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Battle of the billboards

We’re just 50 days away from elections day and that means no free roadside space is safe from billboards, big or small.
It’s an issue raised with the Planning Authority in a recent meeting and a decision was taken to waive the planning rules for election signage.
It’s the battle before the battle where candidates duke it out for the best design, the best placement and the biggest billboards.
While they may be an eyesore to some billboards are a popular choice for campaign advertising, and are springing up along major thoroughfares now that candidates have declared.
Some candidates, like Elio Solomon and Kenneth Bryan were out the gates with their billboard long before filing nominations.
But political office hopeful Chris Saunders opted to save his big display after posting his paperwork.
While his opponent opted for a more modest canvas mere metres away.
Election supervisor Wesley Howell says there are no size limitations on billboards like the 8 x 16 display from Mr Saunders.
However he says it has to be clearly displayed on the billboard whose it is or display a particular candidate/party.
Signs that do not indicate a candidate or party are illegal and planning has authority to remove them.
Director of Planning Haroon Pandohie says the Central Planning Authority decided at its 15 February meeting that elections signs could be erected at any time and at any size.
The previous policy stated that signs could not be erected until the Legislative Assembly had been dissolved and they could not be larger than 32 square feet and setback 12 feet from the road.
In a hotly contested election the question does size of billboard really matter can only be answered at the end of election day.
Under the Election Law all candidates are required to file a report on all campaign spending leading up to 24th May  and that includes money spent on billboards.

About the author

Reshma Ragoonath

Reshma Ragoonath

Reshma Ragoonath is a Trinidadian journalist with 16 years media experience with a strong background in print with her most recent stint at The Cayman Reporter. She has a BA in Mass Communications, as well as, an Associate degree in Journalism and Public Relations.

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