Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s observation that a golf course could be compared to a woman which required regular grooming drew the ire of Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar who said Rowley had traded in the Prime Ministership of Trinidad and Tobago for that of the “Prime Groomer” of golf courses.
“In his attempt to defend the indefensible, to distract from his outrageous decision to have three million dollars allocated to groom a golf course when there are babies and children in our country who have no milk to drink, no food to eat, this Prime Minister now appears to have become the absentee Prime Minister to be the absentee Prime Groomer of golf courses instead of the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago,” she said.
Persad-Bissessar was speaking on the sixth night of the Divali Nagar observances on Saturday night. Resplendent in a gold and red sari, Persad-Bissessar however admitted that she was speaking with a “heavy heart” as she had been “greatly disturbed” by the Prime Minister’s statements. “Any society where women are disrespected is a society that is bound to lose its way,” she said, adding, “I was greatly disappointed to hear the unsavoury utterances of our own Prime Minister once again disrespecting the women and girls of our nation and this was done in the seat of our democracy.”
“Such recurring and unsavoury pronouncements by the Prime Minister can only serve to contribute to the disrespect meted out to the women and girls in our country,” she said. “What is even worse is that the Prime Minister’s comments came just one day after Trinidad and Tobago joined the international community in celebrating International Day of the Girl Child,” she said. The International Day of the Girl (IDG) was observed on October 11 by the United Nations.
Persad-Bissessar also expressed disappointment that Leader of Government Business in the House, Camille Robinson-Regis had also defended Rowley’s statements.
“I am further shocked and saddened that the leader of government business in the House not only supported the Prime Minister but she has defended these spurious attacks on women,” she said, adding, “I expected better from her as a woman.”
And saying she was not making any apologies for her speech which veered into the nation’s politics, she promised the large crowd which had warmly welcomed her entrance with a standing ovation, that a re-elected UNC government would place Trinidad and Tobago on the path of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
She said the Fourth Industrial Revolution is being characterised by automation and data exchange between manufacturing technologies, with information and communication technologies being an essential driver.
And using the Divali Nagar as an example of Trinidad’s rich cultural diversity, she said these events could be used to diversify the economy by enhancing the tourism product.
“We have so many existing cultural events and sites that with some investment they can become contributors to helping to diversify the economy, to grow jobs and to earn foreign exchange,” she said.
“When we talk about diversifying, we must look to the diversity that we have in Trinidad and Tobago and promote all that diversity and not concentrate on certain sectors of the cultural heritage that we have,” she said, adding, “This is more feasible than mega vanity projects that do not redound to the benefit of all the people of Trinidad and Tobago.”
Meanwhile, the Nritya Sangam Dance Company took first place in the NCIC dance competition while the Khalnayak Academy of Dance took second place.