The United National Congress (UNC) wishes to condemn in the strongest terms the disrespectful, unduly aggressive behavior of a mob of PNM supporters directed at Minister Anil Roberts on Friday 28 March 2014 while the Minister was on his way to Parliament to debate a private motion regarding the Beetham Waste Water Treatment Plant.
The assault is a very disturbing development by the PNM under the leadership of Dr. Keith Rowley. The PNM mob acted like raging bulls or “hyenas”, to borrow the word Dr. Rowley used to describe brawling schoolgirls.
This hooligan style of behaviour is in line with the message that Dr. Rowley has been sending to his supporters that the role of the Opposition Leader is not for someone “nice,” but for the “toughest and roughest bulldog” in the country.
We live in a civilized country where a legislator is entitled to attend to the people’s business without being harassed, bullied and intimidated. The opposition supporters in red PNM jerseys accosted the minister, grabbing, pushing, shouting and cursing; no one should accept that from kind of bullying and intimidation. Yet Dr. Rowley is content to deny any of it happened.
His failure to acknowledge what happened and refusal to condemn this act of political cowardice and unprovoked hostility proves beyond any doubt that he is not fit to hold the high office he currently occupies. Dr. Rowley is prepared to vent his anger, encourage disruptive behaviour by his supporters and generally behave in a manner unbecoming of a Member of Parliament.
His selfish and self serving ambition and encouragement of a mob mentality among his supporters is an affront to our democratic traditions that include freedom of association and movement to which all citizens, including government ministers, are entitled. We trust that the authorities would take whatever action is appropriate under the circumstances.
It is noteworthy that the mob descended on Minister Roberts as he was on his way to expose the PNM, which approved a waste water plant in 2007 at an estimated cost of $698 million. Yet the PNM is shamelessly attacking the People’s Partnership government for awarding a contract for a similar plant that would allow the delivery of millions of gallons of water daily to consumers. Contrary to the PNM propaganda and misinformation, the price at which the tender was awarded is very competitive, having regards to PNM antecedents and estimated costs in the matter.
For further information please contact: Khadijah Ameen, Chair (Ag) Phone: (868) 788-3129 – email: firstname.lastname@example.org