Rowley - 'Let's meet on CoP' , Kamla - 'Nope'

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley and Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar

The Prime Minister yesterday attributed Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s silence on the Marlene McDonald tipping-off issue to a disease commonly found in fowls called “pip”.

He was speaking at a news conference at the Diplomatic Centre.

Asked what he made of the silence of the Opposition Leader on the matter of her tipping off Port of Spain South MP Marlene McDonald about her then-forthcoming arrest four to five weeks before it happened, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said:

“If you had grown up the way I had grown up, raising yard fowl, you would know there is something called pip. And when the fowl has pip, it can’t feed. So it is not all the time that people like Mrs Persad-Bissessar can talk, sometimes they have pip and if she has pip she can’t talk.

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Asked whether pip was constipation, he said no. “It is something that happens to the tongue of a fowl. You remove it off with ashes.” Pip is a common occurrence among fowls which involves the development of a hard scale at the tip of the tongue. According to local sources, it is caused when the fowl scrambles to eat as much as it can as quickly as it is can, leading to poor respiratory behaviour and ultimately respiratory distress. The breathing through the mouth, and the taking in of wind through the mouth, causes the tip of the tongue to dry out and get hard. The disease is treated with ashes.

Last Monday in the Parliament the Prime Minister stated that Persad-Bissessar had warned McDonald of her impending arrest, a claim which McDonald on Tuesday corroborated in an interview with the Express. Since then, Persad-Bissessar has been silent on the matter but the UNC and its spokespersons have sought to counter the allegation by saying that it was “a big lie” and a plot designed to help McDonald escape criminal charges.

The UNC accused the Prime Minister of using parliamentary privilege “to throw out falsehoods”. The Chief Whip explained her silence as the result of illness from a virus.