Opposition Senator Jearlean John is calling on the Prime Minister to stop bullying his female political opponents, as she says T&T’s youth are following his lead in their everyday lives.
Speaking during a United National Congress (UNC) media conference yesterday, John said Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley must acknowledge the power of his words and his “bullying” actions against Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
John said when the Prime Minister addressed the country during a post-Cabinet media briefing last Thursday, instead of focusing on the murders of three women, he chose to use his time to disparage Persad-Bissessar.
“I also say now is the time for the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago to take down the temperature, little boys are watching, they are listening, they are taking notes and if the Prime Minister, when asked questions about the state of the economy, takes great umbrage and roars to his audience ‘Drink your rum and get out my face’,” John said.
She said the country continues to be subjected to violence and aggression when the Prime Minister speaks. John said the country was on the “edge of the cliff,” with experts predicting the country could be on its way to recording the most violent year in its history.
She urged the Prime Minister to think about the power of his word choices.
John said when Persad-Bissessar was Prime Minister, she took Rowley along with her to the funeral of then South African President Nelson Mandela. She said that type of civility in politics has not been seen since.
“You see the past few years, we have been forced into normalising nasty, bellicose, confrontational language and behaviour.
“We can disagree on policy positions, we can even disagree on action, the way forward, without the violent rhetoric and behaviours,” John said.
“A democracy is about choice, sometimes it’s a binary choice is chicken or fish or red or yellow. You know, it is what it is. But at the same time, it’s a war of ideas and persuasion, not the naked hatred that passes for politics in Trinidad and Tobago, that filters down into the society and appears to have metastasised.”
She said T&T does not need “overt expressions of hatred,” as it hangs on the edge of the cliff.
“Today, I urge Dr Rowley to hate men who sever women’s heads and kill their young children, robbing them of their promise, hate adults who are not accountable and who do not take responsibility for the upbringing of their children, hate predators who rape and kill women,” she said.
John said for the country to return to any semblance of normalcy, without so much crime and violence, all of its citizens must work together. She said there was a “monumental” amount of work that needs to be done and it should start in communities, schools and places of worship to mentor youngsters to be better citizens.