The Women’s Arm and the Youth Arm of the United National Congress (UNC) condemn the action of Fuad Abu Bakr on Friday when he and members of the Jamaat-al-Muslimeen hung an effigy of our leader, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, and the Leader of the Opposition on a tree in Woodford square, beat and dragged them through the streets.
While we acknowledge the right of citizens to protest this incident went way beyond that since it showed that some misguided members of our society continue to see the abuse of women and violence as acceptable.
Abu Bakr has stated that his protest was part of a campaign to make leaders listen but had he been paying attention he would have noticed that our leader not only listens but acts on the concerns of citizens.
She has demonstrated this sterling leadership quality through her National Conversation Initiative (NCI) and her recent decisions to respond to public and stakeholder feedback in cancelling a plan for two-year internships for doctors graduating from the University of the West Indies (UWI) and her decision to send the pensions issue to a Senate committee for consideration.
If Abu Bakr or any citizen wishes to communicate with the Prime Minister there is a civilized process for doing so instead of resorting to display that we saw on Friday with an effigy of our Prime Minister brutally beaten and then dragged through the streets of our capital in what can only be described as a barbaric show of misogyny and glorification of violence.
Abu Bakr’s explanation that his action was symbolic of the Trinidad and Tobago culture of beating bobolees is puerile and disgusting to say the least. We have a culture of respect for our women and there is no justification for any assault on women, which is what we saw on Friday.
This is why we equally condemn the use of an effigy of the Leader of the Opposition in acts that portray such wanton violence. While we oppose the Leader of the Opposition and his party in the context of policy and leadership, we cannot and will not condone such acts against any public office holder or any law-abiding citizen of our country.
The display was a show of gross disrespect to public office holders, the office of the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister herself, as well as every mother, daughter and sister in our beloved country. Abu Bakr sent a message to our youth that abuse of women is an acceptable behaviour.
Abu Bakr and his followers who share his backward views owe an apology to Mrs. Kamla Persad-Bissessar and every woman in Trinidad and Tobago as well as to every law abiding citizen of our country.
The UNC fully supports our leader, who is leading a progressive government that is creating a revolution in the development of our country and we are confident that the actions of Abu Bakr and other misguided people like him would not stop the march of progress that is taking place today.
For further information, please contact Stacy Roopnarine (Women’s Affairs Officer) on 350-0050 or Nicholas Morris (Youth Arm Chairman) on 710-2603.
Monday July 7th, 2014.