Thursday 23 November, 2017

Year in Review: 10 times T&T politicians behaved badly

T&T’s politicians are known for saying some of the strangest, rudest and sometimes entertaining things inside and outside of the Parliamentary walls.

Here’s a look back at 2016, at 10 times that our politicians haven’t exactly been on their best behaviour.

 

1 The Prime Minister appeals to men to get tested for prostate cancer: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley at a Post Cabinet media briefing in August opened about his health and a recent check-up with his U.S. doctors.

He obviously meant well in urging the country’s male population to get regular check-ups to ensure their prostate health, but some citizens were perturbed by his word choice.

Basically, the Prime Minister recalled a conversation he had with a friend who didn’t particularly like the idea of a doctor (or anyone for that matter) sticking his hands in his anus.

 

2 Finance Minister ‘justifies’ impending fuel increase: Government has in the past made it clear that a gradual removal of the fuel subsidy is in the cards.

However, Finance Minister Colm Imbert at a high-level Caribbean forum in November in hinting at another increase in fuel prices in April 2017, possibly chose the absolute worst way to say it.

Imbert said (and LAUGHED) that since previous fuel price increases did not cause a riot, he might increase it again when he presents the Mid-Year Review in April. He later “unreservedly” apologised to the nation for the “manner” in which the comments were made.

 

3 Health Minister ‘ends’ conversation on abortion: With Zika and its effects on the health and development of foetuses being a hot topic this year, naturally, new life was breathed into the conversation on the abortion.

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh, however, in April chastised the media for its “disservice” to the country in “focusing” on abortion only in its coverage of Zika. The Minister said he was ending the discussion on abortion and would not be entertaining further questions on the matter.

But, the Prime Minister had a different view on the situation.

“He (Deyalsingh) is not the government, he is not the country. He might have been going to an early lunch, I don’t know. But that does not mean, the fact that he says he is ending the conversation - I hope he doesn’t mean - that we can’t talk about it.”

 

4 A case of he said, he said: President Anthony Carmona and Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley seemed to have a very public misunderstanding of a security meeting to which National Security Minister Edmund Dillon was called.

The Prime Minister, who was not in the country at the time of the meeting, claims that he was not aware of the meeting and did not authorise Dillon’s attendance.

The President, however, has an entirely different story – stating that he informed Rowley about the meeting on three different occasions.

 

5 T&T’s women getting “too fat”: Former health minister Dr Fuad Khan believes that obesity in T&T is getting out of hand and the “fat acceptance” perpetuated by the U.S. is not helping the situation.

Khan said he is trying to put the issue back on the front burner, but in the process seemed to have targeted the country’s women as being the group amongst which obesity is a serious issue.

“Women in this country are getting too fat, at one time we had very nice women in Carnival, now nobody wants to look at our Carnival again because it’s only obese women walking all over the place.”  

 

6 New record set for Parliamentary walkouts: If 2016 has been any indicator, Parliamentary walkouts seem to be the new thing to do when reprimanded for unruly conduct or debate on a bill isn’t going quite the way some would like.

Opposition has staged a walk out of Parliament quite a few times, on two occasions during debate on the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).

Members have also been reprimanded by the House Speaker regarding their behaviour, with Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Princes Town MP Barry Padarath being amongst those getting a “time out”, being asked to leave the Parliamentary chamber for some time. 

 

7 Outside children: Political banter is always to be expected, especially during election season.

The 2016 Local Government saw its fair share of picong, with Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar at a political meeting stating that Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley had “more children outside than inside”.

Rowley responded, telling Persad-Bissessar to “mind her god-damned business”.

 

8 The great roti debate: The 2016 Local Government campaign was not void of ‘revelations’, the most notable being a $390,000 catering bill for a Divali function at the Diplomatic Centre under the People’s Partnership.

The Prime Minister said he was simply trying to draw attention to the issue of profligate spending, but the conversation was instead turned into one of roti and race.

 

9 Steups: Minister of Housing and Urban Development Randall Mitchell will possibly always be remembered for a steups during an interview following the death of former prime minister Patrick Manning.

Mary Paria, who claimed she was living at the San Fernando General Hospital, grabbed an opportunity to request better living conditions.

She shouted “ah want a house” while the Minister was being interviewed, which was met with a steups from Mitchell.

 

10 Lewd behaviour: Former Port-of-Spain mayor Raymond Tim Kee found himself at the centre of a social media firestorm, with mounting calls for his dismissal over statements made following the discovery of Asami Nagakiya at the Queen’s Park Savannah.

A regular visitor to T&T, the Japanese pannist was in the country for Carnival.

Tim Kee went on to speak about the “lewd behaviour” displayed by women during Carnival, “encouraged” by men.

Despite some support from Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley who said the former mayor’s statements did not warrant his dismissal, Tim Kee later resigned.