Tobago House of Assembly (THA) minority councillor Dr Faith B Yisrael is calling on Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles to either fire or discipline Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development Dr Agatha Carrington for “unbecoming” remarks about infertility and her personal life.
In responding to the motion of no confidence in the Chief Secretary at Thursday’s THA sitting, Carrington, speaking after Yisrael’s contribution, said: “You so bitter that you cannot sleep and if you want to govern try to sleep, try to be less bitter, don’t be doing what you’re doing, because it is not going to...and if you aspire to getting a family so, you’re not going to get none because if you bitter like that now nobody will make you sweet, far more to make you a parent.”
Contacted yesterday, Yisrael said Carrington’s comment was unbecoming and unfortunate.
“The issue with Dr Carrington is not simply that she said something about me, the issue is that she spoke also about a topic that is near and dear to the hearts of many Tobagonians particularly many families who are also dealing with health issues, who are dealing with infertility issues and what she did on Thursday is pour salt into the wounds of those families, into the very central part of their lives as she simply showed no regard for them and their struggles,” the councillor said.
“The Chief Secretary needs to make a very sensitive decision because he is the one who is responsible for the Executive Council. He should have fired her or disciplined her immediately, instead they all stood there and they cheered and they banged the table and they encouraged her. They are collectively to be blamed for her actions.”
On Friday afternoon, Carrington issued a statement of apology.
“As Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development, I unreservedly apologise for any statements or comments made during the 11th plenary sitting of the Tobago House of Assembly... None of these statements or comments were meant to offend, embarrass or hurt any of my colleagues in the Assembly. Perhaps, in the exuberance of the debate, the words I used may not have been the most appropriate. Despite this unfortunate occurrence, I assure the public that I take my oath as the Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development very seriously and I continue to work in the interest of the health, wellness and development of all Tobago’s families and visitors,” it ended.
However, the Women’s Arm of the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP), which Yisrael represents in the PNM-controlled THA, is calling for Carrington to either resign of be fired.
In a press release on Friday, the PDP rejected the behaviour and accompanying statement of the secretary.
“While it is accepted that political picong will be traded from time to time, it is never acceptable for one to joke or demean another on perceived disabilities. It goes against the best practice of health care to discuss women’s health issues in such a disgustingly destructive manner. Dr Agatha Carrington, in her utterances, poured salt in the wounds of all women and families privately dealing with issues that relate to infertility in Trinidad and Tobago,” the release read.