Who betrayed the CEO of the T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Gabriel Faria?
This is the question political analyst Prof John La Guerre asked hours after Faria issued a humble apology to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley over comments he made against the Government on a private chat which was eventually shared with the PM.
On Wednesday, Rowley took to his Facebook page where he blasted Faria, saying he was using his position to influence voters with his “shallow dismissive.”
At that time, it was unclear what prompted Rowley’s attack on Faria, as there was no information in the public domain about any harsh comment attributed by him (Faria) which may have prompted such scathing condemnation.
However, on Thursday, Faria in a statement, apologised for his tone for the intemperate comments about “the state of play of our politics” to the PM and confirmed that a private Whatsapp chat in which he shared his views in was the offending incident.
La Guerre said many people in the business community shared the same sentiments expressed by Faria in the chat.
“We hear very little from the Government as to how we are going to get out of this economic morass.”
The way things turned out between both men, La Guerre said was “unfortunate…because that was a private conversation Faria shared in a group that was supposed to be confidential.”
Who leaked out the message, Le Guerre said was the bigger question.
He said it clearly showed that someone in the group betrayed Faria’s utmost trust.
“This was a private discussion and people are entitled to their private views…..and that view would resonate with a lot of political thinkers.”
La Guerre said there was no need for Faria to apologise to the PM because he spoke the truth.
“I think Faria should have defended his position. I don’t think he required an apology either because that was his views….nor should he resign because this would show a sign of weakness in him.”
Questioned if Rowley’s was right to chastise Faria publicly for a private message, Le Guerre said no.
“It was improper for Rowley to do so.”
Also weighing in on the issue, political analyst Dr Winford James viewed Rowley’s statement as “needless. I don’t think Dr Rowley needs to engage with any citizen in that way.”
James said there are some things people have to turn the other cheek.
“There are some balls that you bowl you have to leave alone. The ball will not get you out but if you offer a shot you might be caught. That was a delivery the Prime Minister would have done well to leave alone.”
Rowley’s attacked on Faria, James said was a clear demonstration that he was upset by his statement.
“So he (Rowley) thought he had to play the ball. That may have lost him some marks.”
In some cases, a PM would have to defend themselves.
But in this instance, James said the best defence was to ignore.
“There are people who would say things about you. But you can’t fight every battle.”
James said Faria should have known that people in private WhatsApp groups sometimes have a way of leaking information to politicians.
“He must have thought his conversation in the group was so private it could not get out which was an error of judgement. But his decision to apologise in my mind was a show of strength and humility.”
Having read Faria’s WhatsApp message, James described it as highly provocative.
“And that is becoming personal now. I am saying he (Rowley) could have responded but not in the heated emotional way that he did. Probably he should have avoided the emotion. When you reply, try to win your self some friends. Try to be circumspect.”
Contacted yesterday, Faria offered no comment on the issue.
Yesterday, Guardian Media sent Rowley a Whatsapp message asking if he had accepted Faria’s apology, but received no response.
Today the PM will host in Tobago a press conference on COVID-19 related matters.