Tuesday 16 July, 2019

Trade Minister under fire for ‘breast milk’ comment

Minister of Trade and Industry, Paula Gopee-Scoon has come under fire for the “breast milk” statement she made in the House of Representatives on Friday.

Gopee-Scoon, in welcoming Couva North MP Ramona Ramdial back to work after giving birth, said Ramdial was upset she couldn’t benefit from the baby grant.

But, even after being chided by House Speaker, Bridget Annisette- George, Gopee-Scoon then told Ramdial that “breast milk is better than purchased milk”.

“And I too would like to congratulate the Member for Couva North on the arrival of her second baby, a baby girl, but obviously the member is quite upset that she cannot benefit from the baby grant. And what I want you to do is meet with the Minister of Social Development you can get some social assistance to buy your baby…” she said before she was stopped by the House Speaker.

However, the Speaker’s warning to not go down that road didn’t stop her.

“But lemme just advise her that breast milk is better than purchased milk.”

The Trade Minister’s comment has been met with criticism by many including, United National Congress Senator, Khadijah Ameen who in a Facebook post on Saturday slammed Gopee-Scoon’s statement, describing it as poor, cheap and disgusting.

Ameen said she ought to have known better than making such distasteful remarks towards Ramdial on her return to parliament after giving birth.

The UNC senator said for decades several generations of women have fought to establish women representation in Parliaments across the globe.

She said Ramdial had shown that women who wish to have families can still continue to represent their constituents through pregnancy and motherhood.

Ameen added that the Minister’s attempt to belittle Ramdial is poor, cheap and disgusting and spits in the face of the strides women have made internationally.

Speaking with reporters on Saturday, Ramdial expressed disappointment.

The Couva North MP posted a video of her response on Facebook.

She said she was very surprised by the statements, which she described as low.

“When they go low, we go high,” Ramdial is quoted as saying.

However, the Couva North MP also said she forgives Gopee-Scoon.

 “And in the spirit of Christmas, I forgive her for her words and hope there is no repeat of that scenario in the Chamber,” Ramdial said.

The Couva North MP further explained that Gopee-Scoon’s comment came after she referred to baby milk during the debate on the Motion for the Exemption from Import Duties of Customs on Friday.

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