People's National Movement (PNM) Tobago Council vice chairman Wendell Berkeley has urged candidates to behave themselves in the run-up to the January 19 internal election.
"I want to appeal, as I keep doing all the time, to all candidates, to stay within the realm of good behaviour and at least observe the code of conduct," he said last Friday during a news conference at the council's headquarters in uptown Scarborough.
A total of 45 candidates are vying for executive positions on the party's Tobago Council.
They include four hopefuls for the position of political leader: THA Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles; Deputy Chief Secretary and Secretary for Finance and the Economy Joel Jack, former THA presiding officer Dr Denise Tsoiafatt Angus and TT Ambassador to Costa Rica Tracy Davidson-Celestine
Berkeley, who is contesting the post of chairman on the Davidson-Celestine slate, said all the candidates signed a code of conduct by which they should abide. He urged them to revisit the code.
"I just like to ask people to go back and read it a bit. Sometimes, when you are preparing to go and do your canvassing, take a read of your code of conduct before you leave home in the morning so that it stays fresh in your mind. But, more importantly, because most of us have been through elections and most of us understand what the drill is."
Berkeley said over-zealous supporters could derail a candidate's campaign.
"Sometimes the enthusiasm of your supporters sometimes cause things to get shifty. And I really want to ask candidates and their agents to try to keep an eye on your supporters and to defuse any matter or situation that may come up. Defuse it early so that we don't have a carrying-over."
Berkeley, who is also chairman of the PNM's Tobago East constituency, told reporters there may be instances in which a candidate may be trying to solicit some votes "but there are some supporters somewhere up the road making some confusion."
He added: "We can't be everywhere and every time, so I really want to ask candidates...every now and then, to have a brief chat with their supporters or ground staff to ensure that we all continue to behave in the way in which good PNM people behave."
Berkeley recalled there were no untoward incidents in the last internal election in 2016.
"I don't expect any incidents now because people are more mature now. But sometimes things happen."