Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar says she is unaware of the United National Congress political advertisements causing a racial furore on social media and in the People’s National Movement camp.
At a virtual People’s National Movement political meeting at Sangre Grande on Thursday night, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said the advertisements degraded Afro-Trinidadians by featuring them as being destitute and demanded that they be removed from circulation. He accused Persad-Bissessar of abusing black people “in the most disgusting and disgraceful way.”
But when asked about the ads before the start of a UNC motorcade at South Park yesterday, Persad-Bissessar said, “I don’t know which ad you are speaking about ma’am.”
Told that one of the advertisements was of a girl begging for assistance and being given bananas, she said, “To my knowledge that is not the UNC ad, so I don’t know what ads you are speaking about.”
Persad-Bissessar said she has seen some of the UNC ads but not all of them.
“Yes, I have seen many of the UNC ads but this particular one, look several of them I have not seen because I have been on the campaign trail.”
Asked whether she would be reviewing the advertisements, she said the team responsible for communications may review them. However, she accused the Rowley-led PNM of using distraction tactics to take away from the real issues facing people.
“You know we have two more days to go. We are on the eve of the election again, I make the point that the Rowley party is very desperate. I think they are smelling it that they are going to lose the elections and therefore sing anything they can to take distractions ways from the real issue the bread and butter issues of helping people,” Persad-Bissessar said.
“They fail to provide any plan as to how they will help people, as to how they will govern the country over the next five years.”
But Persad-Bissessar said she did not think the controversy over the advertisements would negatively impact their campaign. She said the overwhelming negativity in the country was over the poor performance of the Rowley party and people had made up their minds to vote them out.
Also responding to PNM claims that they were trying to bribe people to vote by giving them furniture and appliances, Persad-Bissessar said, “Total nonsense in my respectful view.”
She said the PNM started off with false claims that the UNC was giving people old one hundred dollar notes.
“And now they talking about stoves and fridges and so on. I know Jearlean John in the flooding wanted to help people because of flooding. It was not a bribe to buy votes. It is not the first time we have helped people who have been devastated by floods.”
However, she alleged that in Moruga/Tableland the PNM, thorough its HDC operatives, are giving out appliances to residents. Warning that it is illegal to try to secure votes with items whether it be money or appliances, she said such activities are considered election offences and should be reported to the police.
“It is not a question of just standing on a platform and making wild allegations, you need to make your reports to the police and have it dealt with as a matter of illegal activity and election offence.”
She, however, declined to comment on Justice James Aboud finding that there is sufficient evidence for the civil matter brought by the Estate Management and Business Development Company (EMBD) against Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal and five contractors to go to trial, saying it is still sub-judice.