Political leader of the Progressive Empowerment Party Phillip Edward Alexander believes violence is creeping into the election campaign trail through gangster politics.
Alexander, who was speaking at the opening of the PEP’s Media Briefing Centre and Campaign Headquarters, condemned the actions recently seen in a video, which depicted a man in a People’s National Movement jersey physically assaulting people seated in a vehicle wearing colours associated with the United National Congress.
The headquarters is at Quad Row Building, Park Street, Port-of-Spain.
“We are seeing that manifest itself on the ground more and more. There is a video that was circulating of these political supporters manhandling others in traffic, and there were two other incidents like that that there weren’t video for so it didn’t get a chance to make social media but we’ve been seeing the advocate of gangster politics,” said Alexander.
He said in the constituency he’s contesting, Diego Martin North East, he was alarmed by the behaviour of UNC candidate Eli Zakour and his supporters, claiming that Zakour was verbally abusive towards one of his PEP members when confronted about his actions.
Alexander also raised concerns about vandalism by UNC members during the campaign as well as the destruction of PEP campaign material.
“On the lamp poles, on the roads and on the bridges, we are seeing violent graffiti, we are seeing abuse of the communities. People’s properties are being painted up yellow, so far not red.”
He added, “There have been acts of political vandalism, we’ve lost so far in the constituency that I am contesting six very expensive banners and we have opted to go with the banners so that we could put them up and take them down after the election without the community being defaced and untidy.”
When contacted yesterday, Zakour said he would be consulting his attorney and will issue a statement on the matter today.
Alexander also announced his intention to write President Paula-Mae Weekes again to ask for a postponement of the polls.
“Our COVID-19 cases that currently have the country in fear right as community spread ravages through the country is going to cause a problem for our elderly and infirm on election day,” he said.
Alexander also dismissed the potential attempt to void Barry Paradath’s candidacy for the UNC in Princes Town due to a discrepancy in his registration, labelling it as “cheap and dirty politics.”
“It is using COVID-19 conveniently and we will have none of that. We will not support that,” said Alexander.