Kamla Accuses PNM of Cash for Votes

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By Sue-Ann Wayow

GOVERNMENT is being accused of using taxpayers’ money to bribe people for votes in the upcoming local government election.

Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar made the accusation on Monday as she referred to National Commission for Self-Help grants that were given to 30 families within the Diego Martin North/East area on July 6.


She asked if the government was ensuring that a particular hardware received the monies for the items listed on the grants as they were given in the form of purchase orders.

Persad-Bissessar was speaking during the United National Congress (UNC) Monday night forum at the JRD Mohammed Convention Centre in Princes Town.

She asked if anyone from Princes Town, Naparima, Moruga and other UNC-contolled corporations received such funding to which the audience replied, “No!”

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Persad-Bissessar said she had no problem with helping those in need.

“But I have an issue when you take taxpayer money to give cash for votes to your supporters during an election campaign. Clearly, they are scared in Diego Martin,” she said.

Together with the National Transformation Alliance (NTA) Persad-Bissessar said the People’s National Movement (PNM) will be voted out of the Diego Martin Borough Corporation.


She told supporters, “They are picking pockets, depriving you and your family of what you worked hard for, to pay off voters and their election activists. That cannot be right.”

“So, you are in effect working so hard to pay to build a next man house. This government is taking your money to be used to build a next man’s house, understand that. Your roof is leaking but you have to pay property tax to fix a next man roof because he’s campaigning for the government. Totally discriminatory and unfair.”

Imbert’s constituency Facebook page last Wednesday posted that Minister of Sport Shamfa Cudjoe joined Imbert and the National Commission for Self-Help in distributing 30 grants valued at $750,000 to families within the Diego Martin North/East area with each recipient receiving a purchase order, ranging from $15,000 to $25,000, based on the specific cause of their structural damage.

Persad-Bissessar said, “They gave the money with purchase orders. A purchase order is a legal document form used by someone who is a  buyer, it is sent to a supplier for an order. A purchase order specifies the items, the quantities, prices and credit terms for a purchase from the vendor.

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“This means that the PNM has also selected the hardware to supply the material. Their PNM financier who owns the hardware will be the one making the money. And you never know, they may find a hardware owner who is just as willing to pay Judases.”

She again mentioned the cheque that was issued  to former UNC Youth Arm head Kaveesh Siewdial from  a hardware owner. 

Persad-Bissessar said once the PNM government could, they would use taxpayers’ monies for their personal gain. 


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