Political Leader of the United National Congress (UNC) Kamla Persad-Bissessar has once again denied she has attempted to race bait with her speech on Thursday night, for which she has been criticised.
Persad-Bissessar has maintained that she said: “The blank man on the other side,” which many heard, “The black man on the other side.”
Among those taking issue with her statement was the People’s National Movement’s Women’s League. Persad-Bissessar responded to the criticism yesterday, during a walkabout in Barataria.
“There’s only one race, the human race and that is what I am working for, for the upliftment of all people of Trinidad and Tobago regardless of which colour of the rainbow we belong to. There is no race-baiting on our path,” she said. “They have to use something to campaign and acts of desperation and distraction. I am very focused, there is only one race, the human race and that’s where I am and that’s where I’m going.”
During the UNC’s presentation of candidates on Saturday night, the Opposition Leader revisited the portion of her speech that caused the contention.
“I want to make a blanket statement on Mr Blankety-Blank. I want to read again a few words which I read on Thursday night, boy this man get so vex,” said the UNC leader said as began to re-read the speech.
“He has attacked schoolchildren, women, police to the judiciary, business leaders, religious heads even the media.
“Now the man is now attacking WASA workers about sabotaging the water supply. Attacking WASA workers saying they are sabotaging the water supply,” she continued. “When I describe that do you know who I am. Who am I talking about? You see? I don’t even have to name the man yet you could fill the blanks. B-L-A-N-K-S. Fill the blanks,” said the opposition leader.
In a statement Saturday, Chairperson of the PNM’s Women’s League, Camille Robinson-Regis said, “The debate over whether the Opposition Leader said “black” or “blank” is moot when one is able to admit, that Mrs Kamla Persad-Bissessar has been involved in politics for more than two decades, and understands very well both what her audience would have heard throughout her speech and the consistency of her party’s behaviour.”
She stated later in the release, “With a mere three weeks to go before the General Elections of 2020, the Women’s League is hoping that the Opposition Leader and her candidates would seek to restore some sobriety to the campaign, rather than continue to plummet down this road of decadence.”