Devon Thomas

‘freestyle’: United National Congress (UNC) candidate for Febeau/Bourg Mulatresse, Devon Thomas, during his performance at the UNC rally on Saturday at Centre Pointe Mall, Chaguanas. —Photo: ISHMAEL SALANDY

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has instructed his attorneys to sue United National Congress (UNC) candidate for Febeau/Bourg Mulatresse, Devon Thomas, for his “utterly vile and derogatory statements” made at the UNC rally on Saturday at Centre Pointe Mall, Chaguanas.

In a statement to the media released at 12.32 p.m. yesterday, Rowley said he had taken note of Thomas’s statement “sanctioned on a national UNC platform”.

The video of Thomas went viral on social media almost immediately after his performance. Thomas delivered a “freestyle” which descended into a vulgar attack on the Prime Minister.

“These offensive statements are a continuation of the UNC’s campaign which specifically targeted the Honourable Prime Minister in the run-up to the 2015 general election,” said the PM’s statement.

Speaking to the Express, the Prime Minister noted that it was the same line of attack and untruthful allegation made by Tobago East MP Vernella Alleyne-Toppin in the Parliament in 2015.

“I saw the (Thomas) video this morning... They (the UNC) didn’t get through with Vernella inside the Parliament, so they put him on the stage now. Is there no decency? He is singing that and there were people cheering, singing, dancing and waving flags to that. This was a rally the weekend before an election and that was what they had to offer,” he said.

“There is absolutely no room in Trinidad and Tobago for statements which have sinister and divisive undertones and seek to describe the Prime Minister as having committed a heinous crime,” Rowley said.

He said he had instructed his attorneys to sue Thomas “as soon as the local government elections have concluded”.

UNC public relations officer Anita Haynes said “of course” Thomas’s rhetoric was not sanctioned by the party.

Thomas apologises

At around 4 p.m. yesterday, Thomas, in a Facebook post, apologised to UNC leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar and to the UNC party for the comments made during his performance at the WorkNation rally.

“I deeply regret the remarks, and I would also like to apologise to my supporters, who have been with me on this journey. I also wish to apologise to the Prime Minister for my comments,” he said.

“My commitment to working to improve the lives of people and to getting Trinidad and Tobago working again remains strong. I am committed to fighting poverty, uplifting people everywhere and working towards making the UNC’s vision of a brighter, more prosperous future for our nation a reality,” Thomas said.

PNM women: Blatant lies

In a news release issued earlier yesterday, the People’s National Movement’s (PNM) Women’s League had “demanded an apology” for Thomas’s statement.

“The League strongly condemns the vile, foul, contemptible, depraved, despicable and untruthful comments uttered at the height of the UNC’s final election gathering on Saturday,” the Women’s League said in a release.

“These comments are another attempt by the UNC to malign the character and good name of the Prime Minister and political leader, with blatant lies.”

The League said Thomas was not stopped or censured during his performance.

“The Women’s League rejects this outright disrespect to our leader and the PNM... Such a vile attack...should also attract the attention and condemnation of the national community. We call on Kamla Persad-Bissessar to apologise to Dr Rowley and the PNM for the utterances of the entertainer and UNC candidate, which were calculated to injure the reputation of our Prime Minister and political leader. Nothing less than an equivocal apology will do,” it said. See Page 4

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU

Police Commissioner Gary Griffith has urged all victims of domestic violence to call 999 for an immediate response as he took issue with the manner in which a victim was treated when she called 800-SAVE.