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The COP Constitution

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Congress of the People

The Constitution of the COP

Updated May 2008 by decision of National Assembly held on the 9

th day of March 2008

Whereas the citizens of our Republic of Trinidad & Tobago:

a) Subscribe to the enduring political values of equality, truth, freedom and justice and to

the eradication, as far as possible, of politics based on race, class and religions

discrimination;

b) Desire to promote integrity in public life geared to reduce and eliminate all forms of

discrimination and exploitation and to condemn immorality and corrupt practices.

c) Believe that the functioning of the economic and social system should redound to the

benefit of the citizens of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago so as to contribute to the

equal and equitable distribution of the rewards of our country rather than remain in the

repository of a few;

d) Assert their beliefs in the ideals of a democratic society where all citizens will be

empowered to participate in the affairs relating to national welfare;

e) Recognize that men and institutions remain free only when freedom is founded upon

respect for morality, spiritually and for the rule of law;

f) Desire that the Congress should enshrine and embody the principles and values stated

herein and implement measures geared to promote effective consultation that will result

in regular, open and fair dialogue among its membership.

Now therefore, the following provisions shall have effect as the Constitution of the COP.

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CHAPTER ONE

Name, Symbol, Fundamental Principles and Objectives

Article 1 - Name, Motto and Symbol

1.1 The name of the party shall be the

Congress of the People herein after referred to as "The

C.O.P”.

1.2 The Motto of The C.O.P shall be, "One Nation, One People"

1.3 There shall be a C.O.P Symbol, Flag, and Theme Song as may be prescribed under the C.O.P

Regulations.

Article 2 - Principles and Objectives

The principles and objectives of the C.O.P shall be:

2.1 (a) To uphold the Constitution of the Republic of

Trinidad and Tobago.

(b) The Rule of Law and the fundamental rights of the individual within a framework of

economic and social justice.

(c) Religious freedom.

(d) A system of democratic political participation free from victimization and sensitive to

our multi-cultural society.

2.2 To encourage, promote and foster national unity, patriotism and social cohesion.

2.3 To promote the economic, social, moral, spiritual, cultural and educational development of all

the people of Trinidad and Tobago.

2.4 To promote peace, order and caring governance

2.5 To promote economic, cultural and political association or relations with the Caribbean

Community and in the international community.

2.6 To provide opportunities for members and supporters of the Party to contribute effectively

to community service and to all aspects of our multicultural life.

2.7 To promote and undertake other activities which in the opinion of the C.O.P are

conducive to the attainment of the principles and objectives of the C.O.P and do such

things as are incidental to the attainment of the above objectives

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CHAPTER TWO

Membership

Article 3 -Membership

3.1 There shall be five types of membership:-

(a) Founding

(b) Individual - Adult and Youth

(c) Affiliated Group

(d) Honorary

(e) Overseas

3.2 Founding

(a) Founding members shall be individuals who joined the C.O.P on or before 30

thApril 2008.

(b) The Founding member must satisfy the criteria established under Article 3.3 and Article

4.1 as may be relevant.

3.3 Individual-Adult

Any person who is eligible to vote at a National Election in Trinidad and Tobago is eligible for

membership in the C.O.P if he;

(a) Accepts the aims, object, principles, policies and programmes of the C.O.P and

pledges himself to work for the achievement thereof.

(b) Agrees to abide by the Constitution of the C.O.P its Code of Ethics and decisions.

(c) Is not a member of any other political party or of any organization the aims, objects,

principles, policies and programmes which are contrary to or inconsistent with those

of the C.O.P.

3.4 Individual - Youth

Any person having attained the age of thirteen (13) years and not yet attained the age of thirtyfive

(35) and who under the laws of Trinidad and Tobago will be entitled on attaining the age of

eighteen (18) years to vote in any National Elections will be eligible for youth membership if he;

(a) Accepts the aims, objects, principles, policies and programmes of the C.O.P.

(b) Agrees to abide by the Constitution of the C.O.P and to its discipline and decisions.

(c) Is not a member of any other political party or of any organization the aims, objects,

principles, policies and programmes which are contrary to or inconsistent with those

of the C.O.P.

3.5 Affiliated Groups

Any organization shall be eligible for group membership provided that such organization;

(a) Accepts the constitution, aims, objects, policies and programmes of the C.O.P.

(b) Is not affiliated to any other political party, or to any organization the aims, objects,

principles, policies and programmes which are contrary to or inconsistent with those

of the C.O.P.

3.6 Honorary

(a) Honorary membership shall be conferred by the National Executive and confirmed by

the National Council on persons who have made outstanding contributions to the

political development of the Country, Region and/or the C.O.P.

(b) A person on whom honorary membership is conferred may be invited to attend, with

observer status, National and Special Assembly Conferences.

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3.7 Overseas

Persons residing abroad are eligible for membership in the C.O.P in the discretion of the National

Executive, and if accepted and financial will be entitled to exercise voting rights at any meeting of

the National Assembly if present in Trinidad and Tobago.

Article 4 - Affiliation and Admission to Membership

(a) Applications for membership shall be made on the prescribed form and forwarded to

the Secretary - Membership and Mobilization and accompanied by the application

fee.

(b) The National Council shall make regulations governing the procedure for admission to

membership, including application fee and such other levies as may be necessary

from time to time.

(c) On admission each member shall receive a membership card and a copy of the C.O.P

Constitution.

(d) Each member other than Honorary members and members over the age of sixty-five

(65) years shall pay an annual membership fee as prescribed by the National Council.

(e) The National Executive shall ensure that a proper and accurate register of all the

members of the C.O.P, and which has been completed from the records kept and

submitted by the Constituency Circles, be kept by the Secretariat under the control of

the assigned Deputy Leader:

(i) The registration shall be kept in sequential order by reference to

constituency, dates and membership number.

(ii) A separate register shall be kept for Founding Members, recorded in alphabetical

order, constituency and membership number.

(iii) All membership registers shall be kept securely in the safe custody of the

C.O.P Secretariat and under the control the assigned Deputy Leader.

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CHAPTER THREE

Structure and Responsibility

Article 5 - Structure of the C.O.P

The C.O.P shall be organized as follows;

(a) Community Circles

(b) Constituency Councils

(c) Youth Congress

(d) Women's Forum

(e) Parliamentary Caucus

(f) Local Government Caucus

(g) National Executive

(h) National Council

(i) National Assembly

(j) Special National Assembly

Article 6 -Community Circles

6.1 The Community Circle shall be the base unit of the C.O.P. It shall be established within each

Constituency in Trinidad and Tobago and shall not be more than ten (10) in any constituency,

provided however that if a higher number is necessary this can be requested from the National

Council.

6.2 A Community Circle shall comprise members of the C.O.P ordinarily resident in a

geographical area reflecting a community of interests and having a development focus in

relation to the social and economic needs, and comprising Polling Divisions which exists

therein.

6.3 Each Community Circle shall have no fewer than twenty (20) members.

6.4 The Community Circle shall be responsible for:

(a) Recruitment of members

(b) Organizing community projects and providing community services and leadership for

residents of the area within which it operates.

(c) Identifying community problems and working toward their solutions.

(d) Undertaking electoral registration of residents of the area within which it operates.

(e) Generally promoting the objectives, philosophy and public image of the C.O.P.

6.5 The Community Circle shall report quarterly to the relevant Constituency Council.

6.6 Community Circles shall, annually at a Circle Conference elect the following officers:

(a) Chairman

(b) Deputy Chairman

(c) Secretary

(d) Assistant Secretary

(e) Community Services Officer

6.7 The Election of Officers shall be held under the supervision of the Constituency Council. All

financial members of the Community Circles shall be entitled to attend, vote and stand for

office.

6.8 Each Community Circle shall meet at least once per month and the quorum of such meetings

shall be twelve (12) of which two (2) shall be officers.

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Article 7 - Constituency Council

7.1 The Constituency Council shall be the governing unit of a Constituency as defined by the

Elections and Boundaries Commission of Trinidad and Tobago. It shall comprise the

following officers and representatives:

(a) Chairman

(b) Deputy Chairman

(c) Secretary

(d) Treasurer

(e) Assistant Secretary

(f) Field Operations Officer

(g) Elections Officer

(h) Education and Research Officer

(i) The Parliamentary Representative of the Constituency or person nominated by

the National Executive to perform that function,

(j) Local Government Representatives, if any, resident in the constituency

(k) The Chairman and Secretary of each Community Circle or their alternates

appointed by the community circle.

(1) The Chairman of the Constituency Youth Congress

(m) The Chairperson of the Constituency Women's Forum

7.2 The Officers referred to above shall be elected annually at a constituency conference.

7.3 All financial members of the constituency in accordance with lists submitted by the

Community Circles and approved by the Secretary - Membership and Mobilization shall

be entitled to attend, vote and stand for office provided they are members for at least six

months.

7.4 The Constituency Council shall be responsible for.

(a) The implementation of the aims, objects, policies and programmes of the C.O.P

(b) Carrying out continuous political education in the Constituency

(c) Establishing and supervising the Community Circles within the constituency

(d) Recommending candidates for Parliamentary and Local Government Elections and

taking all steps to ensure the election of the approved candidates

(e) Liaising with the Constituency Youth Congress

(f) Liaising with the coordinating Constituency Council for Women

(g) Establishing and maintaining an up-to-date register of all members of the C.O.P

resident in the constituency

(h) Convening Statutory and Special Conferences of the constituency

7.5 The Constituency shall be represented on the National Council by its Chairman and Secretary

or their alternates.

7.6 The Constituency Council shall meet quarterly and a quorum shall be not less that two-thirds

of its membership

7.7 The Constituency Council shall submit annual written reports of its activities to the National

Council

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Article 8 - Constituency Conference and Special Conferences

8.1 There shall be a Constituency Conference annually and Special Conferences as required. The

quorum for such conferences shall be at least two-thirds of the membership of the

constituency or one hundred financial members which ever is the smaller number provided

however that if more than twenty-five are present, they can constitute a quorum.

8.2 All C.O.P members resident in the Constituency shall be entitled to attend, vote and hold

office as noted in Article 7.1.

8.3 The Annual Statutory Constituency Conference shall be convened in accordance with a

predetermined scheduled of dates approve by the National Executive

8.4 The Annual Statutory Constituency Conference shall:

(a) Consider written reports from the Constituency Council

(b) Review the performance of the C.O.P within the Constituency

(c) Consider and approve resolutions to be forwarded to the National Council

(d) Elect officers as required in Article 7.1 for a two year term.

8.5 Special Constituency Conferences may be summoned by the National Council to

consider matters placed before it by the said National Council or on written request of at

least three Community Circles stating the specific reasons for the request.

Article 9 - Youth Congress

9.1 There shall be an Organization for Youth Development hereinafter referred to as the Youth

Congress

It shall consist of all members between the ages of thirteen (13) and thirty-five (35) and shall

pursue activities designed to educate its members and to develop moral codes of conduct and

self-esteem

9.2 Constituency Youth

The Constituency Youth Congress shall establish youth clubs in each constituency which shall

consist of all members in the constituency within the age qualification.

9.3 The Constituency Youth Congress hereinafter referred as the CYC shall comprise:

(a) The Officers of the CYC

(b) All Youths resident in the Constituency

9.4 The Constituency Youth Congress shall elect the following officers and delegates:

(a) Chairman

(b) Deputy Chairman

(c) Secretary

(d) Treasurer

(e) Assistant Secretary

(f) Education and Research Officer

(g) Sports, Culture and Youth Development Officer

(h) Delegates to the Youth Congress Conference

9.5 The CYC shall be responsible for:

(a) Educational projects to improve the knowledge and self esteem of its

members

(b) Sporting and cultural activities to encourage talent identification and

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development

(c) Implementation of programs formulated by the National Youth Council

(d) Projecting a proper image of the C.O.P and promoting its principles and

philosophy

(e) Recruitment of members

(f) Such other activities it considers necessary to further its objectives

9.6 National Youth Council

There shall be a National Youth Council hereinafter referred to as the NYC, which shall be the

governing unit between Statutory Conferences. It shall comprise:

(a) The officers of the Youth Congress

(b) The Chairman and Secretary of each Constituency Youth Congress

9.7 The NYC shall:

(a) Formulate the programs of the Youth Congress

(b) Establish statutory and ad hoc committees as required

(c) Consider written reports from each CYC submitted to it and take such action

as may be necessary.

(d) Make quarterly reports to the National Council of the C.O.P

9.8 The NYC shall have overall responsibility for the efficient functioning of the Youth Congress and

CYC and shall meet once monthly. The quorum shall be one-third of its membership which must

include the Chairman and Secretary of the Youth Congress or their alternates.

9.9 The Officers of the Youth Congress shall be:

(a) Chairman

(b) Vice Chairman

(c) General Secretary

(d) Treasurer

(e) Assistant General Secretary

(f) Education and Research Officer

(g) Sports, Culture and Youth Development Officer

9.10 The Youth Congress shall be represented on units of the C.O.P as follows:

(a) National Council - Chairman, Secretary and ten other Delegates elected by the

NYC

(b) Statutory and Special National Assembly Conferences - all officers and five other

delegates elected by the NYC.

(c) Parliamentary and Local Government Caucuses with the status of a trainee

9.11 The conference of the Youth Congress shall be convened annually and shall comprise the

following:

(a) The officers as listed in 9.9 above

(b) Ten financial members of each CYC elected by the said CYC, in addition to its

officers.

(c) Such other persons with observer status as the NYC may approve

9.12 The Statutory Conference of the Youth Congress shall:

(a) Consider written reports of the NYC

(b) Approve resolutions submitted by the NYC

(c) Elect officers of the Youth Congress and other representatives for a three year term as follows:

(i) Ten delegates in addition to the Chairman and the Secretary of the Youth

Congress to serve on the National Council of the C.O.P

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(ii) Five delegates in addition to the officers of the Youth Congress to the Statutory

and Special National AssemblyConferences of the C.O.P

9.13 The quorum for the Statutory Conference of the Youth Congress shall consist of not less

than One Hundred members entitled to attend and vote.

Article 10 - Women's Forum

10:1 There shall be an Organization for Women members of the C.O.P hereinafter referred to as the

Forum. It shall consist of all women members who desire to pursue activities for their personal

development and special interest separate from any other Unit.

10:2 The Forum shall subscribe to and promote the principles and objectives of the C.O.P as defined in

Article 2.

10:3 Women members of the C.O.P shall not be debarred from participating in any other unit of the

C.O.P on the basis that they are members of the Forum.

10:4 The Forum shall consist of three units namely:

(a) Community Circles in each Constituency.

(b) Co-ordinating Constituency Councils.

(c) A National Women's Assembly.

10:5 The Forum shall establish not more than Five Community Circles in each Constituency which

shall consist of all members resident in the Circle, who desires to become members.

10:6 The Women's Community Circle herein after referred to as the W.C.C. shall elect the following

annually at aW.C.C. conference:

(a) Chairperson.

(b) Deputy Chairperson.

(c) Secretary

(d) Assistant Secretary / Treasurer

(e) Education & Research Officer

(f) Community Services Officer

(g) Delegates to the National Women Assembly and Coordinating Constituency Council

10:7 The W.C.C. shall be responsible for:

(a) Promoting the aims, objects, philosophy and public image of the C.O.P.

(b) Identifying community problems related to women and working towards their

solution.

(c) Developing programs for the personal development of women, their well being and

security.

10:8 There shall be a Co-ordinating Constituency Council in each Constituency as defined by the

Election and Boundaries Commission which shall have responsibility for;

(a) Formulating the programs of the Forum.

(b) Considering reports from and guiding the W.C.C.

(c) The efficient functioning of the Forum and shall meet at least quarterly. The quorum

shall be two thirds of its membership or fifty (50) members whichever is the lesser.

(d) Establishing Standing Committees as necessary to effectively discharge its

responsibilities and agreeing on the Terms of Reference of such committees.

(e) Recommending to the National Executive Candidates for Parliamentary and Local

Government Elections and taking steps to ensure the election of the approved

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candidates.

10: 9 The C.C.C. shall comprise:

(a) The Chairperson and Secretary of each W.C.C. in the Constituency or their alternates.

(b) Three delegates from each W.C.C. elected as in 10:6

10:10 (a) There shall be a National Women's Assembly hereinafter referred to as the N.W.A.

which shall convened annually in accordance with a schedule of conference dates

issued by the National Executive of the C.O.P. The quorum for the N.W.A. shall be at

least one hundred (100) members.

(b) The N.W.A. shall comprise of the following:

i) The Officers of the Forum as listed in Article 10.11elected for a (3) three year

term

ii) The Officers of all C.C.C.

iii) Twenty (20) delegates from each C.C.C. elected as in

iv) Such other person with observes status as the officers may decide.

10:11 The Officers of the Forum shall be:

(a) Chairperson

(b) Deputy Chairperson

(c) General Secretary

(d) Treasurer

(e) Assistant General Secretary

(f) Education and Research Officer

(g) Communications and Public Relations Officer

(h) Public Relations Officer

Article 11 - Parliamentary Caucus

11.1 The Parliamentary Caucus shall comprise all members of the C.O.P who are members of

either House of Parliament, or persons appointed by the Political Leader as members of the

Caucus.

11.2 The Political Leader shall appoint a member of the Parliamentary Caucus to chair the Caucus.

11.3 The Parliamentary Caucus shall make regulations for the conduct of its business and shall

include in its membership a member of the Youth Congress as a trainee.

11.4 Where the C.O.P has no representation in the Parliament, candidates who contested the last

General Election will be invited by the Political Leader to form an Extra-Parliamentary

Caucus and shall function as if they were elected/nominated members.

Article 12-Local Government Caucus

12.1 The Local Government Caucus shall comprise all the members of the C.O.P who are

members of Local Government Authorities and such other members appointed by the

Political Leader.

12.2 The Local Government Caucus shall make regulations for the conduct of its business

and shall include in its membership a member of the Youth Congress as a trainee.

12.3 Where the C.O.P has no representative in a Local Government Authority, candidates who

contested the last Local Government Elections shall be invited by the Leader to:-

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(a) Sit with those who have been elected and be part of the Local Government Caucus.

(b) Constitute an extra-Local Government Caucus and shall function as if they were

elected. The Political Leader shall name the chairman of the Caucus.

Article 13- National Executive

13.1 There shall be a National Executive responsible to the National Council for the general

administration of the C.O.P.

13.2 The National Executive shall have the following specific authority:

(a) Ratify application for membership as recommended by the Secretary -

Membership and Mobilization.

(b) Supervise Constituency Councils, Youth Congress and Women's Forum.

(c) Establish and operate a Secretariat for the effective administration of the C.O.P,

including the employment of a General Secretary and or Chief Executive Officer

and determine their job specifications.

(d) Investigate all matters of infringement of the Constitution and conflicts between

units of the C.O.P and if necessary refer same to the Conflict Resolution

Committee for determination and report,

(e) Establish through the Secretary Education and Research a mentorship program

for the Youth Congress

(f) Consider reports from Committees appointed under Article 13.5 and take appropriate

action

(g) Consider all matters referred to it by the National Council and take appropriate

action.

13.3 The National Executive shall comprise the Officers of the C.O.P and other Representatives as

follows:

(a) Political Leader

(b) Four Deputy Political Leaders, one of whom shall be a resident of Tobago

(c) Chairman

(d) Deputy Chairman

(e) Secretary - Finance

(f) Secretary - Field Operation,

(g) Secretary - Education and Research

(h) Secretary - Communications

(i) Secretary - Public Relations

(j) Secretary - Elections and Voter Registration

(k) Secretary - Membership and Mobilization

(l) The Chairman of the Youth Congress

(m) Two members of each designated regional organization comprising constituencies in

Trinidad as determined by the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) from

time to time.

The National Executive as provided in Article 30 shall approve regulations

determining the number of such regional organization, the constituencies assigned to

each region and the roles and functions of the regional representatives.

(n) The Chairman of the Tobago Congress

13.4 The National Executive shall meet on the first Monday of every month at a time agreed upon

by the Political Leader and Chairman. The quorum shall be not less than two-thirds 2/3 of

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the membership including at least six (6) elected Officers.

13.5 The National Executive shall appoint the following Committees every three years and

determine their Terms of Reference:

(a) Strategy.

(b) Conflict Resolution

(c) Screening.

(d) Administration

(e) Finance

(f) Such other Committees as it may deem necessary to assist Officers in the

efficient performance of their duties

Article 14 -National Council

14.1 The National Council shall be the governing unit of the C.O.P between Statutory National

Assembly Conferences and shall be responsible for the implementation of the fundamental

principles, aims and objectives and formulation of policies and programs of the C.O.P and for

ensuring adherence to the C.O.P Constitution and Code of Ethics.

14.2 The National Council shall comprise:

(a) All members of the National Executive as listed in Article 13.3

(b) All members of the Parliamentary and Local Government caucuses.

(c) Ten (10) members of the Youth Congress in addition to the Chairman.

(d) Ten (10) members of the Women's Forum in addition to the Chairperson

(e) The Chairman and Secretary of each Constituency Council elected by the said

Council.

(f) The Chairman and Secretary of the Tobago Congress

14.3 The National Council shall meet quarterly or as otherwise determined by the Political Leader

in consultation with the C.O.P Chairman to receive reports from:

(a) National Executive

(b) The Parliamentary Caucus.

(c) The Local Government Caucus.

(d) The National Youth Congress

(e) The Women's Forum

(f) The Tobago Congress

14.4 The quorum for meetings shall be two thirds (2/3) of the membership of which six (6) shall be

elected Officers.

14.5 The National Council may establish Standing Committees, prescribe matters and make and

enforce Rules, Regulations and Standing Orders.

14.6 The National Council shall summon and make arrangements for Statutory National Assembly

and Special Assembly Conferences.

14.7 The National Council shall report through the appropriate Deputy Leader to the Statutory

National Assembly Conference on the functions of the C.O.P during the preceding term.

14.8 The National Council shall, on its own motion have the right to summon Special Assembly

Conferences and determine their agenda.

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Article 15 - Annual National and Special National Assembly Conferences

15.1 The National Assembly shall be convened annually by the authority of the National Council.

15.2 National Special Assemblies shall be summoned fromtime to time by the National Council as

noted in Article 14.8

15.3 The Statutory and Special National Assembly Conferences shall comprise the following:-

(a) All Members of the National Council

(b) All Members of the Parliamentary Caucus

(c) All Members of the Local Government Caucus

(d) Twenty-five (25) Members of each constituency council in addition to Members on the

National Council.

(e) Five (5) Members of the Youth Congress in addition to Members of the National

Council

(f) Five (5) Members the Women's Forum in addition to Members on the National Council

(g) Two (2) delegates representing each Affiliated Group

(h) Honorary Members

(i) Visiting Overseas Members

(j) Twenty-five (25) Members of the Tobago Congress in addition to its membership on the

National Council.

15.4 The National Assembly shall be the supreme authority of the C.O.P and shall at its Statutory

Conference:-

(a) Receive and consider reports from:

i) The National Council

ii) The Parliamentary Caucus

iii) The Local Government Caucus

iv) The Youth Congress

v) The Women's Forum

vi) Tobago Congress

vii) The Secretary - Finance, on the Audited Statement of Accounts of the C.O.P

(b) Consider and adopt resolutions recommended by the National Council

(c) Discuss any other business as the National Council may decide

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CHAPTER FOUR

Election, Resignation and Removal of Officers

Article 16 - Election of National Officers

16.1 The Political Leader shall be elected for a term of three (3) years, provided however if a General

Election falls during the term of office, he shall continue in office for the next Parliamentary term

and until the next Annual National Assembly Conference at which officers are to be elected except

as provided in Article 17.1

16.2 The Deputy Political Leaders shall be appointed by the Political Leader in consultation with other

officers in his sole discretion and he shall assign their duties. One of the Deputy Leaders shall be

a resident in Tobago and his appointment shall be made after consultation with Tobago members.

They shall hold office at the Leader's discretion.

16.3 All other officers shall be elected for a term of two (2) years.

16.4 All officers as stated in Article 13.3, except Deputy Leaders, shall be elected on the basis of one

man – one vote in accordance with a schedule of meetings prepared by the Secretariat and held in

each constituency.

The Secretariat shall certify, twenty-one days before the date appointed by the National Council

for elections, a list of financial members who shall be eligible to attend and vote.

16.5 (a) The General Secretary shall give notice to all Constituency Councils, Women’s Forum,

Youth Congress, Affiliated Groups and the Tobago Congress to submit nominations for

the election of officers on a prescribed form. Only nominations submitted by the above

units shall be considered valid. Nominations must be submitted within fourteen (14) days

of the date of notice and nominees must sign indicating their acceptance of

nomination to the office for which they are nominated.

(b) Upon receipt of the nominations, the General Secretary shall collate the responses

and submit them to the elections committee.

(c) Any person nominated for office may withdraw his nomination in writing at least

five (5) days before the date of the elections.

(d) The General Secretary shall submit a final list of elected officers to the Chairman

of the Elections Committee, three (3) days before the date of the National

Assembly.

16.6 Any National officer can have his office declared vacant for non-performance of his

assigned duties on a recall petition signed by two-thirds of our Constituency Councils.

Such officer shall have the right to contest the elections when the vacancy is being filled.

16.7 The National Council shall appoint an Elections Committee of five (5) members from

among Honorary and Founding members to conduct the elections and the committee shall

approve the voters’ list submitted by the Secretariat.

Article 17 - Resignation, Replacement and Removal of Officers

17.1 Where the office of Political Leader is vacated for any reason other than the end of the term

of office, the National Council shall summon the Special Conference of the National

Assembly within ninety (90) days of the date of the said office being vacated for the election

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of a Political Leader.

In the interim the National Council shall appoint one of the Deputy Leaders to act as Political

Leader.

17.2 If in pursuance of Article 17.1 above a new Political Leader is elected, he shall have the right

to nominate his Deputies in accordance with Article 16.2

17.3

Where a vacancy occurs in an office of a National Officer for any reason, the National

Council shall appoint a replacement within thirty (30) days for the unexpired term of the

vacated office.

17.4 Where a vacancy occurs for any reason in an office of any unit of the C.O.P that unit shall

appoint a replacement within thirty (30) days for the unexpired term of the vacated office.

Article 18 - Authority of Officers

18.1 Political Leader

(a) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution the Political Leader shall be responsible

to the C.O.P for the execution of its Political affairs and in discharge of these

responsibilities he shall consult with other officers and or units of the C.O.P as he deems

necessary.

(b) He shall have the right to exercise veto powers in the final selection of candidates for

National and Local Government Elections after due consultation with the Screening

Committee and Constituencies as may be required.

He shall appoint Senators, Aldermen and members to other national offices as may be required

from time to time.

(c) He shall have the right to appoint an Advisory Political Affairs Team to assist him in the discharge

of his responsibilities and to delegate such of his functions to any member of the Team as he may

deem necessary.

18.2 Deputy Political Leaders

The Deputy Political Leaders shall perform duties as are relevant to their portfolios and as are assigned

to them by the Political Leader.

18.3 Chairman

The C.O.P chairman shall preside at all meetings of the National Executive, National Council and

National Assembly and shall be responsible for the proper conduct and the management of these

units.

18.4 Deputy Chairman

In the a absence of the Chairman at any meeting of a unit at which he is entitled to preside, the

Deputy Chairman shall preside and shall enjoy for the time being the same rights as if he were

Chairman.

18.5 Secretary - Finance

The Secretary - Finance shall cause proper books of accounts to be kept by the Secretariat and

shall be responsible for:-

(a) The Annual budget of the party

(b) Quarterly statements of accounts to be presented to the National Executive

(c) Audited accounts to be presented to the National Assembly.

16

He shall open accounts at such bank or banks as the National Executive may decide from

time to time including the signatories thereto.

18.6 Other National Officers

All other National Officers listed in Article 13.3 shall perform such duties consistent with their

title and such other duties assigned to them from time to time by the National Executive.

Article 19 - Voting and Procedures

19.1 Only financial members of the C.O.P shall be entitled to hold office in any unit of the

C.O.P and to vote at meetings.

19.2 Voting in all Elections in all units of the C.O.P shall be by secret ballot.

19.3 The Chairman of all units of the C.O.P shall have an original as well as a casting vote.

19.4 The Chairman of all units of the C.O.P shall determine the procedure to be followed in the

conduct of meetings. He shall be guided by the acceptable rules of procedure.

19.5 In pursuance of Article 15.4 all resolutions for consideration by the National Assembly

Conference shall be sent to the General Secretary not later than thirty (30) days before the

Conference.

The National Council shall decide whether such resolutions will be included on the agenda of

the conference

17

CHAPTER FIVE

Standing Committees and Responsibilities

Article 20 - Standing Committees

20.1 The Political Leader and his Deputies shall at the commencement of each term after the

National Assembly Conference appoint the following standing committees and prescribe their

terms of reference:

(a) Political and Foreign Affairs

(b) Finance, Economics, Trade and Commerce.

(c) National Security and Legal Affairs

(d) Social Services

(e) Agriculture and Rural Development

(f) Health

(g) Education Science and Technology

(h) Planning, Land Development and environmental issues

(i) Sports, Culture & Youth Development

(j) Industrial Relations and Human Resource Development

(k) Culture and Youth Development

20.2 The membership of Standing Committees shall comprise:

(a) Members of the Parliamentary and Local Government caucuses, exclusive of the

Political Leader and Deputy Political Leaders, as assigned to various committees

(b) Not more than five other members of the C.O.P with the relevant skill and expertise.

20.3 In the process of achieving its objectives each Standing Committee shall pay special attention

to the C.O.P's manifesto and policy documents and the agendas of Parliament and Local

Government Authorities from time to time.

20.4 The Committees shall appoint their own Chairman and Secretary and shall bi-monthly present

reports to the Political Leader and Chairmen of the Parliamentary and Local Government

caucuses.

20.5 The quorum of meetings of Standing Committees shall be two-thirds of its membership

18

CHAPTER SIX

Special Provisions for Tobago

Article 21 - Tobago Congress

21.1 There shall be a unit of the Party established in Tobago known as the Tobago Congress

hereinafter referred to as the T C. It shall comprise all members of the C.O.P resident in

Tobago and shall be responsible for all affairs of the COP in Tobago.

21.2 The TC shall be structured to include constituencies and other units as may be considered

necessary to effectively discharge its responsibilities.

21.3 The TC shall comprise the officers and other representatives as follows:-

(a) Chairman

(b) Deputy Chairman

(c) General Secretary

(d) Treasurer

(e) Assistant General Secretary

(f) Education and Research Officer

(g) Communications and Public Relations Officer

(h) Chairman and Secretary of each Constituency Council and any other units

which may be formed from time to time.

21.4 The above officers shall be elected at a conference of members of the C.O.P resident in

Tobago and shall hold office for a period of three (3) years.

21.5 In the discharge of its responsibilities the TC shall operate in accordance with the constitution

of the C.O.P and regulations established on its own accord and approved by the National

Executive.

21.6 The TC shall be represented on the National Executive by its Chairman.

21.7 The TC shall be represented on the National Council by two of its officers and at the

Statutory and Special National Assembly Conferences by twenty-five (25) additional

delegates.

19

CHAPTER SEVEN

Miscellaneous Provisions

Article 22 - Notice of Meetings

22.1 Seven (7) days notice shall be given for meetings of all units of the C.O.P except the National

Assembly.

22.2 Fourteen (14) days notice shall be given for all meetings of the National Assembly

22.3 No meeting shall be aborted only on the ground that sufficient notice has not been given

provided however a quorum is present and the meeting ratifies the date and time of notice.

Article 23 - Code of Ethics

23.1.1 The C.O.P shall develop a Code of Ethics outlining standards of conduct expected from all

members. All members are under an obligation and oath to avoid acts which may be considered

liable to bring the C.O.P into disrepute.

Article 24 - Property of the C.O.P

24.1 All Property of the C.O.P of any kind whatever shall be vested for and on behalf of the C.O.P in

the name of the Trustees, not exceeding three (3) to be appointed by the National Council.

24.2 If any Trustee resigns or is unable for whatever reason to perform his functions the National

Council shall fill the vacancy as early as possible.

24.3 All funds and property of the C.O.P from whatever source shall immediately vest in the C.O.P. All

assets and liabilities of any and all units shall vest in the C.O.P.

Article 25 - Operational Year

The Operational Year of the C.O.P shall be from 1st June to 30th May in each year.

Article 26 - Financial Year

The Financial Year of the C.O.P shall be from 1st April of any year to the 31st March of the following

year, and the accounts of the C.O.P shall be prepared at least once every year and shall be examined

and certified by the Auditors as hereinafter provided.

Article 27 - Casual Vacancies

All vacancies occurring among officers of the various units shall be filled by the respective unit for

the period in which the officer will be absent.

Article 28 - Reserve Powers and Interpretation

28. 1 The National Council shall have the power to determine matters on which this Constitution,

rules and regulations or Standing orders made hereunder are silent or from which ambiguity

or difficulty of interpretation or otherwise arises and its decision on such matters shall be final

for all purposes whatever.

28.2 Unless otherwise specially stated, all matters to be prescribed and all rules and regulations to

be made shall be done by the National Executive and approved by the National Council.

28.3 The word "He" or such masculine term shall also be interpreted as "She" or such feminine

20

term.

28.4 Wherever the word Secretariat appears it shall mean the administrative office of the C.O.P

wherever located from time to time.

28.5 Wherever the word Statutory appears it shall mean the meeting of the various units whenever

due.

28.6 Community Services Officer shall mean the officer assigned by Community Circles to

receive, present to and advise the Community Circle on problems affecting the relevant

community.

Article 29 – Audit

The Auditor or Auditors shall be appointed at every Statutory meeting of the National Assembly

provided that no member of the C.O.P may be appointed as Auditor.

The National Executive shall determine the remuneration thereto.

Article 30 - Regulation and Byelaws

The National Executive shall be empowered from time to time to formulate, adopt and amend

regulations and byelaws to give effect to this constitution and for the efficient conduct of the business

of the C.O.P. Regulations so formulated and approved by the National Council shall not be amended

without the expressed authority of the said Council.

Article 31 - Amendment to the Constitution

31.1 The Constitution shall be amended only at a Special Conference of the National Assembly on

the basis of written proposals submitted by a unit of the C.O.P and approved the National

Council. The proposal must be specific to the Article to be amended.

31.2 A resolution to amend the Constitution must receive at least two-thirds (2/3) of the votes of

the members present and entitled to vote.

Article 32 - Effective date

The Constitution shall come into effect the day following the meeting of members at which it was

approved, and all transitional provisions shall be made by a transitional team appointed by the

Political Leader.

______________________________________________________

This Constitution was approved at an Assembly of Founding Members held on the 8

th day of October in

the year 2006 and is subject to review within one year of that date.

Updated May 2008 by decision of National Assembly held on the 9

th day of March 2008.

1

CONGRESS OF THE PEOPLE

STANDING ORDERS

Registration

1.

At any meeting each member shall present his or her credentials to the person or persons duly

authorised by the National Executive to conduct registration of delegates and observers for the meeting.

2.

An Agenda on the business of the meeting shall be supplied to each member in advance.

3.

The Agenda shall be adhered to until its completion, unless a motion to suspend the Standing Orders

is moved and carried by a majority of two-thirds (2/3) of those present and voting.

Role of Chairman

4.

The Chairman of the COP shall be the Chairman of all meetings of which he is a member and shall

formally open the business of the meeting.

5.

In the event that the Chairman is absent the Vice Chairman will preside and if the Vice Chairman is

also absent, the members present shall proceed to elect a Chairman from among themselves.

6.

The Chairman shall have a deliberative and casting vote.

7.

The Chairman shall entertain and rule on all points of order and procedural motions.

8.

The ruling of the Chairman on all matters shall be strictly obeyed.

Decision-making

9.

Except where otherwise stated, all decisions of the National Executive or the National Council or the

National Assembly Conference or any Committee appointed by any of them or of any other body

functioning under the Constitution of the Congress of the People shall be by a simple majority i.e. a

majority of the members voting on the issue.

10.

Where a decision is to be made on simple majority and is not unanimous, any four (4) delegates may

call for a division upon which there shall be another vote by roll call. This order shall apply

only to a

meeting of the National Council or National Assembly,

2

Speaking Time

11.

Each member in rising to make a contribution to the meeting shall address the Chair and shall be

limited in speaking to

four (4) minutes on each subject. This time may be extended only at the

discretion of the Chair.

12.

With the exception of moving a procedural motion or raising a point of order, a member shall speak

only

in reference to a motion, resolution or amendment and shall not speak twice on one subject unless

he is the mover of an original proposition where he shall have the right to reply.

i. The Chairman, Political Leader and General Secretary are exempted from this order.

13.

Contributions to discussion or debate on any matter or motion must be relevant to the particular

matter under discussion.

14.

Asking or answering a question by permission of the Chair shall not be considered a speech.

Motions

15.

All motions on any matter shall be submitted at least seven (7) days in advance of the meeting date

and must be submitted via the appropriate officer or body so they may be included in the Agenda.

16.

Except with the approval of two-thirds (2/3) majority no late motion, amendment or appeal which

could have been submitted by any Constituency or other body in time to be included in the Agenda shall

be admissible.

(For the purpose of this order, a two-thirds majority shall be construed to mean two-thirds of the

members entitled to vote and present at the meeting).

17.

No motion shall be discussed unless it is seconded, except a motion proposed by the National

Executive or National Council or one submitted via either of these bodies in which case it shall be taken

as having been moved and seconded.

18.

An amendment to a motion, properly before a meeting, may be entertained only if it is moved and

seconded.

19.

No other amendment shall be voted on until the first amendment is disposed of.

20.

Once all amendments to a motion are voted on, the entire amended motion shall then be voted on.

21.

Procedural motions are not required to be seconded with the following exception:

i. In the event of a motion

"that the question be put" being moved during the course of a

debate or discussion in the meeting, that motion must be seconded and shall be put to the vote.

If this motion is not accepted, the debate or discussion shall continue.

3

ii. Where, however, the motion is accepted the following procedure shall apply:-

All debate or discussion on the issue before the house shall cease, except that the

mover of the original resolution and/or the mover of an amendment shall have the right of

reply.

iii. The Chairman and Political Leader are exempted from the provisions of this order and

may make a further contribution, if any of them so desires.

Conduct at Meetings

22.

All members participating in a meeting shall do so in an orderly and respectful manner and

contribute to the efficient conduct of the meeting.

23.

A majority of two thirds of the members present may suspend and exclude from the meeting any

member who is insubordinate or who improperly conducts himself.

24.

A member so dealt with may be re-instated on tendering an apology acceptable to the meeting.

Committees of the Meeting

25.

A meeting may by motion moved, seconded and approved by majority vote resolve itself into

Committee for more informal discussion on a particular matter.

26.

A meeting shall also have power to appoint Committees for the furtherance of its business. Such

Committees may sit during the hours of the meeting should it be necessary for them to do so.

Standing Orders to apply to All Meetings

27.

These Standing Orders shall apply to all meetings held within the COP and shall be read as such with

appropriate changes.

Ratified by the National Council on 13 January 2013.

CONGRESS OF THE PEOPLE

Code of Ethics

-See Article 23 of Constitution-

1. The Congress of the People has been constructed on the pillars of truth, justice, integrity

and transparency. It is expected, therefore, that all members will conduct themselves in

accord with these principles.

2. A member, and more particularly an officer of any unit of the Party, should perform his

functions impartially, uninfluenced by fear or favour.

3. No member shall solicit funds or donations of any kind on behalf of the Party without the

written authority of the Party's Secretariat.

4. A member should avoid situations in which his private interest conflicts with his party

functions.

5. A member should not make public statements criticizing or condemning another member

when such statements are likely to bring disharmony among members and the Party into

public ridicule.

6. A member should not make statements to the Media on behalf of the Party without the

authority of the appropriate national officer.

7. Members should refrain from arguments, conflicts, confrontation with another member and

should in the first instance refer any such disputes to his unit or to any senior officer for

harmonious resolution. If unresolved, the issue should be referred in writing to the National

Executive for resolution.

8. In abiding by the commitment to integrity in public affairs, a member must not make

promises to resolve personal or community problems when he is aware that he is unable to

deliver such promises.

9. Members of Community Circles in particular are expected to project an image of unity and

cohesion in dealing with all residents of the community and to win their support for the party

by an attitude of good fellowship and respect.

1

The People’s Charter

Preamble

Whereas

pursuant to the Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago the

People of Trinidad and Tobago-

(a) have affirmed that the Nation of Trinidad and Tobago is founded upon:

(i) principles that acknowledge the supremacy of God,

(ii) faith in fundamental human rights and freedoms,

(iii) the position of the family in a society of free men and free institutions,

(iv) the dignity of the human person; and

(v) the equal and inalienable rights with which all members of the human

family are endowed by their Creator;

(b) respect the principles of social justice and therefore believe:

(i) that the operation of the economic system should result in the material

resources of the community being so distributed as to subserve the

common good,

(ii) that there should be adequate means of livelihood for all,

(iii) that labour should not be exploited or forced by economic necessity to

operate in inhumane conditions but that there should be opportunity

for advancement on the basis of recognition of merit, ability and

integrity;

(c) have asserted their belief in a democratic society in which all persons may,

to the extent of their capacity, play some part in the institutions of the national life

and thus develop and maintain due respect for lawfully constituted authority;

(d) recognise that men and institutions remain free only when freedom is

founded upon respect for moral and spiritual values and the rule of law; and

2

(e) desire that provision be made for ensuring the protection in Trinidad and

Tobago of fundamental human rights and freedoms.

And Whereas

the principles and beliefs enshrined in our Constitution are best

protected through the democratic process underpinned by fairness, the rule of law,

freedom to express divergent opinions, equality of access to opportunities and

through adherence to constitutional provisions that stipulate the rights and

responsibilities of the citizen.

And Whereas

it is the desire of the Undersigned persons representing

organizations throughout Trinidad and Tobago (collectively the ‘Organisations’),

including Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO), Community Based

Organisations (CBO), Media Houses, Trade Unions, Business Organisations,

Religious Organisations and Political Parties to endorse the principles and codes

set out in this Charter for the common good of the People and in the national

interest of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago..

And Whereas

the political parties and their candidates who are signatories

hereto (respectively the

‘Parties’ and ‘Candidates’) have agreed to pledge

themselves to this Declaration of Principles and Code of Political Conduct.

NOW THEREFORE IT IS HEREBY AGREED AND DECLARED AS

FOLLOWS:

1.

DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES

We believe a Government should:

·

partner with the People in establishing the conditions in which everyone

can fulfill his/her true potential so that our Country can flourish on the

basis of sustainable development

everyone counts and everyone is

needed

·

provide a safe and secure environment where all People can live, work and

play without fear and in which their quality of life is optimized

Crime

must not be tolerated and measures must be taken to end the lawlessness

and disorder which contributes to the atmosphere in which criminal

activity thrives

3

·

ensure that the disadvantaged in our Society are provided with the tools to

enable them to become productive and make reasonable provisions for

those persons who by reason of illness, old age or disability cannot work

·

provide the framework for education and training which is relevant to the

needs of the modern world, with particular emphasis on the need to

become a knowledge based economy and to introduce a platform for

young people to engage in entrepreneurial activity

·

build a diverse and democratic society that respects human rights, in

which all people live in dignity and security, free of all forms of

discrimination on the basis of religion, color or gender

·

not tolerate any form of corruption and should not politicize the civil

service, commissions or state enterprises

·

promote regulations for the financing of political parties

·

support a system of governance under which all major sectors of the

population are represented and encourages the participation of women at

all levels of governance

We believe that responsible members of Government should uphold the

following principles of personal conduct:

Selflessness

: Holders of public office should 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.

Integrity:

Holders of public office should 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.

Objectivity:

In carrying out public business, including making public

appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and

benefits, holders of public office should make choices based on merit

.

Accountability

: Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and

actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is

appropriate to their office.

4

Openness

: Holders of public office should 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

Honesty

: Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests

relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a

way that protects the public interest

.

Leadership

: Holders of public office should promote and support these principles

by leadership and example

2 OBJECTIVES

This Charter is intended to achieve the following objectives:

(i) Legitimization of democracy through peaceful, free and fair elections to

select public officials, which are conducted at regular intervals and are

accentuated by the informed choice of voters, who are able to cast their

ballot freely, without interference, fear, intimidation or bribery

(ii) Inculcation 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

(iii) Fostering and encouraging people’s participation in the electoral process

and to uphold their right to make political choices

3 CODE OF POLITICAL CONDUCT

Section 1 - Commitment

The Parties and their Candidates

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) A ddress themselves to issues and principles dealing with sustainable

national growth and the socio-economic development of the people.

(iii) M aintain the highest moral principles and ethics with regards to the

campaign, the elections and the post election period.

5

(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) L et their own behaviour be a positive example that promotes respect,

tolerance, harmony and peace among supporters and the general public during the

campaign, the elections and in the post election period.

(vii) 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.

(viii) Steer clear of practices that promote political tribalism and commit to the

removal of any structures (behavioural, cultural, social or organizational) which

reinforce political tribalism

(ix) Take deliberate steps to publicly disassociate themselves from criminal

elements and criminal activity

(x) Confine their criticism of other political parties to their policies and

programmes, past record and work. Parties and their Candidates shall refrain from

criticizing all aspects of private life not connected with the public activities of the

leaders or candidates of other parties. Criticism of other parties or their candidates

based on unverified allegations or distortion is forbidden

(xi) Ensure that meeting organizers seek the assistance of police on duty to

deal with persons disturbing or disrupting a meeting. Organizers may not take

action against such persons.

Section 2 - Prohibited conduct

The Parties and their Candidates

WILL NOT:

(i) Offer any inducement or reward 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;

6

(c) vote 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

(ii) 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;

(iii) Publish false or defamatory allegations in connection with an election in

respect of a party, its candidates, representatives or members;

(iv) 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;

(v) Seek to assassinate the character of or make derogatory or degrading

comments about any individual, family, professional group or section of the

community

(vi) Deface or unlawfully remove or destroy the billboards, placards, posters or

any other election materials of a party or candidate;

(vii) 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;

(viii) Abuse a position of power, privilege or influence, including parental,

patriarchal, traditional or employment authority to influence the conduct or

outcome of an election;

(ix) Engage, recruit or deploy any individual(s) for the purpose of violence,

intimidation or harassment;

(x) Deface public and private property and structures;

7

(xi) Permit the inappropriate or unauthorised use or abuse of minors in the

campaign process;

(xii) Plagiarise or disparage the symbols, colours or acronyms of other parties;

(xiii) Permit the use and abuse of State resources for political campaigns;

(xiv) Indulge in

negative campaigning or advertising or any action which

would bring the political process into disrepute;

(xv) Use funds derived from any source, public or private, to improperly

influence electoral choices;

(xvi) 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;

(xvii) Issue advertisements or other marketing material the cost of which is

borne out of public funds.

Section 3 – Role of the Media

Every Party and every Candidate will —

(a) respect the role of the media before, during and after an election;

(b) permit access by members of the media to public political meetings,

marches, demonstrations and rallies;

(c) 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;

(d) refrain from monopolizing television stations to the intent that other

parties holding meetings on the same day are not permitted live coverage

Section 4 – The Campaign

The Parties and their Candidates will

ENSURE THAT:

(i) Chairpersons of all political campaign events appeal to supporters and the

general public for peaceful behaviour.

8

(ii) Obstruction of roads and inconvenience to the general public is minimized

whenever political activities are held at roadsides

(iii) All private and public property rights are respected

(iv) M easures are taken to clean the environs immediately following the

holding of political events

(v) The use of state facilities to support political parties or any candidate is

absolutely prohibited

(vi) 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.

(vii) Every person is free to go about his/her lawful business without

restriction, harassment or intimidation

(viii) From the time elections are announced, a Party, if in power, shall not

permit ministers and other governmental authorities or enterprises –

(a) to announce any financial grants in any form or promises thereof; or

(b) to lay foundation stones etc. of projects or schemes of any kind; or

(c) to make any ad-hoc appointments in Ministries, State Enterprises etc.

which may have the effect of influencing the voters in favour of the

party in power; or

(d) cause promotional material to be published the expenditure for which

exceeds that spent during the preceding six month period on a

proportional basis.

9

(ix) Recognize and acknowledge the rights of accredited observers and

monitors at polling stations for the purpose of observing the conduct of elections.

4

. COUNCIL FOR RESPONSIBLE POLITICAL BEHAVIOUR

:

A

Council for Responsible Political Behaviour (the ‘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 persons so appointed 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

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

The functions of the Council will be to:

(i) 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) N etwork with bodies involved in monitoring elections in Trinidad and

Tobago and with regional and international bodies which place governance as an

important objective

(iv) Actively engage different networks which can bring moral suasion to bear

on the conduct of political parties

(v) I m plement related activities consistent with the spirit of this Code as

mandated by the broader body of civil society

(vi) Report to the broader body of civil society, and through it, to the public

10

5. PLEDGE

Pledge to Follow The People’s Charter

The Political Leaders of each Political Party that is a signatory to the People’s

Charter and each Candidate when nominated by such Political Parties must read

and understand it and must sign a pledge to follow it.

I have read and understand

the Declaration of Principles and Code of Political

Conduct. I support and adopt the Declaration of Principles and hereby pledge that

I will follow the Code of Political Conduct and agree to ensure so far as I can that

all of my activities and those of my Party will be conducted completely in

accordance with it.

Signed ________________________________________________

Print Name ____________________________________________

Date __________________________________________________

SIGNATORIES OF ORGANISATIONS ADOPTING THE PEOPLE’S CHARTER

The Organisations which have endorsed this Charter and by so doing are desirous

of the Political Parties and their Candidates abiding by the Charter are as follows:

[_

Name of Organisation_]

By____________________________

Name:

Title:

Date:

ACKNOWLEDGMENT: In addition to adopting provisions in the Constitution of the Republic of

Trinidad and Tobago, this Charter is formulated based on documents from various sources,

including website publications of the UK Parliament (Committee on Standards in Public Life –

UK), South Africa, India, New Zealand and Jamaica. Perhaps the most significant source is the

electoral code of conduct published by certain NGO’s and political parties of Grenada.

1

CONGRESS OF THE PEOPLE

CONFLICT RESOLUTION RULES

Background

These Conflict Resolution Rules have been prescribed and made by the

National Council of the C.O.P. pursuant to the authority vested in it by Article

14:5 of the C.O.P. Constitution.

All references to any committee or body in these Conflict Resolution Rules

shall be to the body so named in the C.O.P. Constitution (the ‘Constitution’,

which term shall include all Rules, Regulations, By-laws, Standing Orders and

Codes of Ethics which are prescribed under the Constitution as it may be

amended, varied, supplemented or replaced from time to time).

The National Council has established a Standing Committee to be called the

Conflict Resolution Committee the members of which shall be appointed by

the National Executive.

The National Executive is the sole body authorised to investigate all matters of

infringement of the Constitution, including disciplinary matters and conflicts

between units of the C.O.P., and if necessary refer same to the Conflict

Resolution Committee for determination and report.

Prior to referring any matter to the Conflict Resolution Committee, the

National Council, where it considers it appropriate in its sole discretion, may

appoint a mediator to assist the parties in resolving the issues which have arisen

for consideration.

2

In carrying our its functions the Conflict Resolution Committee shall adopt and

apply these Conflict Resolution Rules and shall have the powers and authority

as prescribed in these Conflict Resolution Rules.

No member or other party which is bound by the Constitution may institute

any proceedings in any court of law unless and until the process prescribed in

the Conflict Resolution Rules have been complied with and the Conflict

Resolution Committee has heard and made a determination of the matter

which has been referred to it by the National Executive.

In these Conflict Resolution Rules any reference to ‘C.O.P.’ or ‘organisation’

shall be to the Congress of the People.

Rule 1 DISCIPLINE

1.1. (a) All members, without exception, must abide by the Constitution of the

C.O.P., and the Rules and Regulations, the Standing Orders Codes of

Conduct, as adopted or amended from time to time, as well as all policies and

decisions properly adopted or made in terms of the Constitution.

(b) Every candidate representing the C.O.P. during an election at any level of

government, must undertake, in writing, prior to the elections, to abide by the

Constitution of the C.O.P. and must pledge to abide by the Principles and

Codes of Conduct which form part of The People’s Charter to which the

C.O.P. (in these Rules referred to as the ‘Charter’) has subscribed and any other

the relevant Code of Conduct for elected representatives, and to submit to and

abide by any disciplinary proceedings instituted against her or him in terms of

the Constitution, the Charter or such Code, directly or indirectly arising from

her or his conduct as a public representative of the C.O.P.

(c) All members and public representatives of the C.O.P., without exception,

are subject to the discipline of the C.O.P. and must submit to the provisions of

the Constitution, Rules and Regulations, Standing Orders and Codes of

Conduct with regard to the regulation of the conduct of members and public

representatives, and the applicable disciplinary procedures, in particular Rule 1.

1.2 Disciplinary proceedings against a member and public representative shall

be confined to violations of the C.O.P. Constitution, Rules and Regulations,

Standing Orders, Codes of Conduct and the policies and decisions of the

C.O.P. properly adopted or made in terms of the Constitution, or the

3

misconduct referred to in Rule 1.5 or provided for in terms of Rule 1.13 (b)

and shall not:

a. Be used as a means of stifling debate or denying members their

basic democratic rights; or

b. Be instituted as a means of solving private problems or as a means

of interfering in the private lives of members where the norms of

the organisation are not directly affected, unless such conduct

itself constitutes a violation or an offence affecting the

organisation.

1.3 If the National Executive , or the relevant body exercising its right to

invoke disciplinary proceedings under the Constitution, is satisfied that the

institution of a disciplinary procedure is warranted against a member or public

representative in respect of any conduct referred to in Rule 1.5 or any other

misconduct prohibited in terms of the Constitution, it may decide to institute

disciplinary proceedings against such member in respect of such misconduct

and then refer the matter to the Conflict Resolution Committee, or any other

body authorised in terms of the Constitution to conduct disciplinary

proceedings, to proceed with such disciplinary hearing [refer to 1.6(c)].

1.4 The Conflict Resolution Committee, having conducted a disciplinary

hearing in terms of this Constitution, may find any member or public

representative guilty of any misconduct referred to in Rule 1.5 or any other

misconduct prohibited in terms of the Constitution, only if it is satisfied that

the evidence presented is of such a cogent and sufficient nature as to prove the

guilt of such member or public representative on a balance of probabilities.

1.5. The following conduct by a member or public representative shall

constitute misconduct in respect of which disciplinary proceedings may be

invoked and instituted against him or her:

a. Conviction in a court of law and being sentenced to a term of

imprisonment without the option of a fine, for any serious nonpolitical

offence;

b. Conviction in a court of law, for any serious non-political offence;

c. Behaviour which brings the organisation into disrepute or which

manifests a flagrant violation of the moral integrity expected of

members and public representatives or conduct unbecoming that

of a member or public representative;

4

d. Sowing racism, sexism, ethnic chauvinism, religious and political

intolerance, or any form of discrimination;

e. Engaging in sexual or physical abuse of women or children or

abuse of office to obtain sexual or any other undue advantage

from members or others;

f. Abuse of elected or employed office in the organisation or in the

State to obtain any direct or indirect undue advantage or

enrichment;

g. Behaving corruptly in seeking or accepting any bribe for

performing or not performing any task;

h. Misappropriation of the funds of the organisation or destruction

of its properties;

i. Behaving in such a way as to provoke serious divisions or a breakdown

of unity in the organisation;

j. Undermining the respect for or impeding the functioning of the

structures of the organisation;

k. Participating in organised factional activity that goes beyond the

recognised norms of free debate inside the organisation and

threatens its unity;

l. Supporting a political organisation or party other than an

organisation in alliance with the C.O.P. in a manner contrary to

the aims, objectives and policy of the C.O.P;

m.Standing in an election for local or national government or acts as

the election agent or canvasser of a person standing for such

election in opposition to a candidate duly endorsed by the

National Executive;

n. Joining a political organisation or party other than the C.O.P. or a

party in alliance with the C.O.P.;

o. Prejudicing the integrity or repute of the organisation, its

personnel or its operational capacity by:

aa.Impeding the activities of the organisation;

bbb. Creating division within its ranks or membership;

cccc. Doing any other act, which undermines its

effectiveness as an organisation; or

ddddd. Acting on behalf of or in collaboration with:

i. Persons promoting criminal activities;

5

ii. A political organisation or party other than an

organisation or party in alliance with the C.O.P. in a

manner contrary to the aims, policies and objectives

of the C.O.P.;

iii. Intelligence or the security services of other

countries; or

iv. Any person or group who seriously interferes with

the work of the organisation or prevents it from

fulfilling its mission and objectives.

b. Fighting or behaving in a grossly disorderly or unruly way;

c. Deliberately disrupting meetings and interfering with the orderly

functioning of the organisation;

d. Payment of, or assisting or facilitating the payment of,

membership subscription of the organisation for a person or

persons or a group of persons who would otherwise be unwilling

or unable to pay their own subscriptions;

e. Offering a reduced rate membership to those known by the

individual or group making the offer to be ineligible for that

category of membership;

f. Recruitment of members who do not reside at an address claimed,

where this is done in order to manipulate branch meetings or the

outcome of organisational votes; or

g. Giving, collecting or raising of funds for campaigning activities

within the C.O.P. aimed at influencing the outcome of a

conference or meeting.

1.6 (a) The National Executive shall appoint the Conflict Resolution

Committee, from among its membership and from other structures of the

C.O.P, which will consist of at least 5 but not more than 9 members. At least

three members of the Conflict Resolution Committee shall constitute its

quorum. Any member of the National Executive or the National Council may

refer any violation or misconduct directly to the National Executive for

determination of a complaint.

(b) The decisions of the Conflict Resolution Committee shall be final, except

that the National Executive may, in its discretion, review a decision. Such a

review shall be regulated by standing orders adopted by the National Executive.

(c) No member of the Conflict Resolution Committee may participate in a

decision to institute disciplinary proceedings against a member and such

member of the Conflict Resolution Committee should recuse himself or herself

6

from such discussion and decision, save in the exceptional circumstances.

However, this does not prohibit such member from participating in any

political discussion on any issue, which later becomes the subject of a

discussion and decision to institute such disciplinary proceedings against a

member.

1.7 (a) Any person faced with disciplinary proceedings shall receive due written

notice of any hearing and of the basic allegations and charges against him or

her and be afforded a reasonable opportunity to make his or her defense.

(b) Any person faced with disciplinary proceedings is entitled to be represented

by a member in good standing and who is a paid up member for at least three

months prior to the receipt of such written notice referred to in Rule 1.7(a).

(c) If disciplinary proceedings are instituted against a member and such

member does not appear at the venue and at the time determined for such

proceedings or does not remain in attendance when required to do so, the

relevant disciplinary committee, if satisfied that such member was properly and

timeously notified of such venue and time, may order that the proceedings

continue in the absence of such member. The disciplinary committee may form

an opinion of the evidence led, after applying the test provided for in Rule 1.4,

and it may proceed and make a finding of guilty or not guilty, as the case may

be, even if such member was absent from part or the whole of the proceedings.

1.8 (a) Penalties or sanctions, which may be imposed by a disciplinary

committee, for proven violations of the Constitution, other relevant

instruments, principles, norms, policies and decisions of the C.O.P., will

include reprimand, payment of compensation and/or the performance of

useful tasks, remedial action, and suspension of membership or expulsion from

the C.O.P., and in the case of a public representative also the removal from any

list or instrument which entitles such person to represent the C.O.P. at any

level of government.

(b) The Conflict Resolution Committee may suspend the imposition of any of

the above penalties or sanctions, with or without certain conditions for a period

to be determined by such Committee.

(c) Any member found guilty of the misconduct referred to in Rule 1.5(m) and

(n), shall be ineligible to be or remain a member, and shall be expelled from the

organisation.

7

1.9. A decision of the Conflict Resolution Committee only takes effect once it

has been reviewed and confirmed by the National Executive.

1.10 All disciplinary proceedings shall be disposed of expeditiously, but within

6 months from the date that notice of the charge has been delivered to the

member, provided that the National Executive may, upon application from the

Dispute Resolution Committee, in writing, at any stage before or after the

expiry of such period extend this period in a particular case, if it deems it

necessary.

1.11 The Dispute Resolution Committee shall in writing report the outcome of

each disciplinary proceeding to the secretary of the National Executive and

then the decision shall be publicly announced by the Dispute Resolution

Committee.

1.12 Temporary Suspension

a. The Dispute Resolution Committee may summarily suspend the

membership of any member, by acting in accordance with the

procedures prescribed in Rule 1.12.

b. Before the Dispute Resolution Committee makes such a decision,

it must have due regard to the nature and seriousness of an

alleged violation or misconduct by a member and/or public

representative only after the accusations have been put to him or

her for comment by the person or body tasked with such duty by

the Dispute Resolution Committee, and he or she has had an

opportunity to respond, provided that if such member has been

given proper and timeous notice of such opportunity and does

not avail himself or herself of such opportunity, and/or does not

attend or does not stay in attendance, the matter may be

proceeded with in his or her absence.

c. Exceptional circumstances, as determined by the Dispute

Resolution Committee may warrant an immediate decision of

temporary suspension of a member without eliciting the

comment of such member, as provided for in paragraph (b).

d. The member or public representative shall immediately be

informed of such suspension.

e. In the case of the suspension of an elected public representative,

the relevant structure making the decision must also provide for

any terms and conditions, which will regulate his or her

participation and conduct as a public representative during the

period of suspension.

8

f. The member or public representative shall immediately be

informed of such terms and conditions.

g. When the Dispute Resolution Committee imposes a temporary

suspension on a member or a public representative, it must

immediately forward a report of such suspension and the reasons

for it, to the National Executive and the National Executive may,

if circumstances warrant it, at any stage set aside such suspension.

h. The temporary suspension shall lapse if a notice of a charge

relating to such suspension is not delivered to the member within

30 days of the date of the commencement of the temporary

suspension.

i. Such disciplinary proceedings shall be attended to as quickly as

possible and completed within a reasonable period.

j. The temporary suspension shall, subject to paragraph (g), remain

in force until the finalisation of the disciplinary proceedings,

including any appeals, provided that the National Excutive may,

upon application and if the circumstances so warrant, at any stage

set aside such suspension.

k. The temporary suspension may at any stage be set aside by the

structure, which imposed it, if it deems it necessary.

1.13 (a) The National Executive must adopt Rules and Regulations for the

regulation of the effective and appropriate implementation and functioning of

Rule 1dealing with disciplinary proceedings in the C.O.P.

(b) Without prejudice to the generality of Rule 1.5, the National Executive may,

in regulations, prescribe further conduct by a member or public representative,

constituting misconduct in respect of which disciplinary proceedings may be

invoked and instituted against him or her.

(c) The National Executive shall adopt guidelines for the interpretation of Rule

1 and for the rules of procedure applicable during disciplinary proceedings,

including time limits to be followed before, during and after a hearing.

(d) The Rules, Regulations and guidelines referred to in this subrule must be

adopted by the National Executive within six (6) months from the formulation

of these Conflict Resolution Rules by the National Council.

(e) The National Executive may:

9

i. authorise other structures of the C.O.P. to institute

disciplinary proceedings; and

ii. establish appropriate structures to implement or make the

appropriate arrangements to apply the provisions of Rule

1.

10

APPENDIX

Disciplinary Procedure

Introduction

Rule 1 of the Conflict Resolution Rules formulated under the Constitution

deals with discipline. This disciplinary procedure prescribes how the

disciplinary procedure is to be used and how disciplinary proceedings are to be

conducted.

Objective of Disciplinary Procedure

The objective of disciplinary procedure is to ensure that in all disciplinary

proceedings:

There is a formal procedure.

There is a just and fair procedure.

A member is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

A member has a chance to defend herself or himself.

[A member has the right to appeal]. Note I have not included a right of

appeal as I was concerned as to whether we had sufficient personnel to

allow for such a structure.

Starting Disciplinary Procedure

Disciplinary Proceedings may be instituted:

1. Only for violations or offences of the C.O.P. Constitution, the Rules and

Regulations, the Standing Orders, Codes of Conduct, all policies and

decisions properly adopted or made in terms of the Constitution, or the

violations and offences set out in Rule 1.5 or Rule 1.13(b) [See Rule 1.5.

of the C.O.P. Constitution.]

Holding Disciplinary Proceedings

1. A charge must be made within reasonable time of the violation or

offence. [Rule 1.7]

2. A charge must be prepared by the presenter on behalf of the organ or

officials of the C.O.P. instituting the disciplinary proceedings. The

charge must:

o

Be in writing

11

o

Set out the information forming the reason for the charge and the

alleged violation or offence in reasonable detail.

o

Identify the:

Provision of the C.O.P. Constitution, the Rules, the

Standing Orders, Codes of Conduct alleged to have been

violated.

Violations and offences set out in Rule 1.5 alleged to have

been committed.

o

Advise the charged member of her or his right to be represented

by a member of the C.O.P. in good standing, to call witnesses for

defence of the charge, and to recall and question witnesses called

for prosecution of the charge.

o

Specify the time and place of the disciplinary proceedings.

o

Be delivered to the charged member seven days before the

disciplinary proceedings or sooner if this is necessary in certain

serious circumstances.

3. The following persons must be present at a Disciplinary Proceeding:

o

The Chairperson and members of the Conflict Resolution

Committee.

o

The presenter of the charge.

o

The charged member, who can be tried in her or his absence if

she or he does not appear.

o

The charged member’s representative who is a member of the

C.O.P. in good standing.

o

The witnesses.

o

A minute taker.

4. The Chairperson of the Conflict Resolution Committee must ensure

that:

o

The disciplinary proceedings are held in a fair manner. He or she

will rule on all matters that may arise and ensure order is

maintained.

o

The charged member is informed of the charge, is informed of

her or his rights and is asked to plead guilty or not guilty to the

charge.

o

The presenter of the charge details the charged member’s alleged

violation or offence and may call witnesses in support of the

charge and may produce relevant documentation in support of

the charge.

o

The charged member or her or his representative presents the

defence to the charge and may call witnesses and may request the

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recall of and question witnesses called in support of the charge,

and may produce relevant documentation.

Adjudication

At the end of the disciplinary proceedings, the Chairperson of the Dispute

Resolution Committee must ensure that:

1. The members of the Dispute Resolution Committee discuss the issues

raised at the disciplinary proceedings in private and make a finding

based on the facts and evidence of the case and make a ruling.

2. The Chairperson and the members of the Dispute Resolution

Committee decide a penalty. The penalties are:

o

Reprimand

o

Payment of compensation and/or performance of useful tasks

o

Suspension

o

Expulsion.

3. The charged member is advised of the ruling and the penalty of the

Dispute Resolution Committee with the reasons for these and is advised

of her or his right to appeal.

4. That the ruling and penalty are publicly announced. (Rule 1.11).

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COP Financial Policies and Practices

Prepared by CA International - Principal, Mr. Conrad Aleong, B. Comm (Hons), C.A.

To the Chairman, Political Leader and all National Executive members, Constituency officials, Party

officers and members, staff and volunteers.

As we proceed on the journey to winning National and Local Elections, it is imperative that we establish

and adhere to integrity, accountability, transparency, stewardship and discipline in financial matters. We

need to practice these financial values now, before we get into government and in control of the

People’s resources.

We have compiled and adopted a comprehensive set of policies and procedures to cover all aspects of

fund raising, spending, commitment, banking and accounting/reporting. It is important that you observe

that the term “Commitment”, a traditional business consideration, has been added to the Party’s

financial policies. This is always an area of high financial risk and a political party with its looser structure

is particularly vulnerable to unauthorized persons making commitments on behalf of the Party. A

“Commitment” policy addresses the act of persons, with or without the requisite authority, committing

the party to doing something which produces, deliberately or inadvertently, a legal obligation on the

Party and its members, to fulfil, pay, or liquidate.

Additionally, the greatest risk of all is the fraudulent act of collecting money on behalf of the Party but

instead absconding with such funds for personal use.

In addition to these two risks of unauthorized commitments and fraudulent absconding of Donors’ funds

intended for the Party, there are many acts and omissions which can hurt the Party while often at the

same time, being illegal.

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The following

COP Financial Policies and Procedures have been approved by the National Executive and

the National Council and are in effect immediately. These financial policies and procedures are

applicable to all Party officials, members, staff, activists, supporters, and volunteers whether at the

National, Constituency or Community Circle level. These are issued under the main categories of:

1. Budgeting and related controls

2. Fund raising and collections

3. Banking, Borrowing, Lending or Investing

4. Purchases and Commitments

5. Receiving and custodianship

6. Payments

7. Accounting/Reporting/Auditing

Each of the above categories has been subdivided under a)Who is responsible for administering the

function; b) The process to follow or the form(s) to be completed, signed and distributed; c)Who is

authorized to approve and sign at various levels of canvassing and collecting, banking, expenditure or

commitment, investing, reporting, etc; d) Who is to account for the receipts and disbursements as they

occur; and e)Who is to report and audit regularly and on request, to the Leadership andMembership.

1. Budgeting and Related Controls

This Budget and Control function is primarily designed for the normal operating activities of the

Party. In an election year the approved budget will have to be supplemented by a series of

campaign programs coordinated in a much more dynamic way, and the capacity to spend will be

dictated by the success in raising substantial amounts of one time funding. Once an election is

expected or announced, a special Campaign Finance Committee will be established to direct and

oversee this dynamic period of political activity and expenditure. The Secretary of Finance will

still have overall responsibility, however the Chairman, Political Leader, Campaign Manager and

Party Administrator will be the other members of the Committee, and campaign programs and

priorities will be adopted and revised as required by the Committee – not by any one official

acting alone. The Party Administrator will then be responsible for ensuring commitments,

purchases, and other expenditures are in accordance with the Campaign Finance Committee’s

decisions.

a) Who is responsible for the budgeting and control functions

The Secretary of Finance shall be responsible for coordinating the annual revenue and

expenditure budget based on the strategic and tactical activities planned for the ensuing

year and approved by the National Executive. This must be completed by November 30

th for

the following fiscal year.

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The Secretary of Finance shall coordinate the resource needs of the various National

operative functions and Constituency offices of the Party to achieve their assigned strategies

and tactics. This will entail the allocation of scarce resources hence the National Executive

will have to issue percentage targets for each National operative area which will be used by

the Secretary of Finance in the coordination process. The budgeting process for the

Constituency offices will be much less formal, however each Constituency must submit its

budget which has been duly approved by its officers.

b) The process to follow or the forms to be completed

In preparation for the annual budget development, the Secretary of Finance will provide a

report on the actual revenues and expenditures transacted by the various national operative

functions and constituencies in the first three quarters of the current year, compared to

their budgets. He/She will also issue a report on the Party’s plans for the next year with the

percentage targets for each national operative function, along with guidelines to each

functional area as to its preliminary allocation.

The Secretary of Finance will not necessarily issue budget guidelines to the constituencies,

but each constituency shall conduct its own budget process and submit its approved budget

to the Secretary of Finance within time lines provided. The Secretary of Finance will advise

constituency chairpersons of any specific Party strategies and plans for the ensuing year

which may require a constituency to consider in its budget.

Each national operative function will then submit its human, physical and financial resource

needs to achieve the assigned goals. The Secretary of Finance will then fit the submissions

within the overall anticipated Party revenues and expenditures. The National Executive will

meet to review the Budget proposed by the Secretary of Finance as well as those from the

Constituencies and will adjudicate on any issues.

Once the National Executive has approved the Party and Constituencies’ budgets and the

individual allocations for the ensuing year, all are required to adhere to the approved

budgets or seek supplementary approval as detailed below.

c) Who is authorized to approve the budgets

The National Executive is the final authority on the annual budget. The National Executive is

also the body which must approve any deviations from the budget during the budgetary

year.

National operative functions may shift their spending priorities within their overall limits

providing funds are shifted from a lower area of priority to a higher one.

d) Who is to account on adherence to the budget

The Party Administrator through the Party Accountant on staff or Accounting firm shall keep

books of accounts for all receipts and disbursements transactions, whether budgeted or

unbudgeted, and whether at the National office or Constituency level.

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The Secretary of the operative function or the Treasurer of the constituency shall be

primarily responsible for the activities under his/her control, as well as for adhering to the

associated revenue and expenditure budgetary limits. He/She must also ensure that the

Party receives value for money by using competitive supplier bid practises or comparison

shopping and that the Party’s funds are not misappropriated. These budgetary and control

responsibilities cannot be delegated, since, especially on the expenditure side, tight fiscal

control is mandatory.

e) Who is to report and audit on the actual vs. budgeted revenues and costs

The Party Administrator through the Party’s Accountant on staff or Accounting firm shall

report monthly on the actual versus budget for each national operative function and

constituency.

All receipt books, cheque books, bank statements, invoices received and/or paid from all

offices shall be provided each month to the Party’s Accountant or Accounting firm for record

keeping and reporting purposes.

The Political Leader, each Secretary of each operative function and the Chairman of each

constituency will receive a report on its results for the past month and year to date, along

with available balances for the remainder of the year. Copies of this monthly report shall

also be sent to the National Executive for review at its next monthly meeting

.

2. Fund Raising and Collections

Any person, constituency, community circle or other group or association purporting to collect

funds on behalf of the Party must adhere to the following policies and practices. Once the name,

logo, office, etc of the Party is used, associated or implied, the Party is involved, and these

Financial Policies and Practices apply.

These Financial Policies and Practices are to be followed whether or not the Community Circle

or Constituency involved in a fund raising activity has its own rules and regulations in place.

a) Who is responsible for administering the function.

The Party’s Secretary of Finance shall be responsible for driving and overseeing all

campaigns for funds, whether at the National level, Constituency level, Community Circle

level or other grouping. The Secretary of Finance is also responsible whether the means of

raising funds is by personal appeal, advertising, internet, raffle tickets, telethon, cook,

dinner, dance, etc.

b) The Process to follow and forms to be used.

*The person, constituency, circle, or other group planning to raise funds must first lodge a

“Fund Raising Effort” form (FRE) with the Secretary of Finance or his/her designated staff

representative. This FRE shall briefly describe the target amount of funds being sought, the

likely associated costs to be incurred, the fund raising method(s) to be used, who the leader

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of the effort is, including contact information, the process to be used in accounting for all

proceeds and expenditure, and by when the Secretary of Finance should expect a full report

on the results of the Fund Raising Effort.

A copy of this FRE must be forwarded to the Party’s Accountant for tracking purposes

This FRE form shall be available at any of the Party’s offices.

The person or persons who will be canvassing by the personal appeal method must also

obtain a “COP Authority to Canvass” letter containing his/her picture from the Secretary of

Finance. This letter must use the COP logo, be dated, signed by the Secretary of Finance,

Political Leader, Chairman or Party Administrator and must have a timeframe covering the

period of the campaign. A copy of any issued “Authority to Canvass” letter must be sent to

the Party Administrator for tracking and verification purposes in the event the public wishes

to check the authenticity of the canvasser.

The public must be advised through the media that persons canvassing for funds on behalf

of the COP must be carrying an official “Authority to Canvass” letter, with his/her picture,

and that if in doubt one should check with the Party Administrator, (phone contact

provided).

c) Who is authorized to sign and approve.

There is no need for a formal authorization of the FRE. Once the Secretary of Finance or

his/her designated staff representative has communicated by email, fax or other written

note that he/she has received the FRE, the leader of the effort may proceed. If the Secretary

of Finance does have an objection for whatever reason, he/she must advise the leader of

the effort and a mutually agreed solution found, or his/her permission withheld, in writing,

within three work days of receipt of the FRE.

d) Who is to account

The designated leader of the effort shall be responsible to ensure that the Party’s reputation

is protected, that official Party receipts have been issued for all funds received, that all funds

received are deposited daily and intact into an authorized COP bank account, that all

expenditures have been properly approved, and that a full report submitted within two

weeks of the effort being concluded. Where the fund raising effort is one other than a

National Office drive, the 30% share attributable to the National Office must accompany the

report.

The designated leader must ensure that only official COP receipt books are used. He/She will

obtain these from the Party Administrator or his/her designate who shall be the custodian

of the official receipt books and shall keep an accurate, current record of all receipt books

issued, and returned on completion of each book. He/She shall also account for all funds

covered by receipts issued. The Party Administrator or his designate shall also be the

custodian of all deposit books, excepting the constituencies’ deposit books, however despite

this exception, he/she must be provided these books for inspection when requested. The

Party Administrator through the Pary’s Accountant or Accounting firm shall also ensure that

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all bank accounts in which these funds have been deposited are reconciled promptly each

month with the receipts and deposit slips and shall report any discrepancies to the Secretary

of Finance.

In the case of fund raising activities during elections, deposits must be made daily and

reports and remittances submitted weekly.

All reports and remittances due to the National Office are to be submitted to the Secretary

of Finance. He/She shall ensure that remittances are deposited promptly and shall forward

documentation of completed efforts to the Party Administrator for recording in the

accounts of the Party.

In the event the fund raising effort is at the Constituency or lower level, the Constituency

Chairman shall be also responsible for ensuring that these Policies and Practices are applied,

and that all receipts, deposits, invoices etc are forwarded to the Party’s Accounting firm for

record keeping and reporting.

e) Who is to report and audit

The Secretary of Finance shall report all planned and completed fund raising efforts, at all

levels of the Party, to the National Executive at its regularly constituted meetings.

The Party Auditor shall review all FREs and efforts and select for audit as necessary the

completed reports from the leaders of the efforts. The Party Auditor is also authorized to

visit those efforts including on a surprise basis to ensure that proper Party Financial Policies

and Practices are being followed.

3. Banking, Borrowing, Lending or Investing

Any person, constituency, community circle or other group or association purporting to open a

bank account or transact with a financial institution to deposit, withdraw, borrow, lend or invest

funds must adhere to the following policies and practices. Once the name, logo, office, etc of

the Party is used, associated or implied, the Party is involved, and these Financial Policies and

Practices apply.

These Financial Policies and Practices are to be followed whether or not the Community Circle

or Constituency involved in banking, borrowing, lending or investing activities has its own rules

and regulations in place.

a) Who is responsible for administering the function

The Secretary of Finance shall be responsible for all banking, borrowing, lending and

investing activities of the Party. He/She must be one of the signatories on all bank

documents to open, close, suspend or revise bank accounts and mandates, change

authorized signatories on bank accounts, rent safety deposit boxes, negotiate certificates of

deposit, money market instruments, etc.

All banks shall be advised of the Party’s Policy of requiring the signature of the Secretary of

Finance and one other authorized National Office signatory to open, close, etc. bank

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accounts and other financial instruments regardless of whether or not the account,

investment, etc is to be controlled by a Community Circle, Constituency, etc.

Constituency Executives requesting the opening of bank accounts must provide the

Secretary of Finance with the name of the bank and branch, and names of officers

authorized to sign. The Secretary of Finance will submit the duly completed forms after

obtaining all required signatures, directly to the respective bank and branch, with

instructions that a copy of the monthly bank statement must be sent to the Secretary of

Finance.

It is the Party policy that only the National Office may borrow or lend funds and then only

on the basis of a formally approved resolution of the National Executive carried by a two –

thirds majority.

Any short term investment of Party funds (up to six months or less) shall be approved by the

Secretary of Finance, and any other of the Chairman, Political Leader or Party Administrator.

Any medium or long term investment of Party funds (greater than six months) must be

approved by the National Executive by a simple majority vote.

b) The Process to follow or form(s) to be used.

When any of the above or similar banking or investing activity is to be transacted, the official

seeking to enter into the arrangement shall notify the Political Leader’s Admin Assistant of

the intention with justification provided in writing, and the approval in principle from the

Political Leader and Secretary of Finance must be received before any further action is

taken. A decision of the National Executive shall not require prior or additional approvals

from the Political Leader or Secretary of Finance.

Once the relevant approvals are received, the Admin Assistant shall make arrangements

with the Party’s account representative in the particular bank or investment firm to have the

required documents sent to him/her for further processing. The Admin Assistant shall liaise

with the Secretary of Finance and other required Party officials to obtain approved

signatures for the bank mandate, loan agreement, investment certificate, etc., and to get

them to the bank or other institution.

In the case of Constituency or Community Circle bank accounts, there shall be a limit of

$20,000.00 per withdrawal or disbursement by cheque. Any withdrawal or disbursement

amount greater than $20,000.00 shall require a signatory of the National Office. This shall

be stipulated in the banking mandate when the Constituency account is opened. The

Constituency Account BankingMandate must contain the signature of the Secretary of

Finance, plus one other of the Political Leader, Chairman, or Party Administrator. These

must be included on the mandate in addition to the appointed signatories of the

Constituency or Community Circle. Once the bank account has been opened or the

investment made, the Constituency or Community Circle may transact its business using

only it’s locally appointed signatories, but the National Party officials listed above would

have the authority to intervene using their signatures in the event the Party’s interests need

to be protected.

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c) Who is authorized to approve opening and closing bank accounts/investments.

The Secretary of Finance and any one of the Chairman, Political leader or Party

Administrator shall approve banking and investing arrangements as per the policies and

practices above, however all such actions shall be reported to the National Executive at its

next regularly constituted meeting for ratification. In the event of any disagreements on

these matters, the National Executive shall be the final authority.

It is the Party policy that only the National Office may borrow or lend funds and then only

on the basis of a formally approved resolution of the National Executive carried by a two –

thirds majority.

d) Who is to account

The Secretary of Finance, the Constituency Treasurer or the Community Circle Treasurer

shall be responsible for accounting for the proper use of the bank accounts and investments

under their jurisdiction. In addition, the Secretary of Finance has an overriding responsibility

for all bank accounts and investments where the Party’s name is involved.

The Secretary of Finance shall account for any borrowings or loans entered into with the

National Executive’s approval.

e) Who is to report and audit

The Secretary of Finance and the Treasurer at each level shall be responsible for reporting to

the Executive at that level on all banking and investing activities including funds received,

deposited, disbursements made from those accounts, monthly bank reconciliations,

balances (overdraft) on hand, etc. The Secretary of Finance shall be assisted by the Party

Administrator or as delegated, the Party’s Accountant or Accounting firm in fulfilling these

responsibilities.

The Party’s Auditor shall ensure that all bank accounts, transactions and investing activities

are audited at least annually

. In addition, each fiscal quarter, the Auditor shall be provided

with the quarter ending bank statements and completed bank reconciliations, and shall

review these with an aim to detecting any significant irregularities. A more detailed audit of

any account with unusual or unusually large transactions shall be audited using Generally

Accepted Auditing Standards.

By the end of the first quarter of the fiscal year the Financial Accounts and Statements of

the Party for the period ending December 31 of the prior fiscal year, shall be audited by an

independent external auditor who is a practicing member of the Institute of Chartered

Accountants of Trinidad and Tobago. This Audit report together with the Financial

Statements, shall be tabled at the Annual National Assembly for review and approval.

4. Purchases and Commitments.

Any person, constituency, community circle or other group or association desiring to enter into

a purchase, lease, contract, commitment or similar act on behalf of the Party and involving an

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amount greater than $5,000.00 must adhere to the following policies and practices. Once the

name, logo, office, etc of the Party is used, associated or implied, the Party is involved, and

these Financial Policies and Practices apply.

These Financial Policies and Practices are to be followed whether or not the Community Circle

or Constituency involved in a purchasing, lease, commitment or other similar activity has its own

rules and regulations in place.

This area includes the purchase, contracting, acquisition, rental, use, or commitment of/to any

goods, services or items, whether accommodation, furniture, equipment, catering, air time, tshirts,

transportation, consultancy, utility, etc. In other words, once there is a cost to the Party

or could result in a charge or levy on the Party, now or in the future, these policies apply.

a)

Who is responsible for administering the function.

The Party Administrator and his/her staff shall ensure adherence by all, without exception,

to these Policies and Practices. Before an order can be placed, a purchase pursued, a

contract entered into or a commitment made for an amount greater than $5,000.00, the

person desiring to order, purchase, contract or commit must receive clearance through the

Party Administrator, even if budgeted. Even if the Political Leader, Chairman, Party

Administrator, Secretary of Finance, Campaign Manager, or other official gives his/her

verbal or written support, the request must be brought to the Party Administrator’s office

for proper processing and to obtain/confirm the formal authorization in a documented

manner.

In the case of the Constituencies, the Chairman or other position as authorized by the

Constituency executive shall approve purchases or commitments up to $10,000.00. Any

purchase or commitment greater than $10,000 must also be approved by the Secretary of

Finance or in his absence, the Party Administrator, or Political leader

b) The Process to follow or form(s) to be used.

i) Purchase/commitment not requiring a contract or lease

Such a purchase or commitment consideration must first receive support from the Political

Leader, Chairman, Party Administrator, National Campaign Chairman, or Constituency

Chairman. Verbal support can start the formal process for amounts which have been

budgeted and are between $5,000.00 and $10,000.00. Any official support above

$10,000.00 must also be accompanied by a written and signed note from one of the officials

listed above. Purchase/Commitment amounts which have been budgeted and are greater

than $250,000.00 or $20,000.00 per month must be approved by the National Executive.

Unbudgeted purchase/commitment amounts greater than $100,000.00 or $8,500.00 per

month must be approved by the National Executive. Once support is obtained as per the

above verbal or written policy, a Purchase/Commitment Order (P/C.O) will be raised by the

office of the Party Administrator and be put through the approval process before any

further purchase or commitment action can be taken by anyone. Authorization to act on the

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purchase/commitment only comes into effect when the appropriate signatures have been

penned on the P/C.O.

ii) Purchase/commitment requiring a contract or lease

Such a purchase/commitment must also contain the signature of the Party’s legal counsel

on the final draft of the contract or lease, before the contract or lease can be formally

executed. This is to ensure that the Party’s interests are protected by a formal legal review

and signoff.

Should differences of opinion arise between the person authorized to negotiate on behalf of

the Party and the Legal Counsel, the National Executive should be approached for its

consideration and decision

c) Who is authorized to approve and sign the P/C. O.s.

Budgeted expenditures, commitments or such transactions previously approved at a

National Executive or National Council meeting

$25,000 and over – Two signatures, of which one must be the Political Leader and

the other being any one of the Chairman, Party Administrator, or Secretary of

Finance.

Estimated costs/commitments under $25,000.00. Any two of the four positions

listed above.

Estimated costs/commitments between $5,000.00 and $10,000.00 -any one of the

four positions listed above.

Expenditures or Commitments not budgeted or not fitting the strategies or plans previously

adopted by the Party, but approved by the National Executive.

$5,000.00 and over– Two signatures which must be the Chairman and the Political

Leader.

Under $5,000.00 – Any one of the Chairman, Political Leader, Secretary of Finance

or Party Administrator.

Expenditures or Commitments at the Constituency level and under $10,000

Such expenditures or commitments shall be approved by any two of the

Constituency’s Chairman, Deputy Chairman, Secretary or Secretary of Finance.

Such expenditures greater than $10,000.00 must follow the authorization limits in

the first category above.

d) Who is to account for the transactions covered by the approved P/C.O.s

The Party Administrator shall be responsible for monitoring and recording all expenditures

or commitments covered by the approved P/C.O.s, in the Party’s accounting system. The

Party Administrator shall also be responsible for having systems in place to detect over

expenditures and over commitments beyond the approved estimates.

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Expenditures/commitments under $5,000.00 do not require a P/C.O., but must receive prior

approval of the Chairman, Political Leader, Secretary of Finance or Party Administrator. Such

approval must be communicated to the Accountant in writing; a hand written and signed

note would be acceptable

e) Who is to report and audit

The Party Administrator shall report to the National Executive at its regular monthly

meetings on P/C.O.s approved and issued, the status of these P/C.O.s including any

potential overruns, and the results of those fulfilled/completed in the previous month.

Where the Party Administrator is not satisfied that the Party is getting value for money or

perceives that irregularities may be involved, he/she must first report this to the Chairman,

Secretary of Finance and Political Leader at the first opportunity and prior to the National

Executive meeting.

At the end of each quarter a summary of transactions made under approved P/C.O.s shall be

prepared and submitted to the National Executive. Expenditures under $5,000.00 will be

summarized in the notes to the monthly Financial Statements.

5. Receiving and Custodianship

From time to time, goods, materials, equipment, etc will be turned over to the Party either as a

result of an approved Purchase/Commitment Order or as a donation, etc. These may entail

computer equipment, walkie talkies, t-shirts, brochures, banners, audio/visual equipment, PA

system, and so on. There is therefore a need to have a competent, reliable and honest

storekeeper in place who will receive, count, check quality, store safely, preserve, distribute, etc

while ensuring that the Party’s assets are safeguarded.

a) Who is responsible for administering the function

The Party’s storekeeper shall be responsible for this function. Should the goods, materials,

equipment, and services be required for daily or frequent use outside of a storeroom, the

person designated in charge of the operation, i.e., office manager, events coordinator,

archives custodian, etc., shall be responsible for safeguarding the Party’s assets and

maintaining same in good repair.

b) The Process to be followed or form(s) to be used

A Receiving note shall be written up to evidence receipt of the goods or services, and one

copy must be sent to the Party Administrator to confirm receipt and to provide justification

for payment of the goods or services. The receiving note must be matched to the approved

P/C.O. before the payment process can be initiated.

c) Who is authorized to approve and sign

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For goods received, the storekeeper or designated representative shall sign the receiving

note as evidence of receipt.

For services delivered, the receiving note must be signed by the official responsible for

ensuring that the Party receives the quality and the quantity of services purchased as well as

value for money.

d) Who is to account

The Accountant shall keep a proper record of all goods and services purchased and received

with a value greater than $1,000.00, and which are not for one time use or consumption.

The Storekeeper shall also keep a record of all such goods under his/her custody. This record

shall also track the movements in and out of the storeroom, including the names of those

taking custody from the storeroom and returning same after use.

e) Who is to report and audit

The Accountant shall report monthly on all purchases and disposals/loss of goods acquired

for reuse. This shall be included in the monthly financial statements as Assets of the Party.

The Auditor shall make spot checks of the storeroom and other locations where the Party’s

assets are located to ensure physical existence, proper custody and maintenance in good

repair. The Auditor shall report any significant shortcomings or losses to the Party

Administrator or the National Council depending on the materiality of the matter.

6. Payments

Payments greater than $5,000.00 and requiring Party funds, must be pre-approved using the

Purchase/Commitment Order form (see Policy #3 above) with those under $5,000.00 requiring a

pre-approved written and signed note. Both the national Office operating functions and the

Constituencies are required to use these P/C.O.s.

The Party will not accept responsibility for any purchases, rentals, contracts, commitments, etc.,

which have not been approved in accordance with these Financial Policies and Practices, and

will not settle such demands for payment using Party funds.

These Financial Policies and Practices are to be followed whether or not the Community Circle

or Constituency involved in a purchasing, lease, commitment or other similar activity has its own

rules and regulations in place.

a) Who is responsible for administering the function

The Party Administrator or Constituency Treasurer shall be responsible for ensuring that all

payments using Party funds are legitimate liabilities of the Party arising from proper

adherence to the established Financial Policies and Practices. The Party Administrator or

Constituency Treasurer shall also be responsible to ensure that the correct amount of goods

and services were received and of the quality and quantity acquired. He/she may discharge

these responsibilities by putting in place systems and processes such as matching invoices

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received to P/C.Os and Receiving Notes to obtain assurance and having a duly approved

voucher before issuing payments.

b) The Process to be followed or form(s) to be used

Any person, supplier, or service provider requiring payment must submit a) the Party’s duly

approved P/C.O. (issued by the national Office or Constituency) which authorized him/her to

supply, deliver, or provide the goods or services; and b) a copy of the delivery note with the

COP recipient’s signature evidencing receipt of the goods or services. Without this P/C.O.

and delivery note, the Party may refuse to honour the invoice or other billing.

For payments under $5,000.00 the COP person receiving the goods or services must sign the

invoice as evidence of receipt prior to forwarding the invoice and attached written approval

note to the Party Administrator for processing payment.

When the above documents have been verified by the respective National office or

Constituency accounting personnel, a Cheque Voucher shall be generated by accounting to

commence the payment process. All payments greater than $500.00 must be paid by a COP

cheque.

The Cheque Voucher form shall include such details as the date of the Voucher, name of the

Payee, amount to be paid in numbers and in words, and a brief description of the goods or

services covered by the payment. It shall also include the names and signatures of the

persons preparing the voucher, approving the voucher and collecting the Party’s cheque or

cash.

c) Who is authorized to approve and sign

Authorization of Cheque Voucher forms to effect payments shall be as follows:

-For disbursements covered by approved P/C.O.s and complete receiving notes, i.e., meeting

standard verification tests, – Party Administrator or in his absence, Chairman or Political

Leader, or in the case of Constituencies, any one of the duly elected officers.

- For all other Cheque Vouchers, amounts less than $5,000.00 – Party Administrator;

amounts greater than $5,000.00 the Political Leader and the Party Administrator or

Chairman. At the Constituency level, the Chairman or Treasurer must approve these “nonordinary”

vouchers.

With respect to cheque signatures, the following authorities shall apply:

The cheque voucher must be properly approved with required supporting documentation

attached.

Cheques greater than $25,000.00 any one of the Political Leader or Secretary of Finance and

any one of the Chairman, Party Administrator or other authorized bank signatory.

Cheques less than $25,000.00, any two of the bank approved signatories.

In the case of Constituencies, any two duly elected officers for cheques up to $20,000.00.

Amounts greater than $20,000.00 must have one of the National Office signatories as the

second signature.

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d) Who is to account

The Accountant shall review and record all disbursements whether by Party cheque, bank

draft, petty cash or other payment instrument.

e) Who is to report and audit

All disbursements shall be included in the Party’s monthly Financial Statements with

disclosure notes for all unusually large amounts or where proper procedures were not

followed or value for money did not seem to have been received.

The Auditor shall review all disbursements on a regular basis. He/she may select

disbursements for detailed auditing and shall report on any material findings to the Party

Administrator or the National Executive depending on the materiality of the matter. The

Party Auditor shall also check all cheque books and account for all negotiated, cancelled and

unissued cheques compared to the cheque register in the book of accounts or accounting

package.

7) Accounting, Reporting/Auditing

a) Who is responsible for administering the function

The Party Administrator shall be responsible for the accounting and internal audit functions

and producing the monthly and annual financial statements as well as liaising with the Party

appointed external Auditor. The Party Administrator shall employ the services of a qualified

and competent accountant to carry out the duties of monitoring, administering and

recording all transactions impacting the finances of the Party, in proper books of account.

b) The Process to be followed or form(s) to be used

Each month a Statement of Revenues, Expenses and Net Income, a Balance Sheet, and

Notes to the Financial Statements shall be prepared and issued to the National Executive.

These are to be completed by the middle of the following month.

c) Who is authorized to approve and sign

The National Executive shall receive, review and approve the monthly financial statements.

d) Who is to account

The Accountant shall prepare the monthly and annual Financial Statements

e) Who is to report and audit

The Party Administrator shall report on the previous month’s financial statements as well as

the annual financial statements.

The Party appointed external Auditor shall audit the annual financial statements and

provide the Audit Opinion applicable to associations such as a political party.

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August 15, 2009

Revised October 31, 2009