Only four Political Parties have signed on to the Code of Political Conduct for the February 19 General Elections.
The signing took place last week Thursday at the Grenada Trade Centre, Grand Anse.
The parties that signed are the National Democratic Congress, National United Front, People’s United Labour Party, and the Grenada Renaissance Party.
As a public service THE NEW TODAY Newspaper reproduces a copy of the Code and other associated principles aimed at governing the conduct of elections
WHEREAS Chapter 1 Section 1 of the Constitution of Grenada guarantees fundamental rights and freedoms to all citizens, including, in 1 (b):
“Freedom of conscience, of expression and of assembly and association”
AND WHEREAS Universal Adult Suffrage is a fundamental right enshrined in the Constitution of Grenada;
AND WHEREAS the attainment of this right enables the People of Grenada to decide for themselves in whom they wish to entrust the governing of the Nation;
AND WHEREAS candidates for elections must give the electorate the opportunity to fulfill its responsibility to make informed decisions when choosing a government for Grenada;
AND WHEREAS this Code of Political Conduct is in keeping with the CARICOM Charter of Civil Society to which Grenada became a signatory on February 19th, 1997.
AND WHEREAS Article XXIV of the Charter, “Awareness and Responsibilities of the People” , recognizes that “ the people have an important role to play in the pursuit and maintenance of good governance”.
AND WHEREAS in recognition of the foregoing, the following nonpartisan, non-political organisations (together hereinafter referred to as the Civil Society) have compiled this CODE OF POLITICAL CONDUCT
DECLARATION – A CODE OF POLITICAL CONDUCT to be signed by the representatives of political parties and independent candidates listed in this Declaration.
Participating Civil Society Organisations are:
*Caribbean Agri-business Association
*Conference of Churches
*Friends of the Earth-Grenada
*Grenada Bar Association
*Grenada Association of Poultry Producers (GAPPAS)
*Grenada Chamber of Industry and Commerce (GCIC)
*Grenada Human Rights Organisation
*Grenada Trade Union Council (GTUC)
*Inter Agency Group of Development Organisation
NOW THEREFORE IT IS HEREBY DECLARED AND AGREED AS FOLLOWS:
The goal of this Civil Society Declaration of Code of Political Conduct is:
“To create a political environment within Grenada which promotes free and fair elections, upholds the fundamental rights and freedoms of all citizens, upholds the rule of law, and demonstrates respect for all citizens and observance of the democratic process.”
This Code of Political Conduct is intended to achieve the following objectives:
(i) Contribute to the holding of peaceful, free and fair elections
(ii) Ensure continuing respect for internationally recognized human, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.
(iii) Foster and encourage people’s participation in the electoral process and uphold their right to make political choices.
(iv) Promote public education on acceptable political conduct
(v) To facilitate civil society and the public at large in setting up systems and taking initiatives for monitoring, evaluating and reporting on the level of adherence to the Code of Political Conduct
(vi) Encourage sanctions by the public and other entities for noncompliance
to this Code of Political Conduct
3. CODE OF POLITICAL CONDUCT
Political parties and candidates, including Independent Candidates, who are engaged in public political campaigns, rallies, meetings and other forms of political activities in connection with General Elections AGREE TO:
(i) Uphold the Constitution and the spirit and letter of the laws relating to the holding of public activities and election campaigns.
(ii) Address themselves to issues and principles dealing with national growth, sustainable socio-economic development and concerns of the people, including environmental issues.
(iii) Maintain the highest moral principles and ethics with regards to the campaign, the general elections, and in the aftermath of the elections.
(iv) Co-operate with the police in maintaining law and order during election campaigns.
(v) Do everything to promote respect, tolerance, harmony and peace amongst their supporters and the general public.
(vi) Let their own behaviour be a positive example that promotes respect, tolerance, harmony and peace to supporters and the general public during the campaign, the general elections, and in the aftermath of the elections.
*From page 8
(vii) Participate in at least one town hall meeting and/or debate organised and hosted by civil society organisations at the constituency level.
(viii) Identify, and publish the name of a representative who will be responsible for all matters related to this code and who will laise with the Watchdog Committee of Civil Society as established under this Code.
Political parties and candidates, including Independent Candidates, who are engaged in public political campaigns, rallies, meetings and other forms of political activities in connection with the forthcoming General Elections AGREE TO REFRAIN FROM:
(i) The use of half-truths, lies, innuendos, bribes and threats to gain political advantage
(ii) The use of race, country of origin, sex, gender, religion or class to mobilise support or to vilify any individual, family, professional groups or sections of the community.
(iii) Engaging directly or indirectly in character assassination.
(iv) Making derogatory and degrading comments about women holding public office or offering themselves for public office.
(v) Saying or doing anything to invite, encourage or foster hatred, resentment or any form of violence.
(vi) Disrupting religious services and other organised community activities.
(vii) Defacing public and private property and structures.
(viii) Using threats and all other forms of intimidation against members of the media.
(ix) The inappropriate use of minors in the campaign process.
(x) Engaging in noise pollution.
(xi) The use of State resources for political campaigns.
Political parties and candidates, including Independent Candidates, who are engaged in public political campaigns, rallies, meetings and other forms of political activities in connection with the forthcoming General Elections, AGREE TO
(i) Chairpersons of all political campaign events appeal to supporters and the general public for peaceful behaviour.
(ii) Whenever political activities are held at roadsides, there is no undue obstruction to road users nor inconvenience to the general public
(iii) All private and public property rights are respected
(iv) Measures are taken to clean the environs immediately following the holding of these events.
(v) The content of music played at political rallies and events is appropriate for families and children.
4. WATCHDOG . COMMITTEE:
A Watchdog Committee shall be set up to monitor and evaluate adherence to this Code of Political Conduct by parties and candidates during the campaign process.
The Committee shall be constituted upon signing of this Code and will be made up of not less than fifteen but not more than twenty-one persons recommended by members of the participating civil society organisations and selected by the Steering Committee of Civil Society Organisations of Grenada.
The public will be encouraged to report breaches of this Code to the Watch Dog Committee.
The functions of the Watchdog Committee will be to:
(i) Set up a Public Education Sub-committee to conduct public education around the Code and issues that civil society wants politicians to address on the platform
(ii) monitor the election campaign activities and conduct of candidates
(iii) network with regional and international bodies who monitor elections in Grenada and who place good governance as an important objective; for example, the OAS.
(iv) actively engage different networks, which can bring moral suasion to bear on the conduct of political parties
(v) meet with political parties, as part of local networking to advocate for adherence to the Code of Political Conduct
(vi) Implement related activities consistent with the spirit of this Code as mandated by the broader body of Civil Society
(vii) Report to the broader body of Civil Society, and through it, to the public
5. . AGREEMENT:
Now therefore all political parties and independent candidates which have affixed their signature hereto undertake to support and adopt the principles of this Code of Political Conduct as outlined herein.