The Peoples Charter


The Peoples’ Charter of the COP is the first document which laid the foundation for the New Politics. It is the corner stone for the new politics. This body of work proposes the new standards of and for, morality, integrity, transparency and accountability in public affairs.

The Peoples’ Charter is a systemic approach to Political Conduct aimed at restoring the integrity to the practice of politics and nobility to the profession. It contains not only a code of ethics, but a code of conduct, not only in respect of Governance issues but also the standards of conduct for an election campaign. It is based on the premise that if you want to have and honest government you first have to run an honest campaign. The Role of the media as a watchdog of democracy is also of paramount importance, as is the perennially problematic Campaign Financing.

The Peoples’ Charter establishes for the first time not only standards by which all shall be judged, but also requires an oath of allegiance and a monitoring council to police the conduct of all politicians and political appointees.

A. The Code of Ethics

We believe that responsible members of Government should uphold the following principles of personal conduct: by adhering to the code of ethics. This code has formed the basis of the Fyzabad accord and is


Make decisions based solely in terms of the public interest. Members should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends.


Not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might influence them in the performance of their official duties.


Make choices based on merit in carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits.


Be accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.


Be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.


Declare any private interests relating to their public duties and take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.


Commit to frank and patient dialogue, refusing to consider their differences as an insurmountable barrier, but recognizing instead that to encounter the diversity of others can become an opportunity for greater reciprocal understanding.


Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example


B. The Code of Conduct

Code of Political Conduct


This Code of Political Conduct (this ‘Code’) is intended to achieve the following objectives:

1.Fostering of democracy through peaceful, free and fair elections conducted at regular intervals in which voters are permitted to cast their ballots freely, without interference, fear, intimidation or bribery.

2.Promotion of respect for human rights, the pursuit of civil and political liberties, the tolerance of divergent opinions, full and active participation of women in the political process and the inclusion of the various religious and ethnic segments of society

3.Encouraging participation in the electoral process by the People and to uphold their right to make political choices


Section A


The Parties and their Candidates agree to

1.Uphold the Constitution and the spirit and letter of the laws relating to the holding of public activities and election campaigns

2.Address themselves to issues and principles dealing with sustainable national growth and the socio-economic development of the people.

3.Maintain the highest moral principles and ethical standards with respect to their conduct during the campaign, the elections and the post election period.

4.Co-operate with the police in maintaining law and order during election campaigns.

5.Promote respect, tolerance, harmony and peace amongst their supporters and the general public during the campaign, the elections and in the post election period by being positive role

6.Nominate a representative who will be responsible for all matters related to this Code and who will liaise with the Council for Responsible Political Behaviour as established under this Code of Political Conduct.

7.Refrain from practices that promote divisiveness in the Society and commit to the removal of any structures (behavioural, cultural, social or organizational) which reinforce divisiveness.

8.Take deliberate steps to publicly disassociate themselves from criminal elements and criminal activity

9.Confine their criticism of other political parties to their policies and programmes, past record and work.

10.Ensure that meeting organizers seek the assistance of police on duty to deal with persons disturbing or disrupting a meeting. Organizers should not take action against such persons.

11.Commit themselves to forgiving one another for past and present errors and prejudices, and to supporting one another in a common effort to overcome selfishness and arrogance, hatred and violence, and to learn from the past that peace without justice is no true peace.



C. Prohibited behavior

The Peoples Charter seeks to specifically identify those types of conduct which it is deemed unacceptable.

Prohibited Conduct

The Parties and their Candidates will:

1.Not Offer any inducement or reward, for example money, groceries or other benefits, to another person to

a.join or not to join a party;

b.attend or not to attend a public meeting, march, demonstration, rally or other public political event; or not to vote, or to vote or not to vote in any particular way; or

d.refuse a nomination as a candidate or to withdraw as a candidate

2.Not discriminate on the grounds of race, ethnicity, sex, gender, class or religion or seek to mobilize support by reference to race, sex, gender, religion or class;

3.Not publish false or defamatory allegations in connection with an election in respect of a party, its candidates, representatives or members;

4. Not use language or act in a way that may—

a.provoke violence during an election; or

b.intimidate candidates, members of parties, representatives or supporters of parties or candidates, or voters; or

c.invite, encourage or foster hatred, resentment or any form of violence;

5.Not seek to assassinate the character of or make defamatory comments about any individual, family, professional group or section of the community;

6.Not deface or unlawfully remove or destroy the billboards, placards, posters or any other election materials of a party or candidate;

7.Not unreasonably prevent any other person access to voters for the purpose of voter education, collecting signatures, recruiting members, raising
funds or canvassing support for a party or candidate;

8.Not abuse a position of power, privilege or influence, including parental, patriarchal, traditional or employment authority to influence the conduct or outcome of an election;

9.Not engage, recruit or deploy any individual(s) for the purpose of violence, intimidation or harassment, including intimidation by congregating in groups wearing similar identifiable colours at or near to election stations on election day;

10. Not deface public or private property and structures;

11. Not permit the inappropriate or unauthorised use or abuse of minors in the campaign process;

12. Not plagiarize or disparage the symbols, colours or acronyms of others parties;

13. Not permit the use and abuse of State resources for political campaigns; 

14. Not indulge in negative campaigning or advertising or any action which would bring the political process into disrepute;

15. Not use funds derived from any source, public or private, to improperly influence electoral choices;

16. Not knowingly associate with persons in their pursuit of illegal activities and or any kind of violence but rather actively cooperate with the security forces to bring such persons before the law;

17. Not criticizing aspects of private life of Candidates not connected with the public activities of the leaders or candidates of other parties.

18. Not issue advertisements or other marketing material the cost of which is borne out of public funds;

19. Not encourage or permit alcohol or other drugs to be used in public on Election Day;

20. Not threaten or cause any persons to be threatened with loss of their jobs if they support or refuse to support a political party by attending or failing to attend political meetings



The Conduct of and Election Campaign

The Parties and their Candidates will ensure that


1.Chairpersons of all political campaign events appeal to supporters and the general public for peaceful behaviour

2.Such steps as the Police may direct are carried out so as to minimize obstruction of roads and inconvenience to the general public whenever political activities are held at roadsides

3.All private and public property rights are respected

4.Measures are taken to clean the environs immediately following the holding of political events

5.Election campaign advertisements are removed within 30 days after the elections.

6.The use of state facilities to support political parties or any candidate is absolutely prohibited

7.All donations in cash or kind are accepted based on a “Know your Donor” principle:

  • Anonymous donations or donations in  fictitious names should be refused
  • Due diligence measures (similar to      the requirement in financial institutions to identify and to report      ‘suspicious transactions’) should be undertaken so as to protect against      ‘dirty money’ contaminating the process


9.From the time elections are announced, a Party, if in power, shall not permit ministers and other governmental authorities or enterprises –

  • to announce any financial grants in any form or promises thereof;
  • to lay foundation stones etc. of projects or schemes of any kind; or
  • to make any ad-hoc appointments in Ministries, State Enterprises or other governmental agencies which may have the effect of influencing the voters in favour of the party in power; or
  • to publish promotional material which identifies any Minister or candidate or adopts the slogan of any party or highlights the achievements of any ministry or governmental authority or enterprise; or
  • to distribute houses, apartments or lands to electors or to make promises that such houses, apartments or lands will be made available to them after the elections are held

10. Recognize and acknowledge the rights of accredited observers and monitors at polling stations for the purpose of observing the conduct of elections.

11. International observers who subscribe to the Code of Conduct for International Election Observers are invited to conduct a review of all General Elections.


Campaign Finance


D. The Role of the Media

Role of the Media

Every Party and every Candidate will

1.Respect the role of the media to fairly and objectively present balanced reports and information before, during and after an election;

2.Permit access by members of the media to public political meetings, marches, demonstrations and rallies;

3.Take all reasonable steps to ensure that journalists are not subjected to harassment, intimidation, hazard, threat or physical assault by any of their representatives or supporters;

4.Refrain from monopolizing television stations to the intent that other parties holding meetings on the same day are not permitted live coverage;

5.Refrain from using State advertising to induce media houses to support or degrade a particular party;

6.Ensure that their leaders participate in not less than three (3) live televised public debates organized by the Media.


The Monitoring Council


A Council for Responsible Political Behaviour (‘Council’) shall be set up to monitor and evaluate adherence to this Code of Political Conduct by the Political Parties and their Candidates who are signatories hereto. 


The Council shall be constituted upon signing of this Code. Each Political Party which is a signatory hereto shall appoint one person to the Council (the ‘Political Appointees’). The Organisations who are signatories to the People’s Charter, other than the Political Parties, prior to the day of 2010 (the ‘Founding Organisations’) shall collectively appoint such number of persons as is equal to the number of Political Appointees plus one (1) who are not aligned to any political party.


( List to include various stakeholders, Members of the media, Transparency International other bodies)


The public will be encouraged to report breaches of this Code to the Council.


The functions of the Council will be to:

1.Conduct public education around the Code and issues that civil society would like politicians to address on the platform

2.Monitor the election campaign activities and conduct of parties and their candidates

3.Network with bodies involved in monitoring elections in Trinidad and Tobago and with regional and international bodies which place governance as an important objective

4.Actively engage different networks which can bring moral suasion to bear on the conduct of political parties

5.Implement related activities consistent with the spirit of this Code as mandated by the broader body of civil society

6.Report to the broader body of civil society, and through it, to the public.

Before proceeding to sanction any Political Party or Candidate, if any Political Appointee so requests, the Council will consult with an international election observer group that has adopted the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and Code of Conduct for International Election Observers.


The Oath of Allegiance

All Members of Government and Political Appointees and Political Parties are required to take the oath of Allegiance to uphold the highest standard of conduct.

Report on the Committee established to review the Motion on the Oath of Allegiance