The PNM Tobago Council has slammed the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) for a "desperate" election campaign ploy to "gain relevance".
In a press release on Thursday, the PNM Council, led by chairman Stanford Callender, categorically denied claims by PDP minority councillor Faith BYisrael that the PNM was threatening to fire Cepep and URP workers if they did not vote for them in the 2020 national elections.
At a press conference on Wednesday, days before the PDP launched its 2020 election campaign, BYisrael described the scenario as "modern day slavery" and said Cepep ad URP workers were scared to answer their phones to talk to PDP members, believing their phones might be tapped.
"This (voting) is not a decision that should be made under threat, this is not a decision that should be made where your bread and butter is being threatened. It is disturbing and we are asking everyone who knows they are doing this to please stop,” she said,
The PNM Tobago Council, responding the very next day with a press release, said the PDP was telling a "boldfaced lie."
Callender said, "Yet again, the PDP has demonstrated that it is nothing more than a desperate, hypocritical and disingenuous band of miscreants. The Tobago Council of the PNM wishes to forcefully, publicly and vehemently reject the baseless claims that our organisation has resorted to threatening workers."
He added, "In a cheap attempt to gain relevance and free publicity for their dictatorial 'Big Three', the self-proclaimed deputy political leader of the PDP, Faith BYisreal, made spurious and scandalous allegations about the PNM threatening workers in the CEPEP and URP programmes. This is nothing short of an unoriginal and boldfaced lie."
Callender vehemently defended the Tobago PNM's character, saying the Kelvin Charles-led party has a track record of empowering and uplifting workers, not threatening them.
"It is well known that the current PNM administration in the Tobago House of Assembly and the Central Government, have worked assiduously to ensure that the employees of these programmes are empowered through training and development opportunities. The Minister of Finance went further to increase the remuneration package of these workers by 15 per cent in the recent budget."
Callender stressed his party was not in the business of utilising underhand tactics when it comes to elections.
"The PNM has always maintained that any election should be free and fair and free from fear. This is a philosophy that we hold sacred and will encourage all other political entities to adopt."