SNR Supt Deonarine Basdeo said the United National Congress (UNC) was given permission to hold a motorcade in the Siparia constituency last evening at the same time the People’s National Movement (PNM) meeting at the Thick Village Community Centre.
The Opposition Leader said last night during the meeting that she did not know it was taking place.
He said both parties were aware of the two political events, and he told his officers to be on the alert for any possible incident as the December 2 local government elections kick into full gear.
“I would have spoken to my officers to ensure we had no sort of issue, and I was hoping better sense would have prevailed. But you know it is political silly season, so they (UNC) heckled a little bit, they played the music a little loud to disrupt the meeting but ASP Yearwood was there, he took charge and was able to stop the music and quell any tensions,” Basdeo told the Newsday.
He was commenting on a tense situation on Thursday night which police had to quell as the UNC led a motorcade outside the community centre while the PNM was holding a meeting inside and its political leader Dr Keith Rowley was on the platform.
Music blared loudly from the music truck which carried Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal. On the ground, UNC supporters, led by some flag-waving councillors of the Siparia Regional Corporation (SRC), shouted, “Rowley must go,Rowley must go.”
A few PNM supporters responded ,“Rowley must stay” as police led by ASP Yearwood intervened and stopped the motorcade. Yearwood ordered the music turned down before the motorcade passed the venue so as not to disrupt the meeting.
Persad-Bissessar, who spoke briefly to media from on top of the music truck, said she was unaware the PNM had a meeting there, and denied any intention to interrupt it.
She said the motorcade started around 3 pm and her party was simply following the route.
“We had a motorcade route and we are not stopping anything,” she said.
Basdeo said the UNC was aware of the meeting and to avoid any tension. could have passed the centre earlier.
“They were all over the constituency. They could have passed by the Thick Village Community centre earlier.
"But it’s the political silly season, you know,” he said.
Rowley also led a walkabout in the Otaheitie/Rousillac and La Brea areas in support of one of the new PNM candidates, Anand Ramsumair-Maharaj, before the meeting.
The PNM is hoping to take control of the SRC, which is under the control of the UNC.
This weekend the two major parties will hold rallies, the PNM at the Savannah and UNC in Couva, where they are expected to release their full slate of local government candidates.
Nomination Day is November 11.