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Rowley: Govt's response to 'Observer' embarrassing

By Joel Julien joel.julien@trinidadexpress.com

OPPOSITION Leader Dr Keith Rowley has described the government's response to a recent editorial in the Jamaica Observer newspaper as "embarrassingly unnecessary".

The Observer's editorial earlier this month accused the People's Partnership Government of "ethnic stocking".

This, according to the editorial, is "the appointment to public office, including overseas posts, on the basis of ethnicity to ensure ethnic monopoly of political power".

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, National Security Minister Jack Warner and other senior Cabinet ministers have slammed the Jamaica Observer's editorial, calling it an attack on the Government.

Rowley yesterday addressed the issue at his final press conference for the year held at the Charles Street, Port of Spain office of the Opposition Leader.

"We took note of the Government's reaction which was quite embarrassingly unnecessary and in some cases bordering on the obscene," Rowley said.

"We have the Minister of National Security demanding of a Jamaican newspaper to expose to him the name of the person who wrote the editorial I presume so that he can vilify the person as he does in Trinidad and Tobago but of course the Jamaicans ignored him," he said.

Rowley said things were happening in Trinidad and Tobago which "we should not bury our heads in the sand upon".

"There are several examples which are worrisome. The chief executive officer of the National Gas Company (NGC), the National Energy Corporation (NEC), the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), the Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission (T&TEC), Governor of the Central Bank and the highest positions in The University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) are but a few examples that have created some concerns in the eyes of several citizens," he said.

"For the Government and its spokespersons to behave the way they are behaving as though these comments are in fact arriving from Mars without absolutely no basis, let me say to the government if the government believes that there is absolutely no basis for the Jamaican comments that the Government could ask the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) to show us all the senior persons, we could just confine ourselves to the senior persons, who have been removed from 2010 and who have been replaced, and then we will see in fact if there is any basis for anyone in or out of Trinidad and Tobago to be concerned that this kind of development could be taking place in Trinidad and Tobago," Rowley said.

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