Voters must be vigilant on how they cast their ballot on October 21 and ensure they do not elect candidates who end up in jail, says acting Prime Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal.
Moonilal was speaking to the Express after meeting with President Anthony Carmona yesterday, at the Office of the President in St Ann’s.
Moonilal noted reports with respect to an Independent Liberal Party (ILP) candidate who was before the court.
“I took note in the news reports of several difficulties being faced by candidates of the ILP. I think a candidate is before the court on gun-related charges, and we have had reports that candidates are persons who have been fired from their establishments for various misdemeanours; we have had a report that another candidate has been identified as someone who has caused domestic disturbances,” said Moonilal.
“I find this interesting since Mr Warner indicated that they were doing intensive screening for a considerable period of time,” he said.
Moonilal questioned the ILP’s screening process, stressing this development should raise red flags for the nation.
“When you look at their list of candidates and you see these problems with persons before the court, others who are well known with certain question marks over their heads, in some cases, you wonder if they conducted their screening at Alcatraz,” he said.
“It is just phenomenal that someone can be duly nominated on a Monday and then denied bail by Wednesday,” he said.
Electors, said Moonilal, must be very careful to choose persons who can represent them and who would not be jailed after October 21.
“...Those persons are there to represent ordinary citizens and to provide goods and services, and enhance the quality of their life; you cannot enhance the quality of people’s life if you yourself are in jail. The electors have to be very careful that they exercise their best judgment on who they vote for,” he said.
He said the United National Congress (UNC) was confident none of its candidates have difficulties with the law.
“None of our candidates have been denied bail; we have taken our time to check and cross-check certain information,” he said.
Moonilal also raised concern with respect to the millions spent on political adver-
“I notice the deafening silence from some quarters over the hundreds of thousands and millions spent on advertising. Everybody wants to know where the UNC gets its T-shirts from, but another party can buy out all of the media for the rest of the year, and in such quick succession, and no questions are asked,” he said.
“The ads now are just about anything; there are now ads about people having a board meeting; it tells of the obscenity now of the use of political advertising which promotes no policy, no idea, no development for the country; it’s really a fad,” he said.
Moonilal met with Carmona for an hour yesterday.
He said the meeting was very cordial, and the President also extended his congratulations to him on his acting appointment as Prime Minister.
Moonilal said several matters of State were discussed which he could not disclose as they were confidential in nature.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar appointed Moonilal to act as Prime Minister in her absence.
Persad-Bissessar is on Government business in Panama and scheduled to return today.