Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Councillor prevented from entering complex

TOP flags on vehicle...


REFUSED ENTRY: Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) Councillor Yvette Parks-Caruth's vehicle was blocked last Friday from entering the Victor E Bruce Complex in Tobago as her vehicle was adorned with political flags. She was told to remove them to gain access. She refused. —Photo: Elizabeth Williams

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A vehicle driven by Councillor Yvette Parks-Caruth was prevented from entering the Victor E Bruce Financial Complex in Scarborough, Tobago, last Friday, because a number of Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) flags were on her vehicle.

Parks-Caruth told the Sunday Express she was in the process of driving into the yard to deliver an application form on behalf of her 94-year-old uncle who is visually impaired, but was stopped at the gate of the complex by security officials.

She said she was told she could not enter, since her vehicle was adorned with political flags.

"The security said even if I let you in with that you have to take off the flags. I say 'what is wrong with the flags, you cannot enter with these flags'? This is a democratic place," Parks-Caruth said.

She said there was no law governing the use of political paraphernalia in the country, only on election day.

She is calling the incident an infringement of her constitutional rights.

"Is this what we have become, Is this Germany under Adolf Hitler? Is this where we are heading that they will tell you don't come in with that, and tomorrow don't wear that," Parks-Caruth said.

Kamaria London, an employee at the Division of Finance, said she was also not permitted to enter the compound if PNM flags are on her vehicle.

"When I come here with my vehicle and I have PNM flags I cannot enter the compound, although I am working here. I either have to take them off or park elsewhere," London said.

London said the matter had nothing to do with political victimisation.

"So it's not like we don't want TOP people coming into the building. No, it's not like that, it's the policy," London said.

Elections and Boundaries Commission officials said last week that not allowing vehicles with political flags entry into the compound was not an enshrined policy. 

Finance Secretary Dr Anslem London said this was a policy of the division, and he would not tolerate any political displays on the compound of the complex.

THA Chief Secretary Orville London said last Friday it was a policy across the board.

But the Sunday Express has learned that this is not the same at other divisions.

At the Education Division, PNM supporters have been displaying their party handbands on the compound of the division.

TOP Leader Ashworth Jack said it was nothing short of political madness and an infringement of TOP supporters' constitutional rights.