By Milton Coy
The main opposition New National Party (NNP) was a noticeable absentee at the signing of the Political Code of Conduct ceremony on Thursday 31st January at the Grenada Trade Centre. Grenada’s oldest political organization the Grenada United Labour Party (GULP) was also not represented. As the elections fever heats up, and with only nineteen days left for the General Elections, twenty-one (21) Civil Society Organizations (CSO) have invited all political parties and independent candidates to adhere to a code of conduct for campaigning leading up to the February 19th elections.
Four (4) political organizations were present at the signing which was witnessed by the Grenada Chamber of Industry and Commerce (GCIC), the Trade Union Council (GTUC), the Grenada Bar Association (GBA), the Inter Agency Group of Development Organisations (IAGDO), the Grenada Conference of Churches (GCC), the National Institute for Prolific Policies (NIPP), the Grenada Human Rights Organisation (GHRO Inc), the Grenada Association of Poultry Producers (GAPP) and Friends of the Earth (FoE).
The recently formed National Unity Front (NUF), the People’s United Labour Party (PULP), the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the Grenada Renaissance Party (GRP) were represented at the ceremony which started 3:30 PM. According to the Parliamentary Elections Office fourteen (14) political organizations and one candidate were registered with the office.
Speaking to GTC Radio following the signing Ash bishop Christian Glasgow, representing the Grenada Conference of Churches noted that the Civil Society grouping has already received complaints from the public. The pulling down of posters and other leaflets put up by a political party was torn down by members of another party, defacing of public and private properties, the use of a PA System at loud volume during the working hours, distracting members of the civil society in productivity, were some of the complaints reported by Ash bishop Glasgow – who is also the Chairman of GCC.
The Code of Political Conduct calls for political parties, including Independent Candidates, who are engaged in public political campaigns, rallies, meetings and other forms of political activities, in connection with the General Elections to agree to: 1. Address themselves to issues and principles dealing with national growth, sustainable socio-economic development and concerns of the people, including environmental issues; 2. Maintain the highest moral principles and ethics with regards to the campaign, the general elections and the aftermath of the elections; 3.Do everything to promote respect, tolerance, harmony and peace amongst their supporters and the general public; 4 Let their own behavior be a positive example that promotes respect, tolerance…… 5. Identify and publish the name of a representative who will be responsible for all matters related to the code and who will liaise with the Watchdog Committee of Civil Society as established by the Code.
The political parties are also to refrain from: 1. The use of half-truths, lies, innuendos, bribes and threats to gain political advantage; 2. Engaging directly or indirectly in character assassination; 3. Defacing public and private property and structures; 4. Using threats and all other forms of intimidation against members of the media; 5. Engaging in noise pollution; 6.The use of State resources for political campaigns.
Additionally, the parties are to ENSURE THAT: 1. Measures are taken to clean the environs immediately following the holding of these events; 2. Wherever political activities are held at broadsides, there is no undue obstruction to the road users nor inconvenience to the general public; 3. The content of music played at political rallies and events is appropriate for families and children.
Other political organisations not represented include People’s Labour Movement (PLM) and Good Old Democracy (GOD).