SUZANNE MILLS Sunday, March 22 2015
Raw sexual innuendo on the platform is definitely not a matter of public interest, don’t you know? Only corruption is. But being sexist and talking about womeńs private parts is a non-issue. It́s a Trinbagonian ting. Picong. And we women must take the verbal licks and like it.
Opposition Leader Keith Rowley must feel he’s in like Flynn so he doesn’t have to respect us. Because how can he expect to gain female support when in order to protect himself from a political thrashing he does none other than go for his opponent’s female “jugular?” So crass, this gutter talk about “she cat”, a clear reference in TT language to female genitalia. And he claims a lawyer is sucking figuratively on the nipple of the PM. Disgusting. When Rowley looks at the PM, what is he seeing? Cats and nipples? What does he see when he looks at all women?
Rowley went down low this past week and it was repulsive. “She could bark at meh dog, I go ignore she cat,” he said. In other words, she could come after my Y, I wońt be tempted by her X. That is the context in which the comment was made. He said the PM wanted him, but he did not like just any woman. It was all sexual.
For let’s be honest. What is his dog? What is she cat? There is no misrepresentation or error here. And Rowley added grave injury: he accused the PM of being interested in Faris Al Rawi, too. She is on “Faris’ back.”
The person doing the distraction is Rowley, not those of us who object to the vulgarity of references to cats and nipples. The Rowley posse are on the defence, the PM hitting him tat, tat, shaking up his golden boy Faris. So Rowley tries to drag her down; says she is not after Faris as a matter of principle but because she cannot have Rowley. Shades of the “hard man” talk in last year’s PNM leadership battle.
Rowley apologist number two, Camille Robinson “Rats” Regis did the usual clumsy political tap dancing. She is appalled that we women see a sexual, sexist statement and call a spade a spade. Look, Mrs Rats, we are big women and we know that your boss deliberately struck below the belt to humiliate the PM. He hit out at her sex.
Cats and nipples? Imagery of a misogynist. Imagery of what should be the old PNM and not the new TT. But no biggie. Respect for women is of little public interest! We women are being told what is important to us and what is not.
This Rowley crassness permits me to return to the Rowley wine, which many shoved under the carpet, ascribing to it little significance, when actually the picture painted a thousand words about TT society. The wining photos illustrated too one of my life’s philosophies: there is no such thing as a stupid question, as the incident unveiled Rowley’s indisposition toward humility and his indifference toward those who expressed dissatisfaction with what they saw.
Even if the scenes bothered just a tenth of the populace, Rowley should have been less arrogant. No one expected Ash Wednesday repentance, but instead of declaring he would do it again, he could have apologised to those he had offended or disappointed. They are voters too. Again in this “cat” case, no apology to the women (and men) he has insulted. He talks a good talk, but does not walk it. He can accuse, but may not be questioned. He need stand no scrutiny.
But yet he cannot get that it was wrong for the aspirant to the PNM throne Faris to use the Senate to raise the matter of electricity rates for his client. It goes to the question of what Faris will do in office for his peeps. In a real country the man from south would have been gone. But Rowley can’t admit that, can he? He wants and needs his Faris for San Fernando West. Political morality.
Kamla 2, Al Rawi nil and the Opposition Leader distracts us or tries to. But the genesis of Rowley’s declaration of mannish war on the PM goes beyond Faris failures and back to her motion of no confidence with regard to his conduct in the David West affair. He is livid to have the spotlight shone on his conduct when no doubt Rowley had a responsibility to declare West was his witness in the AG’s defamation suit before supporting West́s candidacy for the PCA post, which is why Rowley is currently claiming he was out of the witness loop. His knee jerk response however was he did not owe the PM a word; he is not her adviser when what he should have said was he had erred, plain and simple. But his initial instinct was to be snide. And once more, beyond or above accountability. No remorse. Take note TT.
Last June the man who is arguably the PNM’s brightest MP, Colm Imbert, made a remark which might have been prophetic.
“San Fernando West is historically a PNM seat. We usually win by 1,000 votes and should win it easily. The only way it won’t happen is if PNM does some nonsense between now and 2015. “ PNM’s learned its lesson and will never take the population for granted again in any election. We must be mindful TT’s a cosmopolitan society, comprising different groups and we can’t be wrong and strong.”
After five years of pomposity, the seat́s candidate Faris Al Rawi is under much deserved pressure and so Rowley goes after the PM with a chauvinistic vengeance. Can Imbert truly avow therefore, that the PNM has learnt its lesson? Seems not. Seems women are not a constituency that counts. Seems my ballot is worthless because I find no humour in a man who wishes to be my PM engaging in double entendre and refering to women’s nipples. Seems the PNM under Rowley is still very much wrong and strong.