The Trinidad and Tobago government has condemned the “despicable and nakedly racist” comments made by Opposition Leader Kamla Persad Bissessar at a political meeting earlier this week when she referred to Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley as an “Oreo”.
“Whilst this government has been guiding and leading the country in a stable, inclusive and productive way, through a number of difficult and demanding situations…. Mrs Kamla Persad Bissessar and the United National Congress (UNC) have once again attempted to destabilize the country by consciously and intentionally utilizing race to divide and destroy Trinidad and Tobago,” according to a government statement issued here late on Tuesday night.
Opposition Leader Kamla Persad Bissessar and Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley (File Photo)
It said that on September 10, Persad Bissessar, addressing a UNC public meeting “attacked the Prime Minister Dr the Honourable Keith Rowley in a despicable and nakedly racist manner by calling him an “Oreo” adding “this continued naked racial and divisive behaviour by Mrs Persad Bissessar is hereby condemned in the strongest manner.
Persad Bissessar told party supporters that the so called “one per cent” here, a reference to the white powerful and influential members of the society, had tried to own former prime minister Patrick Manning and herself and failed in that regard.
“They have their Oreo now who is their guy who is Keith Christopher Rowley and that’s how their one per cent friends and family…control him,” she told supporters.
In the statement, the government said that it “will not condone the use of race or class to attack any citizen of Trinidad and Tobago and we reject the continued disdainful and backward politics of the Opposition being led by Mrs Kamla Persad Bissessar and her attempts to stir up racial tension in the country.
“May every creed and race continue to find an equal place in Trinidad and Tobago,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, The Women’s League of the ruling People’s National Movement(PNM) said it “utterly condemns the clearly racist and offensive description” of the Opposition Leader adding “that nothing short of an unequivocal apology to the Prime Minister and Political Leader from her and her party will suffice.
“The Urban Dictionary defines “oreo” as “an insulting term often used by blacks to derogate other blacks,” and therefore this represents a new low, even for a former Prime Minister. Such race-baiting has no place in the politics of Trinidad and Tobago and deserves to be condemned by all, including her own Hindu Women’s Group and all the other Women’s organizations who, without fail, call the PNM and its leader to account for every perceived infraction against women,” the League said in a statement.
“Mrs. Persad-Bissessar’s racist description on Monday night therefore speaks clearly to something deeply ingrained in a woman who, unfortunately, still seeks to convince others of her suitability for the job of Prime Minister.,” it added.