Thursday 12 December, 2019

PEP leader slams attacks from 'PNM-centric media'

Leader of the Progressive Empowerment Party (PEP), Phillip Edward Alexander, dismissed a recent complaint filed against him to the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) as part of an attack by 'PNM-centric media'.

He was speaking with reference to a claim filed to the EOC by journalist Kejan Haynes in response to a social media post in which Haynes was referred to as a 'half-pint house negro'.

"This is a well-coordinated attack from a PNM-centric media doing their best to interrupt the growth in popularity of the Progressive Empowerment Party on the heels of a hotly contested election."

"I have never heard of this Kejan Haynes chap before, someone said he works in media, yet all of a sudden he is making photoshopped memes and posts attacking both myself personally and supporters of the PEP in the most reprehensible of ways," he said.

(Photo: Comments allegedly made on social media, which has since been removed, in response to a meme shared online by Haynes.)

Alexander said he saw a meme where he was referred to as a fool and the "members and supporters of the PEP as bigger fools".

"(He) is on social media boasting that the TV6 PNM team blocked us from airtime, obstructing the public's Constitutional right to free media, their right to know what is going on in their country and freedom of political association.

"Now that the EOC is involved I hope that they can end these unprovoked and vile attacks once and for all," he said. 

The PEP has submitted two candidates for the upcoming local government bye-elections for the seats of Belmont East and Barataria. 

Felicia Holder will be vying for Belmont East while Christoph Samlal will be going up for the Barataria seat.

Alexander said the PEP preaches unity and that his party has more people of African descent in senior positions than the PNM.

"Clearly the PNM is desperate and is resorting to their familiar tactic of inflaming passions to distract from what may well turn out to be a routing in both Belmont East and Barataria at the upcoming local government bye-elections."

"The Progressive Empowerment Party is the ONLY political party preaching unity among all people as is evident in our party's slogan 'One People Under One Flag' and represented in our party symbol."

"It pains me to have to point out that there are more people of African descent in senior positions in the PEP than in the PNM including the deputy political leader, the party's Chairman and many others, and we are prepared to resist all of these heinous politically motivated attacks and call on the public at large to see them for what they are and ignore them," he said.

Haynes, who is represented by attorneys Dr Emir Crowne, Matthew Gayle, and Sheriza Khan, filed a complaint under Section 7 of the Equal Opportunity Act which states that a person shall not otherwise than in private, do any act which is likely to to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another group or group of persons, which is done because of gender, race, ethnicity, origin or religion, or which is done with the intention of inciting gender, racial or religious hatred. 

The complaint said the post was "clearly intended to incite racial hatred toward the Complainant".

Haynes is also seeking damages for injury to his dignity and reputation, legal costs, and a "sincere apology from Alexander for his offensive behaviour".


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