FEW escaped chiding over the yellow sari skit at a recent People’s National Movement (PNM) family day and the splashing of acting Attorney General Fitzgerald Hinds by Beetham flood water, in a sharp remark by Congress of the People leader Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan.
“The political leader and members of the executive of the Congress of the People (COP) express its deepest concern with the state of social volatility which plagues our country today.”
In addition to rising crime, she lamented the blatant disregard people show for each other as individuals and each other’s religious beliefs and cultural traditions.
Turning her attention to those who splashed Hinds on his walkabout on Tuesday, Seepersad-Bachan said, “While we empathise with victims devastated by recent floods, no person or group of persons have the right to disrespect or abuse other citizens. As responsible citizens, we must at all times exercise common courtesy to all including those in public office.
“However, in an attempt not to exacerbate an already volatile situation, it is incumbent upon all public officials, duty bound to serve, to temper their reaction and response. In this regard, the COP believes that all elected representatives including MP Fitzgerald Hinds should demonstrate greater patience, tolerance and understanding with constituents whose frustration levels run high.”
She urged all to emulate the Japanese Prime Minister who bowed and apologised to citizens for ruin caused by a recent tsunami, although it was not of his doing, so showing the hallmark of great leadership.
“In similar vein, the Prime Minister and the leadership of the PNM should have taken responsibility and apologised to the nation for the skit performed at the party’s family day. Even if disrespect was unintentional, it is clear that major groups in our multi-cultural and multi-religious society were offended, based on the emerging discourse on Hindu scriptures and cultural attire of Indian women.
“It is also important to remind leaders of our country that in accordance with section seven of the Equal Opportunity Act, it is unlawful to perform public acts reasonably likely to offend, insult, humiliate, intimidate groups of persons based on gender, race, ethnicity, religion and origin.”
She added that if we are to achieve unity in our diverse country, leaders must be sensitive to such issues and to encourage all citizens to respect each other’s religious beliefs and cultural norms.
“The COP is also disappointed with the over politicisation of both issues.
“In keeping with a mature and progressive society, one expected the ensuing dialogue to be logical and rational, instead of the vitriol proffered on the basis of the political divide.” She feared that if we become more and more polarised, we will be unable to distinguish right from wrong.
“Politicians must therefore understand the consequences of deepening the divisiveness in our country. The COP humbly urges for calm, reasonableness, mature dialogue and good sense to prevail in our beloved nation, Trinidad and Tobago.”