PNM wary of fake news in internal elections

TOBAGO PNM BIGWIGS: (From left) Assemblyman Ancil Dennis, PRO Kwesi Des Vignes and Chairman Stanford Callender. -
TOBAGO PNM BIGWIGS: (From left) Assemblyman Ancil Dennis, PRO Kwesi Des Vignes and Chairman Stanford Callender. -

People's National Movement (PNM) Tobago Council PRO Kwesi Des Vignes has urged Tobagonians and the media to be wary of those "who have absolutely no business commenting on the legitimate business of the PNM," in the run up to their January 19, 2020 internal election.

"We are seeing people who would have attained positions in other political organisations, whether by proxy, by farce, by election, attempting to comment on or influence the opinions of the public using social media," he said on Friday during a news conference at the party's headquarters in Scarborough.

"We live in a strange time with social media and besides fake news, we are plagued by fake profiles as well and we are seeing a lot more fake profiles being activated in the Tobago space."

He added: "Social media becomes one great big echo chamber sometimes and if it is put out there what people are saying, all of a sudden that becomes the universal truth."

Des Vignes, who is also Secretary for Infrastructure, Quarries and the Environment, said he has seen instances in which people post statuses on Facebook claiming they are moving to another country.

"You see the reactions and that is just a testament to the power of social media. And we are seeing persons commenting and saying that people are saying or the masses are saying and that is translating somehow to a universal truth."

Coincidentally, Des Vignes, on August 30, had made a social media post of his own, talking about potentially migrating. In a response to a Twitter user saying, " If y'all make Duke Prime Minister or event just Chief Sec, I'll never forgive y'all," Des Vignes laid out a 4-point plan if that ever occurred.

"1. Pack essentials only in backpack, 2. Jump on a plane to anywhere, 3. Burn passport, 4. Apply for refugee status," he posted.

On Friday Des Vignes said the party is aware of the interest being generated by the upcoming election.

Tobago Council chairman Stanford Callender said while there are "mischief-makers" who comment about what they consider to be the undemocratic manner in which things are being done in the PNM, the party, under his leadership, "continues to practice democracy to its fullest and we will do that as long as we exist.

"It is because of those structures we have within the organisation that we are 63 years old," he added.
(with reporting by Stephon Nicholas)


"PNM wary of fake news in internal elections"

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