The United National Congress believes Howard University may need to revoke the Honorary Doctorate Degree of Letters bestowed to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, as it was a deliberate attempt by the People’s National Movement (PNM) to hide his failures.
Speaking during a media conference yesterday, Senator David Nakhid said he attended St Mary’s College with the university’s president, Wayne Frederick.
However, while he lauded Frederick’s accomplishments, he said he believed Frederick was way off the mark here.
“If you listen carefully to his laudations of Keith Christopher Rowley, almost every single thing he said…was misplaced,” Nakhid said.
“I think it was laughable to who knows the true story. So, I do not know if Fredo, as we call Dr Wayne Frederick, who I admit is a friend, I do not know if he was given a script to read…and read it without fact-checking but I think if he looks at it, (even though) he hasn’t lived in Trinidad but he comes and he visits, so he must have been aware,” Nakhid said.
However, Nakhid said if Frederick indeed wrote the list of accolades for the Prime Minister, then, at the very least, an apology is owed to the country.
“If he thinks that Keith Rowley has done a fantastic job, if he wrote that script himself, then he should apologise to the nation of Trinidad and Tobago, he should give back the award that Rowley bestowed on him—Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (in 2020) and then take back that doctorate from Keith Christopher Rowley, who not only doesn’t deserve a doctorate but, in my opinion, based on his behaviour in public office, should be facing charges for misbehaviour in public office,” Nakhid said.
Princes Town MP Barry Padarath also said he believes this was an attempt to prop up a “failed leader” as Local Government Elections are approaching.
“We have to call them out and say it for what it is eh. This is just not happening coincidental and by accident. This is happening by design. They’re using their tentacles, their PNM tentacles in institutions both locally and abroad to prop a…failed Prime Minister and a failed political leader,” he said.
“No amount of going abroad and writing scripts for persons to read about the wonderful roads, and the infrastructure, and the development in education and so on would fool people of Trinidad and Tobago. They live the poor infrastructure, the crumbling, dilapidated, dysfunctional infrastructure in this country. They live in a country where you dodge potholes as much as you dodge bullets, but they also live in a country where there’s no access to education in any meaningful way, with the cuts in GATE, the lack of technology in our system through the laptops, the connectivity et cetera. So, this, we must call it for what it is.”
On Saturday, the Prime Minister was among names like US President Joe Biden who received Honorary Doctorates from Howard University.
In presenting the Prime Minister with his award, president of the university, Trini-born national Wayne AI Fredrick, listed among Dr Rowley’s achievements the improvement of roads, increasing economic growth and increasing education funding and school repairs in T&T.
“The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago has experienced welcomed growth. Government policies implemented to promote diversification, investments and tax incentives for small businesses have increased the rate of economic growth. Energy reforms are also at the heart of your goals. The national gas master plan promotes renewable energy sources to lessen the country’s dependence on fossil fuels and encourages private investment to explore new gas and oil resources. During your tenure, quality education has also been a strong priority with increased school funding as well as more opportunities for vocational training. Under the school improvement project, you renovated and upgraded facilities nationwide. Likewise, the number of community centres has expanded with a number of projects within the Diego Martin community you represent and such centres are crucial to the lifeblood of the citizens with more than 40 opened throughout the country since your first term in office,” Frederick said.
Infrastructure and healthcare have been central to the wellbeing of your constituents with improved roads, better access to transportation, upgraded water and sewerage systems and expanded medical care.”
Frederick also described the Prime Minister’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic as “exemplary,” and “heralded for saving lives and reducing the overall spread as much as possible thanks to your quick and decisive actions.”