Rowley’s inflamed Gumbs; Wired868 investigates bizarre harassment case

In what would probably go down as the worst “sex scandal” since an Australian Senator offered ex-Trinidad and Tobago sprinter Ato Boldon a Tim Tam, Trinidad Express investigative journalist, Anika Gumbs, quit her job yesterday after being left “mentally scarred and traumatised” by a series of meetings with a character who Mills and Boon might refer to as ‘a tall, dark, handsome Opposition Leader.’

Photo: Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley enjoys himself during Carnival 2015.
Photo: Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley enjoys himself during Carnival 2015.

I know what you’re thinking: “Mr Live Wire, we are big people here… Rest it on we! Doh leave nothing out!”

Well, some time in January, Rowley allegedly told Gumbs that she was “looking rosy.” Three months later, he enquired about a tattoo on her back and removed a bee from her dress with the line: “Even honey bees landing on you.”

And, two weeks later on April 21, Rowley was allegedly bareback when Gumbs turned up for a pre-arranged interview, which was done in his kitchen. During the meeting, Rowley supposedly offered to work as a bodyguard outside her bedroom door.

Eh… that’s it. According to columnist Anthony Deyal, it was a case of ‘all Gumbs and no teeth.’

Incidentally, Rowley might be the first person accused of a sexual harassment case in which the woman just would not stop visiting his damn house for more

So, after all the nibbling, flattening, groping, puffing, blowing and ‘bring-a-Krystian-and-come’ pyjama parties that littered the People’s Partnership’s term in office, Gumbs somehow managed to grab the media spotlight with a lengthy recount of supposed sexual inappropriateness that had less action than ‘Rapunzel.’

Mr Live Wire cannot stress enough that if your claims of sexual harassment can be published without an editor’s note about graphic language and adult content, then somebody did not do their job properly.

Photo: Ex-Tourism Minister, MP and sweetman brahmin Chandresh Sharma. (Courtesy Trinidad Guardian)
Photo: Ex-Tourism Minister, MP and sweetman brahmin Chandresh Sharma.
(Courtesy Trinidad Guardian)

Former Prime Minister Basdeo Panday probably steupsed halfway through the story and turned the page.

You mean to tell me that Wired868 could publish the whole of “50 Shades of Gumbs” without one bleeding asterisk self?!

But that does not mean there was no lesson worth learning here.

First of all, let us look at Gumbs.

On September 2013, the Sunshine Newspaper reported that Gumbs landed two contracts valued at close to $1 million, which fell under the portfolios of Minister of Works and Infrastructure Suruj Rambachan and Minister of Food Production Devant Maharaj.

Gumbs allegedly confirmed her interest in the relevant companies and declared her dream was “to become (a) successful business woman.”

Yet, the Trinidad Express newspapers hired her anyway and allowed her to write investigative pieces on various political figures.

Perhaps Express editor-in-chief Omatie Lyder should have read Luke 16:13, which states that: “No one can serve two masters.”

Photo: Trinidad Express editor-in-chief Omatie Lyder.
Photo: Trinidad Express editor-in-chief Omatie Lyder.

Did Lyder, a former Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago (MATT) official, fail in her duty to protect the reputation of her newspaper by not acting sooner on an obvious conflict of interest?

Did Rambachan or Maharaj have any input in Gumbs’ investigative pieces on former Attorney General Anand Ramlogan?

Gumbs, one may recall, first tried to get a tale of domestic violence from Ramlogan’s wife—the ex-AG claimed the reporter posed as someone else although Gumbs denied this—before sinking him with the David West witness tampering story.

Was that really top notch investigative work? Or the fall-out from an internal UNC feud?

And then there is Rowley.

This is 2015. Bareback, like asbestos and cassettes, is not cool anymore, Keithos. Not unless you’re Vladimir Putin.

But, more to the point, why would the Opposition Leader invite anyone with substantial Government contracts—let alone a female reporter—to his house?

If Rowley, the instigator of email-gate, wants to give an example of his good judgment, then that would not be it. Have a word, Sharon.

Photo: Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley. (Courtesy Jyoti Communication)
Photo: Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley.
(Courtesy Jyoti Communication)

Of course, as always, the devil is in the details. So let’s revisit the timeline.

Gumbs said she felt uncomfortable when Rowley described her appearance as “rosy” in January. Presumably, she bursts into tears whenever she gets a “soot” on the street.

Or maybe Gumbs thought he was saying she was shaped like a mango.

But, if she felt uncomfortable at his office, why then agree to meet him at his home?

There, she turned up wearing a dress that apparently allowed Rowley to see a tattoo on her back. If she still remembered her last “awkward” encounter with the Opposition Leader, why flash the flesh in a more intimate setting?

Mr Live Wire hates to come off like a prude. But if a man can see your tattoo at his house, you are probably not dressed appropriately.

Unless, of course, Rowley intuitively assumed she had a tattoo there. But that does not make sense either. Most men cannot even tell if a woman has on weave.

Rowley, according to Gumbs, rescued her from a bee at the end of their interview with the words: “Even honey bees landing on you.”

Photo: Trinidad Express reporter Anika Gumbs. (Courtesy Stabroek News)
Photo: Trinidad Express reporter Anika Gumbs.
(Courtesy Stabroek News)

If anything, Mr Live Wire thinks it is the bee that should have been offended. It was clearly lost.

Yet, surprise, surprise, Gumbs took her honeypot back to Rowley’s residence within a fortnight.

This time, according to her, Rowley was shirtless.

What would most women do when a shirtless man asks them to step inside their home? Notwithstanding her previous concerns, Gumbs did just that.

If only Rowley’s charm worked on Wade Mark, who booted him out of Parliament.

Is Gumbs suggesting that she is more easily led than the Speaker of the House? That, to put it lightly, seems far-fetched.

For some reason, Rowley and Gumbs conducted their interview in the kitchen.

Was somebody making a sandwich? Did somebody try to leave a bunny in a pot?

And, the coup de grace, Rowley allegedly offered to stand sentry outside Gumbs’ bedroom door, due to prank calls she supposedly reported to the police.

Gumbs claimed she felt: “numb and blank… completely helpless and confused as if I was being trapped in a situation that I was totally unprepared for.”

Photo: Butterfly-gate?
Photo: Butterfly-gate?

Mr Live Wire shares her confusion at this point.

What good is Rowley outside Gumbs’ bedroom door? Is that where her PBX was situated and he intended to screen her calls?

There is certainly no satisfaction to be had outside a woman’s doors.

A proper pass would be along the lines of: “Would you like to come into my bedroom and tell me all about it?” or “You seem so wound up… maybe it’s because you are overdressed.” Or maybe: “Can I tell you what I would say if I called you late at night?”

It took another two weeks for Gumbs, by her admission, to bring the incident to Lyder’s attention and, even then, she did not mention Rowley’s name.

So how the hell was the Express supposed to protect her from future meetings with Rowley if the paper did not know about it?

She claimed that she stopped wearing dresses to work and stuck to pants suits.

Was Rowley in the habit of turning up at her Express workplace and gawking at her dresses? Are bees less attracted to pants suits?

Photo: Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley.
Photo: Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley.

Did her pursuit of a ‘Bill Clinton story’ somehow channel her ‘inner Hillary Clinton’?

Gumbs said: “I now feel unable to communicate with Dr Rowley any longer because he betrayed my trust and expectations.”

What does that have to do with the Express? She is not a political reporter. Did someone other than the Express editor-in-chief assign Gumbs to Rowley?

If so, what was Gumbs’ assignment with Rowley exactly? And why did she decide, 15 weeks after her last house call but five weeks before the General Election, that she had enough?

Was it because Gumbs’ trauma took nearly four months to properly manifest, unlike the air hostess allegedly groped by Glenn Ramadharsingh?

Or was it that, after nearly four months, she is now certain there will be no further opportunity for a meeting at the Rowley residence before the elections?

And what did Gumbs mean when she wrote: “Developments over the last 72-hours have caused me great distress to my personal and professional life hence my decision to walk away.”
What developments to her personal and professional life? Was her boss mad at her about something? Which boss?

Photo: Eh?
Photo: Eh?

Did Gumbs quit her job? Or just the cover for her real job?

No doubt, the electorate will hear much more about this in the coming days.

Gumbs, presumably, would now devote herself full-time to satisfying her State contracts.

It could have been worse. She might have entered the romantic novels business.

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About Mr. Live Wire

Mr. Live Wire
Mr. Live Wire is an avid news reader who translates media reports for persons who can handle the truth. And satire. Unlike Jack Nicholson, he rarely yells.

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236 comments

  1. Clemz, I think you have a good point, eh. Men say things to women, flirty things, whether they tracking the women or not. But a professional woman who means business would have nipped that in the bud one time. Most times women don’t even have to say anything. Her “yuh-think-I-is-Sharon-or-what?” facial expressions and/or her “I-eh-come-here-fuh-dat-nah” body language would have stopped Rowley dead in his tracks.
    I also wonder why she did not tell her editor in chief the identity of the man she alleged had behaved improperly towards her. A complaint like that about an arbitrary “official” and the same complaint about the Leader of the Opposition DO NOT carry the same level of concern and/or newsworthiness. So, go for counselling, girl. I guess that’s the best remedy for a grown woman being rendered “helpless and confused” at a man’s utterances. . . AND going back for more.
    Methinks this is a relationship gone sour. . .


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  3. In my deep sultry voice sexy voice,,,:yes that a map on my back…its a map to El Dorado the City of Gold….(this is too funny….)

  4. “I now feel unable to communicate with Dr Rowley any longer because he betrayed my trust and expectations.” What was her assignment?

  5. I am sure Monday night forum would have a new line soon starring Gumbs.

  6. Thirty pieces of silverrrrrrrrrrrrr–Anika

  7. Ok Lasana. now that I’m done laughing at the headline, let me go read the article. Ah coming back jus’ now.

  8. let us say she appears on a unc program ,or on nomination day she is selected as a candidate ,similar to volney ,the intention is to spring a surprise

  9. Hello to all the rosy women on this thread.

  10. Leave it to Mr. Live Wire to enlighten and entertain.

  11. Rationalize a thing that many of us seldom do. Why now ?

  12. i wonder if paul keen douglas is looking for story tellers

  13. This is sooooo funny!

  14. Only Mr, Livewire could share it this way ah weeeeeeakkk!!! She is a reporter and doh have a tape of these convos, just think Vernella!!

  15. Lasana Liburd, mih bredren, you issa f&%kin borse yes!!!! It have too much thing in dah article that have me bussin out!!!!

  16. So Monilal is now insinuating that the threats on Dr. Rowley’s life may have to do with his personal life and what is in the news lately? Really??????? “Stupid is as stupid does”

  17. Gumbs logic = A guy makes a pass at me at a gas station… I best sell my car!

  18. The 2 highlights for me Mr. Livewire – “50 Shades of Gumbs” and “Have a word Sharon” LMAO!!!! Rel good Mr. Livewire!!

  19. Unless phoned are bugged…perhaps

  20. Very interesting take on this story.

  21. What bothers me with this incident is that the way in which it was related infers sexual impropriety. I’ve searched her articles these past few months and none was on Dr. Rowley, unless she needed those visits to make enquires into the David West issue. However I couldn’t understand why a house visit would be warranted when a phone call would have sufficed.

  22. Yuh know John Trinipelvic Patterson. Yuh boy getting old. he need some tips.

  23. Lol I ain’t read it yet and I weak with laugh

  24. Annnnnnd the first comment is accusing you of misogyny. Lol

  25. Ha ha ha I really thought Dr. Rowley had better lyrics than that!!

  26. My question is… why if you uncomfortable you go back? Worse big ‘investigative reporter’ like you eh know how to gather/record evidence? Jack could give her lessons! An ace reporter has to be sharp and think on their feet… she feeling… numb and blank… steups

  27. She hurt women more than she hurt Rowley…and she doesnt care.

  28. A long time ago, when I was an IT tech, I had someone fake a computer issue. While I investigated, he positioned himself and decided to slap my ass. You know how long it took me before I left that situation? It wasn’t more than 60 seconds I assure you. You know how long it took me before I reported it to my boss? Immediate! That was the end of me and skirts, and me attending to calls by that individual. And at no point did I feel the need to quit my job.

    There is more to this story and she’s making a mockery of what some people really have to face on a day to day basis.

  29. Rahaha @ ’50 shades of Gumbs’

  30. Did somebody try to leave a bunny in a pot? hahahahaha this is exactly it

  31. Lol Lasana. All “gumbs and no teeth” Lol. She was just flapping her gumbs for all and sundry. Wonder how she could just up so and quit her job? The money must be real good elsewhere. This entire concoction smells.

  32. Well said. Very well said indeed

  33. Flea market…people for sale… #goddessofcorruption

  34. One word comes to mind whenever I see those Gumbs ‘PIPER’.

  35. Gaiven Clairmont

    first off again brilliant (no one does satire like you bro) so I’ll play Devil’s advocate here a little ok. So Gumbs have written pieces which have embarassed the Govt since getting govt contracts so maybe she is not easily bought off so that it affects her integrity (or like Lassana suggested it was an internal fued in the UNC) but lets look at what she reported, everything she has said is just under what someone can get away with in terms of sexual harassment and just about enough to make someone uncomfortable (depending on the individual) so I think its very possible for a heterosexual man to say those things she claimed Dr. Rowley said and not have it go anywhere further, where I think she loses credibility though is the gap between the incidents and the proximity of this issue with regards to the GE. If I had to pick sense from non-sense I’d say this its possible Dr. Rowley said those things she did say, however because it didn’t bother her at the time she let it be and maybe someone got to her and paid her off (maybe eh) and she resigned etc, because she didn’t say Dr. Rowley made any big advance on her or anything like that just he played on words a bit and might have slightly flirted which isn’t beyond him. Hence why most ppl (myself included) laughed when we first read it because there really isn’t anything much to it, any man could say those things (heck if he was really interested he’d have said a lot more, which is the premise of this satarical piece) but because of what it might do to Dr. Rowley’s credibility ppl are attacking the woman all over social media etc etc. So if I were to pass judgement on this matter I’d say the accounts were true but she’s using them to try to stir up mischief that isn’t there

    • Clemz, I think you have a good point, eh. Men say things to women, flirty things, whether they tracking the women or not. But a professional woman who means business would have nipped that in the bud one time. Most times women don’t even have to say anything. Her “yuh-think-I-is-Sharon-or-what?” facial expressions and/or her “I-eh-come-here-fuh-dat-nah” body language would have stopped Rowley dead in his tracks.
      I also wonder why she did not tell her editor in chief the identity of the man she alleged had behaved improperly towards her. A complaint like that about an arbitrary “official” and the same complaint about the Leader of the Opposition DO NOT carry the same level of concern and/or newsworthiness. So, go for counselling, girl. I guess that’s the best remedy for a grown woman being rendered “helpless and confused” at a man’s utterances. . . AND going back for more.
      Methinks this is a relationship gone sour. . .

    • Clemz, What I was hoping the devil’s advocate would provide is a motive for the resignation. Would you give up your job “to stir up mischief that isn’t there? I guess not. Not unless the price were right…

  36. Lasana you are a real boss!! I agree with u 100% and my take was similar to yours. She was so traumatised and scarred that she returned not a second but 3rd time!! If someone soots her she might drop down with a heart attack.

  37. Nevahson, misogynistic my foot! You think if Mark Bassant wrote in a similar letter that he had resigned because Kamla allegedly made a pass at him, Mr Live Wire’s satire would be less biting? Yuh need to visit here more often, boy!

  38. mcrousseau63@hotmail.com

    Lasana, excellent as usual, many unanswered questions. There must be more to this story. What is the objective? Flirting … hmmmmm….And sexual harassment. ?.not cool very inappropriate, not illegal.

    The time delay is starking, and why resign your job, Dr. Rowely does not work there.

    • Scotty Ranking

      Nor is he the owner, co-owner or shareholder of note. Not even a prized exclusive consultant. Dr. Rowley is certainly not in a position where he could actively make Ms. Gumbs’ working environment totally unbearable. Which begs the question, why give this as the specific reason for her resignation from the Express? There is a fallacy in the linkages that is as glaring as her conflict of interest as a state contract beneficiary doing media-related investigative work on the government

  39. “Even honey bees landing on you.” Oh gosh, ah gyurl cyar make a mistakle now? She mean to say he tell she “Even bees landing on you, honey.” Complete with punctuation!

  40. “Did her pursuit of a ‘Bill Clinton story’ somehow channel her ‘inner Hillary Clinton’?” Or, more to the point, her iinner Monica Lewinsky?’

  41. regardless of whether we can be skeptical of the timing of Gumbs account, especially given her conflicts of interest, i can only hope in a few years you can look back at this article and be ashamed of just how misogynistic you sound in your words here. especially disappointing because on almost all other topics (not concerning women) you provide a refreshingly critical and intellectual outlook very much needed in trinidad right now. please take this criticism as constructive and work on your blind spot.

    • Scotty Ranking

      Misogynistic my backside! This is a plain examination of the dubious nature of the claims as made via letter by Ms Gumbs. Even Mills and Boon would consider this weak tea compared to their regular brew.
      Taken at face value, it seems that Ms Gumbs was masochistic in repeatedly putting herself in harm’s way given the alleged antecedents that caused her prior discomfort.

      • Ent!! You took the words from my fingertips…but I am going to put them on the record anyway….
        Rowley’s guilt seems to be mostly because he caused a poor woman to quit her job (because he may have touched her but he has not yet once groped or probed her…so what is his crime?) because she was uncomfortable interviewing him, though she never actually told him that she was uncomfortable, instead she escalated opportunities to have inappropriate interactions with him…..so…technically, your honour, (imagine yourself in a court of law) she was almost leading him on….

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