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UNC Political Leader Kamla Persad Bissessar, cast her ballot, in the UNC’s internal elections at Parvati Girls Hindu College, Debe, polling station.

RADHICA DE SILVA

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Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar says disrespect of women starts from the top and filters down to the average citizen.

This as T&T recorded the murders of 37 women and girls for this year as well as the disappearance of 416 women and children.

Speaking to reporters after casting her vote at the Parvati Girls Hindu College in Debe, Persad-Bissessar singled out Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi for making inflammatory remarks about violence.

She said members of the UNC had visited the Riley family and they were all concerned about the violence against women.

“Its a very tragic thing, Not just for that family but for every family. The crime situation is really out of control and for the younger ones, it is really heart-wrenching. My condolences and prayers go out to that family,” Persad-Bissessar said.

She added, “I want to condemn the AG who is talking about crying like a baby, like a woman, you getting slap-up and take two good slaps.”

Saying this kind of “inflammatory language” must be stopped, Persad-Bissessar added, “He (Al-Rawi) was referring to one of my members. Specifically to women and girls, take your slap like a girl, I mean really?”

She noted, “If from the highest level you get that kind of disrespect and contempt for woman and girls, what do you expect from ordinary people? I condemn that inflammatory language from the AG and all it can do is further incense an already bad situation.”

Speaking in Parliament on Friday, the AG had to be cautioned twice by House Speaker Brigette Anisette-George after he said, ” I am no stranger to being marked hard. Madam Speaker. It causes us little concern who has a crush on who? Who had to call your name whole day and whole night. But when you stand up in a big man name and want to pelt big man cuff, don’t cry like a lil girl when you get two slap. That’s the advice I would give certain members in his House.”

When he was cautioned, Al-Rawi said, “I don’t want to hurt anybody, I will rephrase. It’s nice to flex every now again and pelt a little hard lash.”

He was then cautioned a second time by the Speaker who said, “I notice a tendency of speaking about men in a particular way and I think we need to watch that.”

But contacted for response to Persad-Bissessar’s condemnation, Al-Rawi said, “Mrs. Persad Bissessar is habitually absent from Parliament. She was not there on Friday for 95 per cent of the time. She spends the vast majority of her time both in and out of Parliament making derogatory and untruthful comments about me and my family. Had she been in parliament on Saturday morning and heard Saddam Hosein and others throwing insults across the floor she would have understood the context of what was said by them and what was said in cross-talk and in reply. Had she been in parliament she would have seen me give way to Saddam Hosein to allow him to clear the record as to what he in fact said,” Al-Rawi said.

He added, “I genuinely invite her to be present in parliament more often not only because she is the leader of the opposition and should be there to discharge the duties she is paid to do but also so that she can accurately report on matters. On Friday she had the most horrible things to say in reference to women in reference to Minister Young.”

He said, “Persad-Bissessar knows that I have led the charge in the greatest number of laws and operational structures to protect our most vulnerable. On Friday I, in fact, moved amendments to the Sexual Offences Act to allow the population of the sex offenders registry. Mrs Persad Bissessar should focus upon the truth and. In simply being present to discharge her duties.”

He noted, “If you reflect on her public statements and the constancy and focus of her attacks you will notice that Persad-Bissessar simply can’t make a speech without mentioning me and Minister Young.”