True or false?
After People’s National Movement (PNM) officials alleged the United National Congress (UNC) was paying people $300 for their vote, the UNC has, in turn, accused the PNM of being behind a video showing a person with a UNC T-shirt and money inside of it.
The video surfaced on social media yesterday, showing a man, whose face is not shown, unwrapping a yellow UNC jersey which allegedly contained $300 in assorted notes. The man urged people to come out to paint the town yellow.
Yesterday, the PNM also said they had received reports from people—including from La Horquetta and Laventille West—that they were offered yellow T-shirts with money in it.
A UNC statement yesterday said the party had taken note of the video circulating on social media. “The video was no doubt created in an attempt to add credence to Keith Rowley’s bogus claims the UNC has been engaging in buying votes.
“The UNC condemns this blatant attempt by the PNM and their operatives to accuse the UNC of this shameful act. We also call on the PNM to condemn this, as we should be focusing on the real issues affecting the people,” the UNC said.
On whether the UNC found any tangible PNM effort behind the video, UNC PRO Anita Haynes said it was strange the video followed Rowley’s claims that the UNC was paying people $300 for votes.
“And no one even asked for proof of that claim. We ignored him in the first instance…we went through Emailgate. So we know they’d say anything to win,” Haynes said.
“The UNC urged our candidates to follow party guidelines to continue a safe, ethical, respectful and honourable campaign. UNC also urged voters to “… Ask real questions of their candidates —what are their plans for job creation? Crime control? Our children’s future?’’
However, PNM PRO Laurel Lezama-Lee Sing denied the party had any hand in the video.
“We have also seen the video. It’s on social media and it was referred to me. But that video wasn’t done by PNM,” Lezama-Lee Sing told Guardian Media.
“However, we’ve had a number of people—some of whom may or may not be PNM supporters—who over the last two weeks have expressed disgust with the fact that some of them were offered T-shirts and in this was $300. They received yellow T-shirts. Some said they were offered this to go and walk with people.
“But some of the people said they rejected it outright and others said they took the money and told (those offering it) to go. Every election you hear of this coming from the UNC—it’s a party tactic. We condemn these types of offers and won’t be distracted and we encourage people to focus on the issues.”
Lezama-Lee Sing couldn’t give specifics beyond saying reports came from La Horquetta and Laventille West. She said PNM was logging the reports.