The ruling Barbados Labour Party (BLP) has been accused of trying to “buy” votes in the St George North by-election.
The strong charge has come from member of the People’s Party for Democracy and Development (PdP), Senator Caswell Franklyn, who has also alleged that the BLP was breaking the law by wearing branded clothing during an election campaign.
Franklyn, the campaign manager for the PdP’s David Walrond, made the accusations this morning, Nomination Day, held at the Valley Resource Centre in Glebe, St John.
When the BLP’s candidate Toni Moore arrived at the centre this morning she was accompanied by supporters wearing red shirts and holding placards with the slogan ‘Get Moore’ splashed across the front.
The Democratic Labour Party’s supporters also wielded placards in support of their candidate Floyd Reifer.
The outspoken trade unionist told members of the media that under the Election Offences and Controversies Act it was illegal to wear clothing or bear placards supporting a candidate before, during or after an election.
He contended that the BLP was desperate and was using any means necessary to win the November 11 by-election.
Section 10A of the Act states: “A person is guilty of an illegal practice who before, during or after an election supplies to another person, or wears any apparel or form of dress bearing a political slogan, photograph or image advertising any particular candidate or party in the election.
Caswell, who along with his colleagues was clad in plain green shirts, said the Act was amended in 1980 by the BLP.
“I’ve been told that the tee-shirts come with $75 wrapped inside, which is illegal and wearing those tee-shirts is contrary to law. You cannot advertise a political party, a candidate or anything like that on any clothes, any shoes or anything like that at all,” he said.
“What happened with them is that they thought this by-election was going to be a pushover until they got the reaction from the people in St George. If you go to those meetings you will find a few people from St George but all the rest come from all over Barbados.”
Franklyn told Barbados TODAY he was at a loss as to why the Mia Mottley-led administration was so intent on winning the by-election.
He said Government already occupied 29 of the seats in Parliament and therefore had an overwhelming majority.
“This campaign is a referendum on the performance of the BLP in office and they are going all out to win it. They shouldn’t have called it in the first place but they did and now it has backfired because they thought it was going to be an easy walkover.
“You cannot tell people that the law has not been used or nobody has been prosecuted for it so we can do it. You have to follow the law and the Government should be setting an example,” Franklyn maintained.
“The Government has 29 seats, they could as well play fair because they don’t have much to lose in terms of control in Parliament.”