffith yesterday mandated
a heavy police presence at all
political meetings in the build-
up to the St Joseph by-election
on November 4.
He gave the directive after a
meeting with the police top brass.
"I have given immediate
instructions that the police would
be out in full force at every political
meeting, cottage meetings, walk-
abouts and any other kind of public gathering
which any political party may have as the St
Joseph by-election draws closer.
"I have asked all political parties to submit
the dates and times of all their meetings either
to me or to the police commissioner," Griffith
This comes in the wake of a supporter of
the United National Congress (UNC) repeatedly
punching a resident through a car window dur-
ing a walkabout in St Joseph on Wednesday.
Asked whether the police would be taking
any action against the assailant, Griffith said
no official report had been made.
Party activists were locked into a polling
station at Aranguez during a hotly contested
recount on Wednesday evening while UNC
and PNM supporters congregated outside.
The UNC walkabout was not the only one
plagued by incidents of physical and verbal
abuse. Independent Liberal party (ILP) can-
didate Om Lalla's supporters also had to deal
with minor incidents as they crossed paths
with opposing party supporters during their
Griffith said a heavy police presence would
also be maintained on the day of the by-elec-
tion and warned that any act of violence would
not be tolerated.
"Any minister of national security and in
fact every law abiding citizen would and should
condemn any act of violence. During an elec-
tion campaign whichever political
party supporter is involved, is
totally irrelevant. It is unaccept-
able and should not be condoned
in an way," Griffith said.
Public relations officer for the
PNM Senator Faris Al-Rawi said
his party had "noted with horror"
the altercation on Wednesday.
Saying the PNM condemned
any form of violence Al-Rawi
said such incidents could fetter
the freedom of speech and free-
dom of political affiliation which
were enshrined in the Constitution.
"Trinidad remembers all too well the murder
which took place at the end of the by-election
in Chaguanas West and we pray that all political
parties will be joining the PNM in condemning
any form of political violence during this cam-
paign and at all," Al-Rawi added.
Chairman of the Independent Liberal Party
(ILP) former UNC senator Robin Montano
said Wednesday's incident was a sad day for
the country and had no place either in the
political landscape or in a civilised society.
"I am certain that all right-thinking persons,
regardless of their political colour, whether
red, yellow or green, condemn such behaviour
and such an incident," he said.
"I would like to call on all right-thinking
persons in the country to condemn outright
this type of behaviour. I also call on the all
the leaders of every single party to condemn
it."He said he would not single out whether
the incident was typical of a particular party.
"Most certainly if it was an ILP supporter
I would have no hesitation in saying exactly
what I said and I expect the UNC hierarchy
would condemn it out of hand and say that
they disapprove of this kind of behaviour
absolutely," Montano said.
He said he would be "very sad" if UNC
leader Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar
did not admonish this type of action.
Independent Liberal Party candidate for
St Joseph, attorney Om Lalla, in a brief
interview with the media said he was not
losing focus of the core issues: unemploy-
ment and proper representation during his
campaign for St Joseph.
With one music truck, two men on a
motorcycles and several decorated cars, the
ILP continued it's bid for the St Joseph seat
with an enthusiastic presence in the Aranjuez
Lalla, ILP interim leader Jack Warner, and
a group of supporters walked from John
Dulam Street on the main road, turned onto
Satar Street and continued along Boundary
Road Extension, meeting residents and taking
names of those supportive of the party.
Despite the late start and somewhat ham-
pered by rain, Lalla's group of supporters
brought traffic to a standstill along the busy
Commenting on reports of violence on
the campaign trail during Wednesday's walk-
about, Warner said he was unaware that it
had transpired, saying that he too was staying
focused on the issues facing the residents.
Griffith wants it clean in St Joseph...
Cops in full force
ILP political leader Jack Warner, left, and the party's St Joseph candidate Om Lalla greet
residents during their walkabout in Aranguez yesterday. PHOTO: BRIAN NG FATT
Lalla plans to focus on
issues facing residents
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