CANDIDATES for the Congress of the People in the upcoming local government elections have dwindled from 18 to nine, and the party believes they may have been bribed to drop out.
Speaking at a media conference today at the COP's Evans Street, Curepe office, chairman of the party Lonsdale Williams said it had received information that votes are also being paid for, at $300 per voter, for candidates belonging to other political parties.
He warned that COP supporters had informed the party of this, and it would be recording the offers and handing over the evidence to both the media and police.
Political leader of the party Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan said it had had 18 candidates ready to contest the election.
The day before nomination day, four candidates dropped out, and on the day itself, four others dropped out, with one more the party is unsure about.
Asked if the candidates were bribed, and how much, Williams and Seepersad-Bachan could not say,but added that they saw changes and are aware of bribery allegations.
Williams said one of the candidates told them their boss had said they could not contest the election. He added that this is not legal.
Seepersad-Bachan said her candidates are at a disadvantage, given the party's stance that any money for campaigning must be used to better the community, rather than paying for music trucks and the like that other parties engaged in. She added that the COP did not believe in buying votes.