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Rowley wants police action on racial placard-bearers

By CAROL MATROO Wednesday, May 28 2014

click on pic to zoom in
OBSERVING INDIAN ARRIVAL DAY: Five Opposition Senators were outfitted yesterday to mark Indian Arrival Day which will be observed on Friday. Standing ...
OBSERVING INDIAN ARRIVAL DAY: Five Opposition Senators were outfitted yesterday to mark Indian Arrival Day which will be observed on Friday. Standing ...

Opposition political leader Dr Keith Rowley is calling on acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams to investigate and prosecute persons under the Sedition Act for promoting racial tension during last Friday’s march by the Joint Trade Unions Movement (JTUM).

Rowley said persons wearing red T-shirts and holding placards with racial slurs were actually UNC members parading as PNM supporters.

“It has come to our attention that the UNC has put together a plan, a campaign team and a campaign strategy. The team is made up of some Government ministers, a few chairmen of state boards, public officials from ministries and newspaper columnists.

“The strategy is to attack the PNM and me personally to paint me in the most negative light as a racist. That is the strategy of the UNC going into the next general election,” Rowley told members of the media during a news conference at the Opposition’s office, Charles Street, Port- of-Spain, yesterday.

Displaying several photographs, Rowley said they were all taken at the Waterfront in front of the Parliament, which was not part of the route taken by the JTUM. Demonstrators in the JTUM march were carrying offensive placards with severe racial connotations,” he said.

“Those offences were not committed along the route traversed by the JTUM march in which the PNM participated. No portion of our march went west of Chacon Street and those persons committing those offences on the Waterfront, the pavement, at the Parliament, were part of the demonstration which was organised and executed by UNC agents.

“They have launched an attack on me to paint me as a racist because they somehow believe that we will back away. I believe in the PNM fundamental principles and I take pride in the fact. The Government of Trinidad and Tobago will not be allowed to invoke race and religion and hide behind it.” Rowley said.

The political leader said a crime has been committed, and was being encouraged by the Government of the day.

Rowley said the CoP had a responsibility to ensure if laws were broken that the perpetrators are brought to justice. He was adamant that he would not back down and allow anyone to create a division among the people.

“If anybody in the UNC believes that the word race poses any terror for me or the PNM, think again. I have no problem in engaging the issue of race for discussion and for prosecution when racial issues come in the public domain and acts are committed by others under the guise of racial prejudice. I’m a proud black man, comfortable in my skin. I have been serving the public for decades and I will continue to do so as long as the people of TT want my service,” Rowley promised.

Taking a dig at Sports Minister Anil Roberts and the now infamous video showing a man with an uncanny resemblance to the minister wrapping what seemed to be marijuana in what appears to be a hotel room, Rowley said if there was any move to legalise marijuana in TT, then Roberts’ behaviour was good reason not to support that move.

Commenting on Roberts’ call for him (Rowley) to take a DNA test, Rowley said it was just a distraction from the matter in front of him and the country.

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