Stabroek News

Controversy in Trinidad after Kamla calls Rowley ‘Oreo’

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar addressing the audience during the United National Congress (UNC) Monday Night Forum in Claxton Bay on September 10, 2018

(Trinidad Express) The Executive of Arouca/Maloney Constituency of the People’s National Movement (PNM) has called on Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar to apologise “unreservedly”  for her “racist, vile and disgusting comments” made about Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley at the her party’s Monday Night Forum.

“While we don’t expect it, because she is not of the same mettle as Dr Rowley, we call upon Mrs Kamla Persad –Bissessar to apologise unreservedly to the Honourable Prime Minister, all persons of African descent and the country…,” the constituency said in a release, which also condemned Persad-Bissessar’s “latest racist rant”.

The constituency, which is represented by Planning and Development Minister Camille Robinson Regis, who is also chairman of the Women’s League, stated that Persad-Bissessar had sunk “to the lowest of her lows” when she referred to Prime Minister Dr  Keith Rowley as an “Oreo”. A simple search for the meaning of this word indicates that it is a highly derogatory and offensive term used to refer to someone of African descent as being “Black on the outside, white on the inside” , including persons who speak proper English, attain high academic achievement and having a diverse group of associates, the release said.

“The implications of the use of such a term by Mrs Kamla Persad-Bissessar, a former Prime Minister herself, are deeply troubling and speaks to someone with a mindset who only sees and judges people by the colour of their skin and ethnic background rather than the content of their character. As such, her words must be condemned by all right thinking and fair-minded citizens of Trinidad and Tobago. Furthermore, the Leader of the Opposition, by her own words and perilous stewardship of the country’s affairs, has demonstrated time and again her unsuitability for any position of public trust,” the statement added.

It called on the Opposition Leader “to exercise some sober judgment by resisting the urge to divide the country along racial lines.

 “While many may understand her political desperation, this cannot be an acceptable reason for acting irresponsibly and uttering such divisive and polarising words to prop up her diminishing political stocks.” 

Noting that Persad-Bissessar and her UNC MPs recently attended the Independence celebration, after a long hiatus, wearing national colours, the constituency urged her and her party to not only sing, but live by the words of our National Anthem “Here every creed and race finds an equal place.”