Violence, in any format, will not be tolerated during the local council elections, said the National Commission for Democracy (NCD) Chairman George Coleridge-Taylor in a statement released yesterday.
After commending various organizations for successfully promoting active participation during the progress of the local elections thus far, Mr. Coleridge-Taylor advised participants to avoid confrontations of any kind.
“With so many candidates operating in close proximity within local communities the possibility of violent conflict is ever-present,” he said. “In such a climate, even the slightest provocation can easily escalate into uncontrolled violence.”
“We therefore appeal to political parties, candidates and supporters alike,” he continued, “to carefully avoid any occasion which would inadvertently lead to confrontational encounters or violent conflict.”
Mr. Coleridge-Taylor then called for the Police to aid the matter, urging them “to observe zero tolerance with the perpetrators of violence, who should be treated as criminals and NOT as party supporters.”
“Intimidation even if it is only verbal,” he added, “constitutes a form of violence and is an infringement of the civic rights of the victim.”
The chairman showed particular concern for the youth and the women participating in the election process.
While youth participation “has been vividly demonstrated,” there are still “disturbing reports” of youth violence, Mr. Coleridge-Taylor said, as he reminded all political parties that they each “have a duty to ensure that their youths participate peacefully.”
With regards to the women participants, Mr. Coleridge-Taylor said, “Since symbols have already been awarded and the elections have virtually overtaken us, we need only to concentrate on encouraging the women to participate fully as voters.”
By Yu Nakayama