It was with deep disappointment that the United National Congress observed at Friday’s joint protest march with the trade unions and the Opposition parties, several protesters in PNM colours with placards bearing racist slurs such as “Power to d African with Captain Rowley”, “Jail for this Indian gov’t with Rowley in charge”, “No more Indian Prime Minister PNM must rule”.
The Leader of the Opposition PNM must not only attempt to ‘deny and blame’ as is his usual response to everything, but must also condemn any elements within his party that could have been behind such a divisive campaign against a large section of the national community.
Any act of racism or discrimination in any form must be condemned in the strongest terms because it insults not only a community, but the entire nation where our tradition has been to uphold our diversity and stand as a united country.
The people behind the messages on these placards must be roundly condemned for seeking to incite anxiety and animosity between two major groups of our cosmopolitan nation.
If the Leader of the PNM Opposition expects to be taken seriously he would have first denied responsibility and condemned the messages. Instead, the Leader of the PNM Opposition was the first to respond to the messages and without condemning acts of racism, sought to blame persons associated with the UNC.
However, Dr Rowley’s failure to do condemn and stand against racism for a second time will leave the nation with no alternative but to confirm already deep suspicions of his true intentions. The first time, when Hilton Sandy leveled his infamous “Calcutta ship” insult to people of our country, Dr Rowley failed to strongly condemn the statements and instead attempted to make light of it, even saying later that Mr Sandy was a role model for PNM Youth.
That Dr Rowley believes himself to be a possible leader of our country, it is an extremely alarming prospect that he has to be forced to confront the very present and active undercurrent within his own party and publicly commit to rooting out racism.
The UNC in turn assures all citizens that our party will never, under any circumstances, permit, condone or support any form of discrimination. We are a diverse, national party with a place for everyone and the PNM would do well to let go of its deep and dark past and emulate our modern model of embracing all people.
More info contact Khadijah Ameen Ag Chairman UNC 788-3129