Chaguanas West MP Jack Warner has deemed racist the remark by Basdeo Panday that he (Warner) was a monkey on the back of Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
Warner, at a meeting in Felicity, Chaguanas Tuesday night, said he was hurt by the statement made by Panday.
“For Bas to attack me because I am an African, that was painful,” Warner told supporters at a public meeting in Princes Town on Wednesday night.
Panday did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Warner’s claim yesterday.
Warner’s meeting saw the surprise appearance on the platform of popular councillor in the Princes Town Regional Corporation Clifton De Coteau, who endorsed Warner in his run for chairman at the UNC’s January 24 internal election.
It was during an address to supporters Monday night that Panday said of Persad-Bissessar “she cannot be political leader until she gets that monkey of her back”. Some in the audience laughed.
Panday added, “And when I say she has to get that monkey off her back, don’t think I am referring to Jack Warner. I am not. It is an expression used when you have something you can’t get rid of”.
But Warner said that in football, when a black player is taunted, he is referred to as a monkey, and it suggests a racial slur that is to be avoided.
“I thought Bas would have been different. (Panday) has failed me,” said Warner.
“It shows his level of desperation. And a desperate man is a dangerous man”.
Warner said the Panday’s description of him as a kirwal (disparaging name for African) had inspired him to come up with an election symbol that would be revealed on Monday.
Warner said Panday’s slate had no members from his Couva North constituency, because he was no longer welcome there.
Warner’s also criticised one of his challengers for the post of chairman, Vasant Bharath.
He said Bharath was in charge when the UNC membership and electorate committee declined to accept 16,000 new applicants, and because he was a member of the elections committee “he is in a position to monitor the elections and make decisions concerning the movement of ballot boxes, the supervision of ballot boxes and the disappearance of ballot boxes”.