Kamla not aware of controversial ads, says they are not from UNC
Pictured: UNC leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar speaks with reporters while on a motorcade in San Fernando on August 7, 2020. Photo via Facebook, UNC - United National Congress.
“I don’t know which ads you’re speaking about.”
That was the response of leader of the United National Congress (UNC) Persad-Bissessar to questions from reporters on mounting criticism of political ads depicting Afro-Trinidadians as hungry and destitute.
Questioned by members of the media at a motorcade in San Fernando on Friday, Persad-Bissessar said she had not seen the controversial advertisements.
Even as she admitted that she has been busy with campaigning and had not seen all of the ads put out by her party, she said the offending ads in question were not from the UNC.
“To my knowledge, that is not a UNC ad so I don’t know which ad you’re speaking about. I have not seen the ad,” Persad-Bissessar said.
She said the UNC’s communications team may have been responsible for reviewing any of the party’s ads.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley at a virtual People’s National Movement (PNM) meeting on Thursday called for the removal of an advertisement which depicted an Afro-Trinidad woman begging for food, who is then given a bunch of bananas.
In calling for the removal of the political ad, Dr Rowley noted there were racist connotations, specifically in the use of the bananas.
He said: “…I know what the yellow bananas mean. Is monkey they does feed banana. All over the world footballers walk off the field when they start to make monkey chants. But in the UNC advertisement black people hungry in Trinidad and Tobago and yuh feed the 'monkeys' banana."
The UNC leader dismissed the criticism over the ads, saying the ruling party knew it would lose the election and was trying to deflect from the real issues at hand.
Video via Facebook, UNC Pointe-a-Pierre
Meanwhile, Persad-Bissessar, who had called for the presence of international election observers on Monday, said she remained concerned over the possibility of delays in voting on polling day and a low voter turnout due to COVID-19 fears.
She told reporters she received information from supporters that officials from the office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health were advising people to quarantine at home and not go out to cast their ballot.
“…Some officials from there are telling people that they must stay home, that they must quarantine themselves at home, and, therefore, they cannot go to vote. We have concerns about that.”
The UNC leader said she is buoyed by the support the party has received on the campaign trail and is confident ahead of Monday’s polls.
The August 10 election is being called “the mother of all elections” with 150 candidates from 19 political parties, including independent candidates, contesting the election. According to the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) 1.1 million electors are registered to vote.