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Rowley knocks Kamla for racist ad campaign

“I de­mand that those UNC ads be re­moved!”

That was the roar from Peo­ple’s Na­tion­al Move­ment leader Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley last night as he ac­cused Op­po­si­tion leader Kam­la Per­sad-Bisses­sar of abus­ing black peo­ple “in the most dis­gust­ing and dis­grace­ful way”.

Victor Gill Ramirez

Row­ley vig­or­ous­ly re­buked the UNC leader dur­ing last night’s fi­nal PNM cam­paign meet­ing – in San­gre Grande – be­fore Mon­day’s elec­tion

“I de­mand that those UNC ads be re­moved!”

That was the roar from Peo­ple’s Na­tion­al Move­ment leader Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley last night as he ac­cused Op­po­si­tion leader Kam­la Per­sad-Bisses­sar of abus­ing black peo­ple “in the most dis­gust­ing and dis­grace­ful way”.

Victor Gill Ramirez

Row­ley vig­or­ous­ly re­buked the UNC leader dur­ing last night’s fi­nal PNM cam­paign meet­ing – in San­gre Grande – be­fore Mon­day’s elec­tion.

Row­ley said, “Tonight is the last of these meet­ings… I’m a lit­tle bit tired, but it’s been quite a jour­ney.”

In his fi­nal vol­ley at the UNC, Row­ley took is­sue with cer­tain UNC ads fea­tur­ing sev­er­al Afro-Trinida­di­ans peo­ple. He said he’d no­ticed Per­sad-Bisses­sar had a ten­den­cy to use race in her cam­paigns and had seen it in the Ch­agua­nas West by-elec­tion sev­er­al years ago, where the PNM had can­di­date Avinash Singh. Row­ley said Per­sad- Bisses­sar’s big is­sue with that was that the PNM had tak­en “one of their own”.

Victor Gill

He said that was the first time he re­alised she had a propen­si­ty to use race in po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tions

Row­ley added when some­one had once spo­ken al­so about the “one per cent’’, Per­sad-Bisses­sar al­so used that to her ad­van­tage

She latched on to that and beat it like a drum. Then she called me an Oreo (cook­ie), mean­ing I’m black on the out­side and white in­side! This is a per­son who wants to be prime min­is­ter! She tends to use race as a dog whis­tle and racial ep­i­thets as part of racial ar­moury!”

He said yes­ter­day she had reached a lim­it by in­sult­ing Afro-Trinida­di­ans by pick­ing up des­ti­tute peo­ple and us­ing them

“I want to say I’m a proud black man and you have of­fend­ed me and in­sult­ed all black peo­ple by that car­i­ca­ture in your (UNC) ad!”

He said the ad came from the same place in the UNC as when T&T had a crime prob­lem years ago and peo­ple were killed in Ari­ma, and it was felt by the UNC that crime and crim­i­nal­i­ty was “black peo­ple’s be­hav­iour”.

That was how they see us and that’s what they think of us – and we re­ject that!” Row­ley de­clared

“If you want to lead Trinidad and To­ba­go you must apol­o­gise for the car­i­ca­ture in that ad – it’s not on­ly black peo­ple who didn’t pro­duce hun­gry lit­tle chil­dren or at the mer­cy of oth­ers,” he said

Row­ley was par­tic­u­lar­ly of­fend­ed by the use of ba­nanas he said was in the ad

“It’s be­cause mon­keys eat that. In the UNC ad, it means if peo­ple feel hun­gry, feed the mon­key ba­nanas – well, you go to hell with dat! We bet­ter than that in Trinidad and To­ba­go!”

He said the PNM‘s lega­cy in­clud­ed en­cour­ag­ing in­ter­ra­cial sol­i­dar­i­ty and her wouldn’t al­low Per­sad-Bisses­sar and her min­ions to threat­en it

“We are bet­ter than that! I de­mand that those ads be re­moved!”

On yes­ter­day’s Es­tate Man­age­ment and Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment Com­pa­ny Ltd judge­ment, he not­ed a call was made to the judge not to give the de­ci­sion be­fore Mon­day’s elec­tion. But he said that would have been a ridicu­lous prece­dent in ju­rispru­dence.

“Of course the judge didn’t lis­ten to them. But while their names were in the doc­u­ments in the courts, they were watch­ing us say­ing noth­ing was be­ing pur­sued – but they nev­er be­lieved Gov­ern­ment would have gone af­ter white-col­lar crime,’’ he said

“The wheels of jus­tice turn slow­ly but they do turn – (to­day) it turned a lit­tle bit as the judge threw out the case and said ‘you have a case to an­swer’.”

He said it amazed him “… that peo­ple watch you in your face and talk about un­blem­ished records”.

“Un­blem­ished record? Go tell that to the judge!”

Row­ley said if it was one place the UNC shouldn’t get a vote was in To­co/San­gre Grande, since “They turned their back on you be­fore!”

He said the UNC would have to “buy out every stove, fridge and wash­ing ma­chine and bring it to you”. But he warned vot­ers not to fall for bribery and cor­rupt prac­tices

Row­ley thanked all of T&T for al­low­ing him the op­por­tu­ni­ty to serve, for which he was ho­n­oured to do. He said ini­tial­ly, if peo­ple didn’t un­der­stand some things, they would have lat­er un­der­stood what the Gov­ern­ment was do­ing

“Come out and vote on Mon­day – this elec­tion is im­por­tant!” San­gre Grande pick up your bed and walk with the PNM!”

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