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Discussion: Does Rowley’s offer of drinks to Faine merit a national conversation?

In a recent TV6 interview entitled “All Things Considered” and meant to be a mid-term review of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s administration, there was a brief exchange between the Prime Minister and reporter Faine Richards.

Faine Richards: Prime Minister, I’d like to move the conversation to a more social climate; you look on social media…

Dr Keith Rowley (interjecting with a broad grin): We should have some drinks then.

Richards: Well, perhaps of the non-alcoholic flavour.

Rowley: Well, that is not a drink.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.
(Copyright Andrea De Silva)

The 14-second snippet caused a stir on social media where comments flowed as to whether it was an inappropriate remark by Rowley or much ado about nothing.

Is this an opportunity to discuss what is permissible “ole talk” between men and women in the workplace? Or is Rowley being attacked purely because of his position at the helm of the ruling PNM Administration?

Read the comments below and share your own thoughts.

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  1. So the prime minister offers a drink to a female reporter and that’s a big crime? Well If you have nothing better to do, I have!

  2. I am not partisan by any stretch of the Imagination and I am not pleased by the stupidity of Dr Rowley’s comments and/or offer of drinks on Camera. When you hold the office that he holds, you need to present yourself at all times with highest level of Decorum. It was an “uncalled for” and ill advised verbal by the “Prime Minister of Trinidad & Tobago. These off the cuff comments are not becoming of the office. I have heard and seen other similar statements and comments in the past even in the recent past that were condemned and rightly so. We, the public did not see the off camera exchange, nor did we see Juhel in the discussion, thus the continued comments on and off Social Media. Whose fault is it?? I would suggest the Interviewers. I would go further to suggest that Ms Richards is now being seen in the same light as reporters were under the last administration. I think this is good for the development of our democracy and media.

  3. Something wrong with me.
    I have been socialized Real Different.
    But a lot of things Trini’s find funny aren’t to me, so that saves me.

    Trini’s laugh when someone falls or falters. When they are vulnerable abd emotional. At banal body jokes… Our comedy shows.

    But a big part of this is what sex is in this culture, right? I suspect?
    And the fluid nature of relations.

    Folk regularly — their friends, so such boundaries are unheard of.

    Plus the plantation thing…

    Just trying to explore all the dynamics.

    It can never change, cause there is so much acceptance for rogue and crude. Just laughter… So imagine the derision for those who on a different line.

    And that’s who the country hired to represent us. Crude and coarse

  4. Hahaha. That’s the tricky thing oui. I love an irreverent joke at least as much as anyone else. So when people say that Rowley doesn’t have to tell his Cabinet members to be on their Ps and Qs, it sounds like absolute nonsense.
    How would I know that a cheeky text I sent in the past might not come back to haunt me? It is a tricky time right now in gender affairs. The only people who are absolute certain of their righteousness seems to be political supporters.

  5. You know that comment to Nicole about learning what offends and what doesn’t made me think. Back when I worked in a office. I was in my 20s and I remember being creeped out when some guy asked me what are my statistics. In all my years of working that stands out as the most offensive thing I heard from a male co-worker. And I have heard sexually suggestive stuff from males that would make many women cringe but maybe because they came from people I joked and limed with it was like nothing. I once told a guy “last Saturday I was on my way to get a facial and I got in an accident”. He responded…”I does give facials too yuh know?”. And I laughed hilariously because we were cool like dat?

  6. For reasons I don’t need to go into, PM should play these encounters with a straight bat. As strictly professionally as he can manage.

  7. I’d love to hear from Faine how she felt about the moment. For me, although Rowley can sometimes be crass, and say the darnedest things, he’s savvy enough to know that he was in the middle of a TV recording. It was clumsy, it was awkward, it was maladroit, but I can’t for the life of me see that as a pass. But I’m not in Faine’s shoes, and I’d happily defer to her opinion of it.

    Chris Gayle was bang out of order. He hit on, patronised, and was a sexist jerk to a woman doing her job. Editors should make a lot of noise about stuff like that, when women reporters confront it.

  8. Lasana, it seems a bit overblown to me. He tried to make a joke and be light and it fell flat. This is not even as bad as the creepy “Don’t blush, baby,” Chris Gayle comment, but in this #metoo moment, I get why people are hypervigilant. Still, this seems like a non-story to me.

  9. Omg. Lasana Liburd would not like to know of the phone calls but I will leave dat there.

  10. many women talk that way with men and men dont complain lol…are men going to start to report women for sexual harassment? NO

  11. By the way, this is what Chris Gayle infamously said to the female Australian reporter:
    “Your eyes are beautiful, hopefully we can win this game and then we can have a drink after as well. Don’t blush, baby.”
    Notice he never explicitly asked her for sex. I see some people are suggesting that unless the man specifically asks for sex then there is no question of inappropriateness. I don’t know where we got that idea from.