PLANNING Minister Dr Bhoe Tewarie yesterday defended the Government's decision to place "pieces of cloth" bearing the national colours outside strategic locations throughout the capital city, including the Central Bank and the Hyatt Regency hotel.
Tewarie insists that the "decorative paraphernalia" are not flags, however.
Tewarie's statements to the Express yesterday were in response to several complaints made about the "disrespectful flags".
The Trinidad and Tobago national flag was designed by artist Carlisle Chang and chosen by the Independence Committee in 1962.
The official description of the national flags reads as follows:
"On a Red Field, a Bend Dexter Sable bordered Silver; that is to say, there is on the Red Field a diagonal from left to right in Black bordered with White. The width of the Black and White bands joined side by side at the upper dexter corner of the Flag is one-fifth of the full length of the Flag, and the width of each white band is one-sixth of the width of the White and Black bands together. The width of the Black is therefore four-sixths of the total width of the White and Black."
In preparation for the country's 50th anniversary of Independence, which will be celebrated on August 31, the Government has placed at specific locations, pieces of cloth with a red surrounding black and white vertical stripes.
One blogger on the JahajeeDesi2005 group yesterday called on the "relevant authorities to immediately explain why the Trinidad and Tobago national flag has been misrepresented and such abominations are being flown in an attempt to demonise and misrepresent a symbol of everything that we stand for".
Called for a comment on the issue, Opposition Member of Parliament for Diego Martin North East Colm Imbert said:
"These things are not flags those are the national colours and they are using them in a strange way and that is not an orthodox way. It could be said that they are disrespecting and desecrating the flag, it is true. Why they chose to do it I have absolutely no idea, why they chose to display the national colours in that way, it is very, very odd."
Tewarie, however, said the pieces of cloths were not flags, and they were not aimed at disrespecting anyone.
"Those are not national flags; they are decorations basically with the national colours," Tewarie said.
"There is no reason to feel disrespected, there is no reason to feel the flag is being disrespected, there is no attempt or intention to disrespect anything or anybody. The national colours are simply being used for decoration as decorative paraphernalia and there is no rule against using national colours on decorations," he said.
"You can wear a tie with the national colours, you can wear a red, white and black emblem that is not a flag simply because it carries the national colours and when the flag is used the flag is the flag and it has to be properly presented and properly used and properly respected, but a piece of cloth with the national colours is not a flag. A flag is a flag," he said.