While the People’s National Movement (PNM) has no difficulty with Government recognising the tremendous contribution of calypsonian the Mighty Sparrow (Slinger Francisco) and masman Peter Minshall, not just to Trinidad and Tobago but to the region, “in terms of our identity and culture”, Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley said it was “unacceptable” for Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to do so “in the cheapest, most classless and political way”.
Yesterday’s event at which Sparrow and Minshall were honoured was the Siparia Women’s Association’s Kiddies Carnival competition at Bhupsingh Park in Penal Junction.
“To take them down, as national icons, to her constituency, to play politics with them and their award, and to have the most tacky presentation of an award to Sparrow and Peter Minshall,” was most improper, Rowley said.
“The Prime Minister is standing...with the wind blowing away her pages and these gentlemen standing behind her. There must have been a more dignified way to do it,” he said.
Rowley added the Prime Minister handed the gentlemen their letters, not even in an envelope.
He said a different location, which was politically neutral, in keeping with the character of their contribution, would have demonstrated proper respect and protocol.
Rowley said while the PNM acknowledged both men were icons in the field of culture, he felt embarrassed for them at the moment of their acknowledgement.
“This Government continues to embarrass the people of Trinidad and Tobago by its consistent dragging down of standards,” he said.