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COP - concern over race-based hate, distrust in THA election

THE Congress of the People (COP) is today expressing concern over the emergence, during the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) election, of race-based hate and distrust.

The COP, a member of the Peoples Partnership coalition government, also warned of the promotion of discord between the islands and the violence during the election campaign.

The Peoples National Movement last night won all 12 seats in the THA election, defeating the candidates of the Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP), a coalition partner.

The COP, which did participate in the campaign in Tobago, issued a press statement, signed by Political Leader Prakash Ramadhar,
noting the PNM's victory.

"The PNM has achieved a clean sweep of the elections to the Tobago House of Assembly. The Congress of the People congratulates
all the successful candidates in their respective electoral districts.
The outcome of these elections has produced a new unfettered
administration in the THA, without any official minority opposition
to provide a check and balance", stated the COP.

"This development is challenging in the context of development
of our democracy and for good governance. Similar to the situation in the national Parliament after the 1971 General Elections and opposition no-vote campaign, the people Tobago must now
act as the vigilant check and balance on almost absolute power".

The COP also stated that it was "deeply concerned about certain developments in these elections which, if ignored, can become dangerous to the unity of the country and the people".

The COP stated that its concern is based on the emergence of negative and divisive trends including, "the sowing of distrust and hate on the basis of race, the promotion of dangerous inter-island discord, and the emergence of significant incidence of hostile and violent behaviour, thankfully not on a widespread a scale".

The COP stated that it would do its part to ensure that" the unity of our
people is not disrupted for the gains of any political party or minority interest".

"We call on the people of Trinidad and Tobago and all political parties to defend and promote the unity of our society and stop any attempt to plunge our peaceful land into any form of destructive divisive thinking
or action", stated the COP.
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