Rowley apologises for sari skit
The Prime Minister tonight apologised unreservedly to the Hindu community for the skit a Tabaquite constituency group performed at the PNM's family day in Chaguanas last weekend, which drew protests and accusations that the party had denigrated the religion and promoted rape and violence against women.
Dr Keith Rowley said he consulted with Hindu leaders to understand the story of the Mahabharata, which Hindus felt the skit depicted.
He said he learned "how deeply offended and hurt" Hindus were by the portrayal in which a woman's yellow sari was unravelled by gorilla characters to show she wore a red garment underneath. The party group said it was meant to show the increase in PNM supporters in the constituency, traditionally controlled by the UNC.
Rowley made the apology at a meeting at Malabar Community Centre, Malabar in Arima.
"We have no difficulty and no shame in apologising to the Hindu community," Rowley told constituents.
The Prime Minister admitted he did not know about the Mahabharata which tells the story of a woman's loss of her husband with scenes similar to the unravelling of the sari as enacted by the Tabaquite group.
He said when he and party members saw the dramatisation they saw it as an act of transformation, while "they" saw an offence against their religion.
"We have to pay attention to what our founding fathers taught us that the dignity of the human being is paramount in TT and if you offend somebody... you have to apologise."
He hit the "nastiness" of critics, especially the Opposition, for accusing the PNM of promoting rape and attacks on women.
On Thursday, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar led supporters dressed in yellow saris outside the Office of the Prime Minister in St Clair. He said they wanted to damage the party.
"Rowley apologises for sari skit"