Senate Vice-President Lyndira Oudit was forced to come to the defence of Communications Minister Jamal Mohammed who on Monday admitted in the Senate that he is stupid.
In his budget contribution, Mohammed had members of the Upper House in stitches and some in shock after he said he was a nobody.
Mohammed began his presentation showering praises on his Cabinet colleagues such as Finance Minister Larry Howai, Justice Minister Christlyn Moore, Environment Minister Ganga Singh and Minister of Gender, Child and Youth Affairs Marlene Coudray.
"I mentioned at the beginning that I happened to join the Cabinet the same time as Mr Howai did, the same time as Mr Ganga Singh did, and the same time as Mrs Marlene Coudray did, and we had a recent addition of Mrs Christlyn Moore as Minister of Justice. Forget about me, I am a nobody, I am stupid," said Mohammed. The four Ministers joined the Cabinet during a reshuffle announced in June.
Opposition Senator Penelope Beckles pointed out to Mohammed that his statement will be recorded in Hansard.
Unfazed, Mohammed went on: "I am stupid and I admit that openly even if it is recorded in the Hansard."
He continued heaping praise on his Cabinet colleagues and the wealth of their experience as he congratulated Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar for making these appointments.
Oudit interjected: "Senator, just one minute. I think it would be ignoble of me to respond to your comments a while ago. I do not believe your appointment to this Chamber, and this Senate, was because you were in anyway except of wisdom and of honour."
Mohammed thanked Oudit and went on to speak about his Ministry's plan to ensure that the public is educated about Government's policies through the media. The Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago, he noted, is the body charged with the responsibility of granting licences to television stations and radio stations in this country.
He said there is an agreement in place whereby a licence must be signed by media operators.
Mohammed said that part of that operational licence which all television stations and radio stations have to agree to is that the Government is entitled to 14 hours per week on every single television and radio station.
He said that works out for about two hours per day, but everybody has come to the conclusion that now it has gone down to one hour per day.
Mohammed noted that there are some 30 radio stations in the country and more than ten television stations.
Government, he said, will be respectfully asking media owners to meet the agreement of providing one hour every day to get Government's message to the people.
"We are not going to force anybody with that, or make it a big problem; we can only achieve this if there is consensus, if there is compromise and if there is dialogue, and this is what we intend to do through the Ministry of Communications, as part of our mandate to spread the word of the job that is being done on behalf of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago," said Mohammed.