In joining all law-abiding citizens of Trinidad and Tobago in my condemnation of the utterly barbaric and insidious acts carried out by Fuad Abu Bakr, in mercilessly beating effigies of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley, I wish to go further by commending the position taken by the United National Congress’s women and youth.
A joint statement issued by the UNC roundly condemned Abu Bakr’s actions and went further in taking a public position that, unless my very long memory fails me, is unprecedented in our independent history. From what I read, the UNC statement said, “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.”
This is the first time in our history, and perhaps even in the Caribbean’s political history, a party in Government, in its fourth year of a five-year term, took a position of defending the leader of its main opposition.
What this has demonstrated is our country is in fact making progress and becoming much more politically mature. The UNC has made it clear there are some lines which it will not cross, and the party will stand in defence of all public office holders, whatever their political affiliation.
This is reassuring and brings a new element to our politics, which I hope is the signal of us moving fully forward to greater maturity in our debates, campaigning and State management.
While there are many pressing issues requiring attention and capable management, I take heart in knowing the party in power knows how to separate the personal from the political.