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General => General Discussion => Topic started by: zuluwarrior on September 06, 2014, 07:41:59 AM

Title: PM, Ramadhar no show at signing of election code
Post by: zuluwarrior on September 06, 2014, 07:41:59 AM
PM, Ramadhar no show at signing of election code

Renuka Singh
Friday, September 5, 2014

Archbishop Joseph Harris is greeted by founder of ILP Jack Warner and chairman of COP Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan after the signing of a code of conduct of political parties yesterday at the archbishop’s residence, Queen's Park West, Port-of-Spain. Looking on, from left, are co-ordinator of the Network of NGOs of T&T for the Advancement of Women Hazel Brown, CWU president Joseph Remy, acting chairman of the UNC Kadisha Ameen, Anglican Archbishop Claude Berkley, PNM leader Dr Keith Rowley, deputy chairman of COP Nicole Dyer Griffith and PNM chairman Franklin Khan. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
Leader of the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) David Abdulah yesterday challenged his political colleagues to verbally agree to ratify party financing in order to stop political favours to financial supporters. Abdulah’s call came after yesterday’s signing of a Code of Ethical Political Conduct by all the major political parties and civil groups. The code is the result of a union of church, state and civil groups and is expected to be used as guidelines for politicians. “We came up with a voluntary agreement before the 2015 election to address party financing, if not in general at least in campaign financing, voluntarily. It can become law sometime thereafter. It is a challenge that I am throwing out,” he said.

The charter, officiated by Archbishop Joseph Harris and co-chaired by T&T Transparency Institute head, Deryck Murray, was signed by representatives of all the major political parties at the residence of the Archbishop, Queen’s Park West yesterday. PNM leader Dr Keith Rowley, who has just returned from London, attended and signed the charter on behalf of his party as did Independent Liberal Party (ILP) leader Lyndira Oudit. Oudit, during her short contribution, criticised the absence of the leaders of the Government’s major coalition partners, the United National Congress (UNC) and the Congress of the People (COP).

Though both parties were represented, Oudit said while Rowley and Abdulah attended the important meeting, UNC leader Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and COP leader Prakash Ramadhar were noticeably absent. “What this signifies is that we are taking ownership of the governance procedure and the process of governance. We are no longer leaving it in the hands of few electives every five years,” Oudit said. She described the code as “significant.” She added: “I find it very instructive that two political leaders, while the representatives are here, I think it is instructive that at this time the significance of the political leader signing at this time would have signaled a synchronisation of genuine effort going forward.”

The five-part charter outlines a prohibited code of conduct that includes:
• No use of State resources for political campaigning.
• Not offering any inducement or reward to anyone joining a political party.
• Not use language to provoke violence or make false or defamatory allegations.

Section Three refers to the media and all parties agreed to refrain from using State advertising to induce media support and also to ensure that all parties participated in at least two live, televised public debates. Each of the represented parties will nominate one member which will form a council. Those nominees are expected to be named by September 26 when Archbishop Harris returns to T&T. The council is expected to oversee and enforce the code.

Title: Re: PM, Ramadhar no show at signing of election code
Post by: zuluwarrior on September 06, 2014, 07:47:36 AM
Kamla, Prakash ‘did not blank code signing’
By \\\\\Joel Julien
Story Created: Sep 5, 2014 at 10:01 PM ECT
Story Updated: Sep 5, 2014 at 10:01 PM ECT
PRIME Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Legal Affairs Minister Prakash Ramadhar did not blank the signing of the Code of Ethical Political Conduct, a release from the Office of the Prime Minister stated yesterday.

Persad-Bissessar and Ramadhar, who are the political leaders of the United National Congress (UNC) and the Congress of the People (COP) respectively, were both absent from the signing ceremony which took place on Thursday because of their Cabinet responsibilities, the release stated.

The Code is a nine-page document which was produced by a committee of civil society representatives chaired by Roman Catholic Archbishop Joseph Harris.

It is expected to achieve four objectives: foster democracy, promote respect of human rights, encourage participation in the electoral process and promote an election process free from violence.

The signing of the Code took place at the residence and office of Harris located at Queen’s Park West in Port of Spain at 4 p.m. on Thursday.

Five political parties were represented at the event; the People’s National Movement (PNM), the Independent Liberal Party (ILP), the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ), the UNC and the COP.

Dr Keith Rowley, Lyndira Oudit and David Abdulah, the political leaders of the PNM, ILP and MSJ respectively were present at the signing ceremony.

Oudit slammed the absence of Persad-Bissessar and Ramadhar from the ceremony.

The Express published an article highlighting this.

The Office of the Prime Minister yesterday issued a release to explain Persad-Bissessar’s absence.

“As the media was well aware, the weekly sitting of the Cabinet was held on the 18th floor of the San Fernando Teaching Hospital, San Fernando on Thursday September 4, 2014,” it stated.

Persad-Bissessar chaired that meeting.

The Cabinet meeting “concluded around 4 p.m. the same appointed time of the signing of the Code of Ethics at Archbishop’s House, Port of Spain”, the release stated.

The post-Cabinet press briefing was held afterwards.

“It was therefore virtually impossible for the Honourable Prime Minister to be in two places at the same time,” the release stated.

“The Honourable Prakash Ramadhar, Minister of Legal Affairs and political leader of the Congress of the People was at the same Cabinet meeting and therefore unable to be at the signing,” it stated.

Minister of Public Administration Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan represented the COP at the signing ceremony in her position as party chairman.

The UNC was represented by its acting chairman Khadijah Ameen.

“The United National Congress (UNC) of which Mrs Persad-Bissessar is the political leader was duly represented by its acting chairman Khadijah Ameen,” the release