FORMER Trade Minister Vasant Bharath is insisting that the Prime Minister must apologise to the country’s first Miss Universe for the public toilet reference to the street named in her honour.
During a spotlight on the revitalisation of Port of Spain, Dr Keith Rowley referred to Queen Street named after former Miss Universe Janelle “Penny” Commissiong as “the official toilet of Port of Spain.”
From his virtual Unity is Strength campaign platform on Wednesday night, in his quest for leadership of the United National Congress (UNC), Bharath said, “Even by the PNM standards, this is a national disgrace and embarrassment.”
He said Rowley should be ashamed because Port of Spain is represented by the People’s National Movement (PNM) at both the local and parliamentary level.
“The PNM Government should issue a public apology to Penny for the disastrous state of Queen Street. Even by the PNM standards, this is a national disgrace and embarrassment.
“He should be ashamed. Port of Spain has a PNM Mayor and is represented in Parliament by the PNM.”
“In any serious society, the mayor would have been fired. This is yet another example of blatant PNM ineptitude.”
He recalled some time ago, a high-powered expert committee headed by Professor Selwyn Ryan reported that crime “is a dagger aimed at the heart of Port of Spain” and warned it would over take the city unless there is decisive remedial action.
“This week the Government announced a so-called revitalisation plan for Port of Spain – this while crime continues to plague the capital city. Businesses are closing down. Employees are being sent home. People avoid having to visit Port of Spain.
“This PNM Government has done nothing to curb urban crime, but the Prime Minister speaks wistfully of revitalising Port of Spain.”
He observed that in spite of the advent of covid19 and the country pretty much under a lockdown, crime is still rampant.
“Increased levels of crime are being reported in both dangerous hot-spots and even in traditionally safe communities.
“The PNM continues to make failed promises and has introduced a spate of high-sounding laws – but the crime wave continues unabated.
“The people of Trinidad and Tobago remain at great risk. Murders, wounding, home invasions, assaults, robberies are a daily feature of life.”
He said while crime remains the number one social issue, Government is seeking a further extension of the life of the Anti-Gang Bill, “that has not served its purpose in rooting out gangsters.
“The PNM administration remains clueless in solving this life-and-death national problem. And the reckless and irresponsible spending continues unchecked.”
Bharath also introduced his slate of candidates to contest the December 6 internal polls during the meeting. Among them former Couva North MP Ramona Ramdial and Diego Martin candidate in the last election Joseph Pires, as two of three deputy political leaders. Larry Lalla was announced as the candidate for chairmanship of the party.