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Candidates, free food is considered a bribe

Trinidad Express / A reminder to employers today. You can end up in court facing a criminal charge if you intimidate or prevent a worker from heading to the polls to vote. And candidates are reminded that you can’t bribe a potential voter, even with free food.

In a statement, the EBC warned that election offences are serious breaches of the law.

“The EBC is calling on the political parties, electors and other stakeholders to respect the laws or face the consequences,” the EBC said.

Among the offences are bribery, treating and undue influence.

Candidates and their supporters must not give money or gifts, or provide food, drinks or entertainment in order to induce an elector. They must also not seek to intimidate voters to vote in a certain way, the EBC advised.

“An individual found guilty of bribery, treating or the use of undue influence, is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $15,000 and imprisonment for six months or on conviction on indictment to a fine of $30,000 and to imprisonment for twelve months,” the EBC said.

And employers, take note.

Under Section 36 (2)

Every employer shall on  polling day allow every elector in his employ the prescribed period for voting and no employer shall make any deduction from the pay or other remuneration of any such elector or impose upon or exact from him any penalty by reason of his absence during that period.

Section 93

An employer who fails to comply with any of the provisions of section 36 (2) and any person who directly or indirectly by intimidation, under influence, or in any other way interferes with the granting to an elector of the prescribed period for voting referred to in that subsection is liable on summary conviction to a fine of thirty thousand dollars or to imprisonment for twelve months.

Election Rule 28

Every Employer shall permit each elector in his employment to be absent from his work on polling day during the hours of the poll for two hours in addition to normal mid-day meal hour.

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