Hours after a video surfaced on social media purporting to be of United National Congress (UNC) candidate for the Toco/Sangre Grande Nabila Greene lying on a bed being showered with money, Greene said if the person in the video turns out to be her, she sees nothing wrong with the clip.
While the party has seen the video, UNC’s PRO Anita Haynes told Guardian Media last night it was “it neither here or there to us because it is not an election issue.”
Haynes blamed their rival the People’s National Movement for tarnishing the names and reputations of their female candidates and for the August 10 general election has been no different.
UNC political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar said she was not aware of the video.
“I haven’t seen it. I don’t know about it. We are in the silly season. I am never surprised by anything. I am confident in my candidates, all my candidates.”
During a walkabout in the constituency yesterday, Guardian Media questioned Greene about whether she was the person identified in a 30-second video.
Greene, in the presence of attorney Joseph Toney and the party’s coordinator for the constituency, said she was not too sure about the contents of the video.
Pressed if it was her in the video, Greene said she had not seen it.
Guardian Media showed Greene a copy of the video, but she claimed that the footage was a bit dark.
Greene, who arrived two hours late for her walkabout, said she was in a rush and needed to leave with her supporters.
“So I will have time to look at it good.”
Told that the man who kept showering her with the money called out the name “Miss Greene” the UNC candidate questioned, “Am I the only Miss Greene?”
Greene said she would have time to look at the video later, but could not say if it was her or not, again stating that she was running late.
“I will have time to look through it and I will have the person in charge of this, release something to the media.”
Pressed by the media about it she felt there was a political plot against her, Greene said, “it is quite possible.”
Greene said she was resilient.
Pressed when she would be able to determine if it was her or not in the video, Greene said “by tonight. I will have time to look at it carefully and then I would have the PRO, that is, send you a release.”
Questioned if the video turns out to be her, Greene replied, “If it is me. I don’t see the person doing anything illegal there. That person looks like they are in the comfort of their home with money.”
The video showed a woman, clad in a bra and lying on her back with a white sheet drawn under her breastbone being showered with $100 and $50 bills by a male, whose face was not shown.
As the money landed on her chest, face and bed, the woman who was giggling and smiling was heard asking for “a little bit more” of the cash.
The man complied by throwing more money at her remarking “a little bit more” as the woman continued to chuckle and smile touching the countless bills.
Haynes, in defence, said there was “nothing in the video that debars someone from holding office. The goal there is to shame someone. Whoever is in the video…the intent is to create shame. And that shame will prevent you from running and will prevent you from representing your people.”
Admitting that she and the party had seen the video, Haynes said it pains her to give a comment on this issue because she has said repeatedly that taking things from social media that had no impact on governance issues and making them into new stories “really puts us on a slippery slope.”
She said videos like that “are irrelevant and should not take away” from the fact that people are suffering in T&T.
“Our job here is not to confirm or deny any video. Our job here is to say that these things do not matter. And we ought not to make them matter in terms of governance.”
She said it had become habitual to see damaging videos of only female candidates, which dissuades women from running for office.
Haynes said such personal attacks must stop.
“I find the population should treat that with outrage.”
Haynes insisted that the PNM would go to great lengths to blemish the reputation of their female candidates, insisting that the UNC has been fighting a clean campaign.
She said there were a number of nameless and faceless people who use social media to attack and tarnish people’s character, which the party could not control.