MEDIA RELEASE - JULY 10th, 2020

 

 

STATEMENT ON THE COUNCIL'S DELIBERATION

 

With August 10, 2020, having been given as the day when the country goes to the polls it can be said that the election campaign has begun in earnest. Political parties and candidates have less than a month to win the support of the citizenry. The shortness of the campaign may drive the adoption of strategies which may be inimical to the Code of Ethical Political Conduct. Political parties, candidates and supporters are reminded that party leaders have themselves signed on to the Code and thus are expected to uphold the principles and tenets of the Code, amongst which are to:

  • Maintain the highest moral principles and ethical standards with respect to their conduct during the campaign

  • Promote and enforce respect, tolerance, harmony and peace amongst their supporters and the general public during the campaign

  • Refrain from practices that promote divisiveness in the Society and commit to the removal of any structures which reinforce divisiveness.

  • Take deliberate steps to publicly disassociate themselves from criminal elements and criminal activity.

  • Confine their criticism of other Political Parties to policies and programmes, past record and work

In reminding Parties, candidates and supporters of these commitments as establishedin the Code of Ethical Political Conduct, the Council for Responsible Political Behaviour would, once again, like to reiterate that parties and their leaders/candidates have a critical role in advancing the ethical conduct and integrity of the electoral process. Parties, their leaders and candidates are expectedto avoid prohibited conduct. In signing on to the Code, Party leaders, candidates and, by extension, their members agreed to:

  • Not discriminate on the grounds of race, ethnicity, sex, gender, class, religion or belief,

  • Not make false or defamatory allegations in print or speech in connection with an election in respect of a Party, its Candidates, representatives or members.

  • Not use language or act in a way that may –

    • Provoke violence; or

    • Intimidate Candidates, members of Parties, representatives or supporters of Parties or Candidates, or voters; or

    • Invite, encourage or foster hatred, resentment or any form of violence.

  • Not seek to assassinate the character of or make defamatory comments about any individual, family, professional group or section of the community.

  • Not threaten or cause any persons to be threatened

The Council is also reminding the Political parties and Candidates that they must exercise a level of responsibility. The Code specifically requests that Political leaders and candidates should ensure that their conduct is above reproach. They must also make the Code known to supporters so as to promote adherence to the Code by all citizens.

Be that as it may, the Council again invites members of the public to visit its website www.politicalethicstt.org to view the Code it its entirety. While the primary role of the Council is to monitor and evaluate adherence to the Code, in the context of the extensive use of social media, the Council admits to being challenged in effectively monitoring social media, and in this context the Council is appealing to the citizenry at large to please bring to our attention any possible violations of the Code. Reports of such possible violations, along with any possible evidence of the violations should be emailed to the Council at info@politicalethicstt.org.

Respectfully submitted on behalf of the Council,

 

Dr. Bishnu Ragoonath, Chair