by Linda Straker
The Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) has given the assurance that there will be a more noticeable law enforcement presence at political meetings and rallies as the election day gets closer, because of the increasing number of politically-related complaints that are reported to the police.
“Persons are encouraged to refrain from engaging in any form of violence and threats and or interference with political meetings,” said the news release from the Community Relations Department of the Royal Grenada Police Force, which also urged political candidates to call on their supporters to act responsibly and within the law, as the build-up to general elections continues.
Grenadians are scheduled to vote for a new government on 13 March 2018.
The police warn that persons involved in any form of violence and threats and or disruptions to political meetings may face criminal prosecution.
“Party supporters are also encouraged to refrain from unauthorised invasion onto the private property of another to erect political posters, signs, banners and billboards as well as defacing of private walls and buildings with political messages,” the release said.
At least 2 of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) candidates are known to have filed complaints of vandalism of posters and office signs with the police, while fights are reported to have taken place between supporters of the ruling New National Party and the NDC.
The Public Order Act prohibits the carrying of any offensive weapon at public meetings as well as disorderly behaviours with an intent to prevent the purpose for which a meeting was called.
According to the act it is criminal offence for persons at any public meeting to use threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour; or distribute or display any writing, sign or visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting, with intent to provoke a breach of the peace, or whereby a breach of the peace is likely to result.
The penalty under a summary conviction is 3 months imprisonment and or a fine of EC$5,000 while as an indictable offence, the penalty is 6 months imprisonment or EC$20,000.