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Unkempt Tim Kee

Friday, February 12 2016

CONGRATULATIONS are in order to all of the winners announced in the Downtown Band of the Year competition. It takes effort to bring out a band, as Ronnie and Caro and hundreds of other bandleaders know.

Yet, as much as we laud the achievements of these artisans, the empty stands at all of the major Port-of-Spain judging points and the failure of even the Socadrome to take off this year are both dark shadows which loom over all the tokenistic laurels which the National Carnival Commission may hand out. The NCC has much to think about.

For instance, why is it that the Band of the Year must be a large band? We do not mean to take away the achievement of anyone, but why can’t medium bands, such as the wonderfully creative K2K Alliance, not be rewarded on the merit of design, beauty and the appeal they hold to onlookers? Also, in relation to the Socadrome, what, really, is its role in our Carnival? If the ostensible rationale is to tackle the problem of a buildup of traffic flows, should we not focus on management of the flows? How does a diversion of the bands — with all their spectacle and energy — to the margins of the city help? Is the deeper issue a disdain for the downtown areas of Portof- Spain where spectators may freely watch the mas? Are we ashamed at the condition of our capital city? Would we prefer visitors and tourists to avoid “behind the bridge” and the homeless shelter just off Marine Square? If so, why don’t we fix our once beautiful city? But these considerations pale in significance when compared to the outrageous remarks of Port-of-Spain Mayor Raymond Tim Kee in relation to the discovery of the dead body of a female Carnival reveler on Ash Wednesday. It is not just a question of the Mayor’s remarks being premature, which they were, but rather the fact that the remarks themselves perpetuate a misogynistic mindset which shames the victims of crimes, ranging from domestic abuse to sexual assault.

How does anybody’s behaviour — lewd or otherwise — justify an attack? The Mayor thinks a woman is to blame for her “losing control” moreso than her attacker for his crime.

Tim Kee added salt to the wound by issuing a half-hearted apology yesterday which was no apology at all.

As Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar remarked in calling for Tim Kee’s resignation yesterday, these sanctimonious statements have the potential to damage our tourism industry which sees thousands of women fly in to participate in our Carnival.

The sad part is Tim Kee’s utterances reflect a deeper mindset shared by others, including Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams who, on Sunday, warned women not to provoke attacks by way of their manner of dress.

Women are half the population.

How can we be assured the State is truly administering itself in a way that looks after our interests without discrimination if we allow persons in authority to spout such rhetoric? Both men should apologise, sincerely, for their remarks.

In the case of Tim Kee, the prematurity of his statements will leave many to question whether he can hold a public office in the face of such recklessness

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