Friday 24 May, 2019

Rowley slams controversial “Oreo” comment

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar (left) and Prime Minister Keith Rowley (right)

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar (left) and Prime Minister Keith Rowley (right)

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley on Thursday night slammed statements made by Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, who has described him as an “Oreo.”

Speaking on Monday at the United National Congress’ (UNC) Monday Night Forum meeting, the Opposition Leader claimed that the one percent owns the Prime Minister.

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“They tried to own Mr Manning, they couldn’t do that. They tried their luck to own me but I sent them packing. They have their Oreo now, who is their guy in Keith Christopher Rowley and that is how the one percent friends and family control him,” she said.

Speaking at the San Fernando City Hall on Thursday night, Rowley said he made no apology for representing the Arab, Syrian, Lebanese community in his constituency.

“And when that conversation doesn’t seem to be working as well as they would like they resort to my skin colour and the colour of the skin of my constituents. (And) The largest block of Arab, Syrian, Lebanese are in Diego Martin West and for that I make no apologies. (And) I don’t care who they vote for, I represent them,” Rowley said.

The Prime Minister further described the Opposition Leader’s comments as a disgrace.

However, Rowley added that he is not fazed by her statements.

“And I think it is a shame and disgrace on all the people and on the record of Trinidad and Tobago, that a former Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition could sink to gutter politics to come out of the privacy of her race baiting and to come on national television to broadcast that kind of statement. That is where they have gone with the Petrotrin issue. When all else fail, when rape fail, when paedophilia fail, resort to racism. But me, I am from Mason Hall in Tobago, that not fazing me at all,” the Prime Minister said.

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The Opposition Leader continues to face significant backlash for her controversial comment, with many describing it as racist, insensitive and derogatory.

The People's National Movement Women’s League has called on her to apologise.

However, Persad-Bissessar said there was not an iota of racism in her statement.

Hindu Women’s group dismayed at ‘Oreo’ comment

The Hindu Women’s Organisation has joined the chorus of voices in condemning the controversial “Oreo” statement by Opposition Leader Kamla-Bissessar.

In a statement on Thursday, President of the Hindu Women’s Organisation Brenda Gopeesingh expressed dismay at the comment, describing it as derogatory and distasteful.

The President of the Hindu Women’s Organisation said the statement reinforces divisiveness and disharmony in society and also echoes the controversial “Calcutta ship” comment.

“The Hindu Women’s Organization expresses its dismay at the derogatory comments of the Opposition Leader, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, whom we proudly whom we proudly acclaimed as the female Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago in 2010. To describe the current Prime Minister, Keith Rowley, as on Oreo is not simply juvenile and distasteful but also reinforces the divisiveness and disharmony the population often faces in its politics, due to an undercurrent of perceived racial bias and elitism,” Gopeesingh said.

The Hindu Women’s Organization also slammed what it described as the continuous negative remarks against the “one percenters,”-members of the Syrian/Lebanese community.

This, as it said members of the so-called powerful one percent contribute significantly to the development and enhancement of Trinidad and Tobago.

“Continuous negative remarks with reference to the “one percenters” also serve to stir up anger and resentment as over and over again, their role in building the economy, providing jobs, doing philanthropic work in communities is never highlighted, although the county as a whole stand to benefit from their new investments given its current economic client,” she said.

The Hindu Women’s Organization added that elected leaders are expected to reflect sound character, strong will and inspiring conduct in their attempts to strengthen their support.

And, in response to comments made in the various forum, the women’s group further noted that is not an extension of any political party. The group said membership is open to Hindu women in Trinidad and Tobago from all political parties.



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