Express Editorial : Daily

IT should never be necessary for a mother to plead with politicians to leave her child out of their political mud-slinging, especially when that child is a private individual. Now that Maria Daniel has stepped out of her own privacy to publicly argue the case for her daughter to be left alone, we hope the Opposition politicians who have been milking the story of Krystiana Sankar will now abandon their crude efforts at scoring cheap points and back off.

The fact that a senior Member of Parliament like Dr Roodal Moonilal should repeatedly descend to using the legal troubles of a young woman as political fodder against National Security Minister Stuart Young is more revealing about him than his target. The willingness to fight dirty by misrepresenting the facts and picking on a private individual who has none of the public platforms available to a parliamentarian can only be construed as an act of cowardice. If Dr Moonilal wants to take on Stuart Young, he should do so fair and square. There is certainly more than enough valid public issues on which Minister Young can and should be challenged.

Perhaps Dr Moonilal’s preference is for the cheap thrill of the low blow delivered with salacious intent. After all, although ugly and even despicable, playing to the lowest common denominator is a sorry fact of our political landscape from which neither of the parties in Parliament has been immune.

The ugliness spewed by politicians is magnified when it is thrown to loyalists who then disseminate its poison to destroy any prospect of rational debate.

The facts in this matter, as Ms Daniel has taken pains to point out in a letter to the media, are that Krystiana is not the stepdaughter of Minister Young; she has a father, and a mother who once had a relationship with the minister which had already ended by the time Krystiana was charged. These facts are not changed by the Opposition’s repeated reference to her as Minister Young’s stepdaughter. Further, like any other citizen, the high profile nature of her arrest does not alter her constitutional right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Even if her father were a parliamentarian or Cabinet member, Ms Sankar should not be considered fair game for exploitation by politicians. Surely, despite the degradations of our politics, we can agree on a level of civility that protects the children of politicians and private individuals.

It is astonishing that neither the UNC nor its political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has reined in Dr Moonilal, other MPs and members of the party on this issue. As a politician who presents herself as a woman with great empathy for mothers and children, one would have expected Mrs Persad-Bissessar to understand the hurt that prompted Ms Daniel to come to the public defence of her daughter. Surely she recognises her MPs’ misogynistic delight in the unrelenting exploitation and shaming of Ms Sankar as picong against Minister Young.

There is no benefit to be gained from carrying politics so low; the only outcome is destruction, personal and public.

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