Trinidad and Tobago’s Opposition Leader, Kamla Persad Bissessar, calls on Prime Minister Keith Rowley to tender an apology over remarks he made linking Kamla to racial comments about crime. Criminals are running amok in Trinidad. Several Indian community leaders have claimed that Indians are under attack, targeted by criminals. They point out that almost all of the victims of crimes, particularly robberies, home invasions, etc. are Indians. Kamla has denied the allegations made by the PM on race and crime as she relates in the below statement:
Opposition leader: I have never in my life accused one race of committing criminal attacks against another race in our country. Not lately, not now and not ever!
Should an apology and retraction not be presented I will be taking legal action against Keith Rowley for uttering those false defamatory statements and all media houses and reporters who disseminated said statements.
Yesterday in Toco, Keith Rowley showed that he is a desperate and dishonest man, whose game is up. I have never in my life accused one race of committing criminal attacks against another race in our country. Not lately, not now and not ever!
Keith Rowley must know that racial tensions can be incited by falsely accusing me of making this divisive statement. It is most irresponsible. It is dangerous and downright nasty politics.
It is also defamatory of my character and flies in the face of my many years in politics, where I have always celebrated our national unity and our harmonious diversity.
They say that who the gods want to destroy, they first make mad.
I want Keith Rowley to know that the national community are not fools. They are watching him, looking at the antics of a desperate man.
I want Keith Rowley to know that the lie he told about me yesterday will not stand up in a court of law or the court of public opinion.
I call upon Keith Rowley to do the right and responsible thing and apologize. He must set the record straight and admit that what was said was false and malicious.
I am extremely concerned that some media houses carried that blatant lie without first speaking to me or attempting to get my comments. Did these media houses know that that statement by Keith Rowley was false but still persisted in disseminating it.
As a matter of fact, on the 27th of April 2023, the first paragraph of a press release issued by myself states:
“Crime does not discriminate. The victims and perpetrators of crime span all political affiliations, ethnicities, religions, social standings, and income levels. No matter which sector of society we identify with, we must have the humility to accept this fact, put aside emotions and work together for all our citizens. All citizens must equally feel safe in Trinidad and Tobago.”
The above paragraph was sent to all media houses and unequivocally contradicts the statement uttered by Keith Rowley at the PNM event in Toco.
These media houses who pontificate with editorials calling for higher standards in public life, should themselves be more responsible in their reporting.
I, therefore, call upon those media houses who replayed and disseminated Rowley’s false statement ascribed to me to similarly apologize and correct the grievous harm that has been done to my character and my reputation.
Should an apology and retraction not be presented I will be taking legal action against Keith Rowley for uttering those false statements and all media houses and reporters who disseminated said statements.
I wish to remind all of the national community to not let the desperation of a Government stir up political strife and hatred at this critical juncture in our history.
We are seeing the worst in this government. They try to distract from runaway crime, brazen corruption, laziness and just plain incompetence.
Meanwhile, our sons and daughters in T&T cry out for justice, jobs and the ability to live and work in a functioning democracy.
Kamla Persad-Bissessar, SC, MP
Leader of the Opposition
1stth May 2023