PROGRESSIVE Party political leader and prospective candidate for San Fernando West Nikoli Edwards has renewed his call for a live debate among the three candidates for the constituency.
Edwards, in a media release on Monday, said the Prime Minister and the PNM had "one final opportunity to demonstrate to the people of this country that they believe an equal platform to be heard is key to our democracy and that public debates are an important step in this direction."
He said the PNM government has failed to make good on its manifesto promise to deliver campaign finance legislation which would have been crucial to levelling the political landscape.
"Had the Prime Minister and his Government been serious about this, the Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill 2020 would have been brought to the Parliament much earlier than it was and bec(o)me law."
Edwards said in October 2019 he called for debates among the leaders of all political parties and this was met with large public approval and anticipation. He added that in February 2020 he called for debates among the candidates contesting the San Fernando West seat in the upcoming general election.
"It is my understanding that both the PNM’s candidate, incumbent MP Faris Al-Rawi, and UNC's candidate, Sean Sobers, are willing to debate. If so, members of the media should have both men state their position for the record.
"Further, a media house should take up the challenge of hosting the debate which will bring about a surge in viewership and set the tone for future debates."
Edwards said an election where candidates cannot face off in a controlled environment with a moderator to answer pressing questions will never be fair, as facts are rarely checked and unfounded accusations remain unaddressed when candidates speak in "silos."
"As the youngest candidate in the San Fernando West race," he declared, "I am up to the challenge of debating the PNM and UNC candidates, both of whom have served in the Senate, like I have, and who pose no threat of intimidation to the plans I have for my constituency."