Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar stands accused by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and the People’s National Movement (PNM) of appealing for civil unrest like the 1990 attempted coup.
On Saturday, following Rowley’s news conference, Persad-Bissessar issued a release criticising the Prime Minister and expressing concern about the economic hardships facing people with the continued lockdown.
“Rowley must accept help from stakeholders and make changes to his failed team. We cannot have a 1990 repeat,” she stated.
She also warned about the frustration people are facing, stating “the seeds of civil unrest are being planted and watered”.
She further criticised the medical team, stating: “He (Rowley) is keeping the same failed medical team now turned propaganda team of (Terrence) Deyalsingh, (Roshan) Parasram, (Maryam) Abdool-Richards, (Dr Avery) Hinds and (Dr Michelle) Trotman. These people have been in charge for over 15 months and led us into this disaster of over 600 deaths. Continuing with them in charge is deadly, and amounts to premeditated, State-sanctioned murder.”
The Prime Minister yesterday issued a release stating that Persad-Bissessar appealed for a 1990 insurrection and condemned her statement.
“The most recent statement of the Opposition Leader, appealing for a 1990-style insurrection to be the response of those citizens who are undergoing the hardships that many are currently experiencing, is a most dangerous, damaging and unpatriotic obstruction in this time of our national struggle in these pandemic times,” he stated.
Rowley added that such a statement could easily be misunderstood or viewed as acceptable encouragement by any unfortunates who may think that this thought is an acceptable response.
He further lambasted Persad-Bissessar for her “attack” on medical professionals.
“Equally to be roundly condemned is her relentless attack on the professional public servants in the health care sector whom she identified, by name, and subjected them to her warped and disgusting analysis,” he stated.
“These public officers are the cream of our professionals who have come to our defence in this moment of great need, in a pandemic and as Prime Minister, charged with the responsibility of steering this nation to a safe place in this storm. I appeal to the Opposition Leader to search within herself for any modicum of decency which would direct her to leave the public professionals out of her political desperation,” stated Rowley.
The PNM’s National Women’s’ League, led by Planning Minister Camille Robinson-Regis, also condemned Persad-Bissessar, stating she used “coded language” calling for a 1990-style insurrection.
Robinson-Regis stated that right-thinking citizens will not tolerate “veiled or unveiled calls for sedition”.
She demand that UNC MPs state publicly if they support Persad-Bissessar’s “unequivocal statements that border on seditious dog whistles”.
“Now this hapless and pitiable excuse for leadership who presided over LifeSport and created billionaires of contractors and politicians is today calling in coded language for a 1990-style insurrection,” stated Robinson-Regis.
The PNM’s Youth League called on Persad-Bissessar to take full responsibility for her statement and demanded a retraction and her resignation.
A release issued by league chairman Dr Jeremy Inniss stated that the UNC has entered into a “new era of darkness” as Persad-Bissessar’s statement threatens the encouragement of civil disobedience in Trinidad and Tobago.
Inniss also criticised Persad-Bissessar for her comments on the medical team.
And Tobago PNM Council political leader Tracy Davidson·Celestine called on Persad-Bissessar to recant her statement and apologise to the country for inciting civil unrest.
“Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s agitation for civil unrest is criminal especially in a time of a pandemic when the whole world and this country are hurting,” she stated.
“Shame on Persad-Bissessar for using the pain of the people like this. You dishonour the memory of every life lost to Covid-19 and everyone who has been affected. The country is hurting and when you should be bringing comfort and hope, you heap more despair on the people,” she added.