United National Congress (UNC) political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar is likely to pay a hefty political price is she does not apologise to the nation for labelling Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley an Oreo biscuit, outgoing People’s National Movement (PNM) chairman Franklin Khan stated yesterday.
Speaking to reporters at the post general council news conference at Balisier House, Port of Spain, Khan said members deliberated over the remark, which they deemed to be “racist, derogatory, vile and unbecoming of the national leader in a society like TT.
“The spin doctors could put whatever spin they want on it,” he said. During the UNC’s Monday Night Forum in Claxton Bay, Persad-Bissessar had described the PM as an Oreo biscuit, claiming he was pandering to one per cent of the population at the expense of the rest of citizens.
The remark triggered a firestorm of condemnation from several groups, including the PNM’s Womens’ League, which deemed the remark to be racist.
Persad-Bissessar said later the remark was not racist but insensitive.
Yesterday, Khan urged Persad-Bissessar, who is also Opposition Leader, to make an unconditional apology to the nation.
“I just want to make it clear, not an apology to Dr Rowley but an apology to the nation.”
Referring to a Newsday editorial which said she should resign, Khan said: “At a minimum we are calling for an apology to the nation of TT. All citizens of TT in this country where our national anthem is every creed and race find an equal place.”
Asked what would be the PNM’s position if Persad-Bissessar did not apologise, Khan said while the party could not force her to do so, “she would pay a political price.”
At the news briefing, Khan also gave a status report on the September 30 internal election, saying the process was being executed by an election committee headed by former Port of Spain Mayor Murchison Brown. “The election process has been totally excised from Balisier House which means that the elections supervisory committee is operating like an EBC within the party because the people who hold office in the party are also running for office,” he said.
“So, with the process of transparency, they are totally independent and totally autonomous. Their only mandate is defined by sticking to the party election rules and the institution of the party.”