Duke calls for apology after Sat accuses Tobagonians of laziness, rape
Many citizens have come out in condemnation of comments made by Sat Maharaj, Secretary-General of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Saba, whose comments accusing Tobagonians of being lazy went viral on social media.
Maharaj was seen in a video captured from a television programme, accusing Tobagonians of not working, racing goats and crabs and even claimed Tobagonian men would chase 'white meat' and commit rape.
Tobagonian politician and head of the Public Services Association, (PSA) Watson Duke, slammed his comments at a media briefing on Tuesday, and said he must apologise for his comments.
"They don't want to wuk...the rest of them....run crab race, run goat race, and go on the beach hunting for white meat. You see a gyal there, you rape she, you take away she camera and everything," he said.
He added that the Sanatan Dharma Maha Saba must come out and condemn Maharaj's statements.
“I’m calling on you to apologise or you will face the hate of Tobagonians. You need to correct this mischief you have created."
Duke said Tobago has some of the most resilient people in the Caribbean and lamented Tobago's forced dependency on Trinidad.
“The wish of every Tobagonian is to come home and live in a country where there are all the resources, where they don’t have to fly to Trinidad to go to the general hospital.
"(If) we order our glasses, we have to send it to Trinidad to make. We doing an ID card, it’s coming to Trinidad to make. A birth certificate, it’s coming to Trinidad to make. If we have lands to register we have to come to Trinidad…getting married? We have to come to Trinidad."
“But he says we’re lazy," Duke said.
Duke referred to statistics which showed over 300,000 Tobagonians moved to Trinidad in order to work.
“Tobagonians are not lazy people. Statistics will show over 300,000 Tobagonians are living in Trinidad. They came for work and stayed…because there’s nothing to go back to. What would a chemist go back to in Tobago? A marine engineer? The opportunities are limited in Tobago.”
Duke said the same crabs which Maharaj used to ridicule Tobagonians are the main ingredient in one of the country's national dishes.
“People are minding goats in Tobago, we cultivate crab because Trinidadians love crab and dumplings, and you are laughing at that, Sat.”
Duke said the organisation should condemn his statements, calling Maharaj senile.
“They must come out or else they will face a hate campaign...we have some activities planned if he does not give that apology," he said.
Citizens also spoke out in disgust over Maharaj's comments.
Ganesh Sookdeo: “Just came back from Tobago. All I can say is that the people that I interacted with were not as Sat described. They were certainly not lazy, they were friendly and service oriented. They even wanted feedback on the quality of their goods and services. I was even given free samples to try by a mango vendor in Store Bay. You go Tobago, gem of the Caribbean.”
Nicholas Mungal: “Sat, This is Trinidad and Tobago not Trinidad only. Your comments are nauseating and I think you are given too much air time. You're old, keep your great grandchildren company and enjoy your money. The media could do without this nonsense.”
Darrel Cooper: “Apparently tobago ppl doh pay tax , wda...”
Brandon S Ramlal: “Why sat doh hush his old ignorant ass. Big long watery steups”.
"I strongly condemn these comments. I am from Tobago myself and my wife own two businesses and we work hard and honestly. Don't class my people in this manner. All the Goods that come here we pay for, we pay our taxes we pay our tickets to move between these islands. It's one country use common sense before speaking."
“Hmn... The same way he can make comments like these is the same way Tobagonians can make similar comments about Trinis...this is very immature and unproductive for someone like him to comment. It will divide and polarize us more. So according to him, everybody in Tobago lazy and have no ambition.”
“This man is an IDIOT. You cannot judge an entire island for what may or may not be going with a small sector of said island. You don't live in Tobago, what do you know about what goes on here. Crab race and goat race is a seasonal sport, so I don't see ur point. We pay tax just as Trinis do; again you're an idiot. There are well educated, respected and very hardworking people here in Tobago; look nah, boy bye.”
“He wrong ....so Tobagonians don't pay taxes and Trinidadians don't come Tobago....this man needs help yes...”
Tafara Hannibal Masaisai:
“He is out of order. Imagine if a black man talk about people from central. Clearly elections are coming and the race baiting has started.”
Tobago MP calls on Tobagonians to rise above
Tobago East MP, Ayanna Webster-Roy, in a social media post, urged Tobagonians to rise up so that they would never be referred to like that again.
"Some people say they don't understand why I speak the way I do in the Parliament... some say I sound angry. What they fail to discern is my passion...my desire to connect with fellow Tobagonians on a physical and spiritual level."
"When I encourage us to change the way we portray our circumstances it's to prevent the narrative of the 'goodly gentleman' below from taking root and having that perspective be the definition of a Tobagonian."
"When I forcefully encourage us to produce local, grow our own food and support our Tobago farmers and entrepreneurs it is because I want us to demonstrate that we are ready and well capable of managing our affairs and shaping our destiny. Some of you called it stupid pride, some of you ridiculed, some of you attacked."
"Tobago East let us never allow anyone to speak of us in this manner again! Let us get up, get our act together and rekindle the true Tobago Spirit!"