MINISTER in the Office of the Prime Minister Stuart Young yesterday rejected allegations from Opposition Senator Wade Mark that the People’s National Movement (PNM) is defacing United National Congress (UNC) election posters in the Belmont East district.
He made his comments after he accompanied PNM Belmont East candidate Nicole Young to file her nomination papers at the Elections and Boundaries Commission’s (EBC) office on Henry Street in Port of Spain. Young (Nicole) and her UNC and Progressive Empowerment Party (PEP) rivals, Liana Babb-Gonzales and Felicia Holder respectively, were all confident of victory in the Belmont East by-election on July 16.
Speaking with reporters outside the EBC office, Minister Young said, “Yesterday (Sunday) when I went through Belmont. I made a complete rounds of Belmont yesterday. It’s quite the opposite.”
He is also PNM MP for Port of Spain North/St Ann’s West. Belmont East is part of that constituency. “PNM never engages in that kind of dirty campaigning. There is certainly no need for PNM in Belmont East to engage in anything but clean campaigning.” On the by-election result in Belmont East, Young predicted, “It’s going to be a clean sweep (for PNM). If they get more than 50 votes they (UNC) would have achieved something.”
Asked if he would condemn PNM supporters if they were found to be involved in the defacing of rival parties’ election paraphernalia, Young replied, “Of course. Absolutely.”
He did not see the outcome of the by-election as a referendum on the Government. “We’re not concerned about that. The Government continues to do all of its work despite all of the noise from the UNC. We expect them to continue making a lot of vacuous noise.”
Mark claimed, “The PNM is conducting a very dirty campaign.” He further alleged the PNM hired thugs to pull down and paint over UNC posters. UNC supporters showed the media photos of torn posters. “We are not doing that to the PNM,” Mark said. Claiming this has been happening over the last ten days, Mark said, “This is a police matter.” The UNC, Mark said, would talk to the police and the EBC. All the candidates listed employment, infrastructure and safety as their priorities should they be elected councillor.
Promising to give the community something different from the “same old PNM, UNC politics,” Holder said, “My campaign is speaking with the people.” As someone from the community and being born with only one arm, Holder said she empathised with the people and hoped to bring real change, should she be elected.