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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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326 comments

  1. Yuh know what??The PM needs to go back to being a damn hog answering questions like a beast and going his damn way!!!Because no matter what he says or do there will be an issue!!!!Meanwhile half ah allyuh eh pay rent for the last two months,yuh could see yuh reflection to the back ah yuh fridge cuz it empty but taking Bligh from Bmobile to come on fb and wash allyuh mouth on a man that has worked damn hard to reach where he is!!!!!SMH!!And plenty of these reporters like tuh act like panty man and feminists just to get ah story…ah just the salary allyuh get worth allyuh damn soul!

  2. Does PM…offer an opportunity…? Isn’t this question somewhere over the line of responsible journalism? Should media sources be attempting to make news rather than report the facts as they happen?? Sadly this rush for ‘hits’ over ‘hurts’ masking as free speech is short lived judging from the beating New Media Executives took in appearing before US Congress on the ease of access from Russia’s election meddling. Just look at the cowardice positions of commentators here who in claiming free speech post the worst vitriol and disrespect to our leaders without fear of consequence. A reckoning is coming and in the end it is ‘we’ who will be responsible for the outcome by our actions in the input…no one else.
    Sexual harassment is a very serious issue and has its genesis in slavery when slaves were legal non-persons and as property women were subjected to some of the worst indecencies at the hands of their masters. It translated into work arrangements where a similar pathology existed for women and now here we are… there are many silent sufferers of this social disease reinforced in the current period by power differences of exploitation…have serious healthy discussions where it matters most and encourage discussion that makes us all better persons.

  3. If this same event happened when Kamla was PM, people would say she’s an alcoholic and can’t get through an interview without vodka! People watching every syllable for a way to attack politicians. To me, Rowley was making a light hearted comment, nothing more.

    • There are fanatics on both sides and that makes it hard to discuss anything once a politician or political appointee is involved.
      For many, that is like a member of their immediate family.

    • Lasana Liburd I believe the PM should exercise more class and decorum becoming of his office. I am not about to say he should resign but he needs to guard his tongue. He need to understand that he is a significant Parent to many children in our Nation. KPB had her indiscretions as per Alcohol and was criticized and Dr. Dr Keith Rowley is not exempted.

  4. Nicole I thought so too. I figured we might even learn something from what offended people and what doesn’t.
    But the political rallying makes it very difficult to have a genuine talk about almost any matter.

  5. I’m getting very disappointed of all this propaganda….. my goodness….. really….. I now getting to realize why so many people do not have Facebook accounts. That is because too much propaganda and hate is shared ….nah man

  6. I wonder how much of a pass Rowley or Kamla would’ve got if they had made similar statements as Trump does?

  7. Missed the interview and initial outrage but the commentary here has been really interesting.

  8. trinis are very convenient ….get used to their mind set

  9. That is the action of a Preditor, the Woman is married ..

  10. This is a.typical politically motivated and biased. question aimed at painting Dr.Rowley (and by extension all black men) as uncontrollable sexual beasts.Its racially biased and tries to demonize Dr.Rowley as a black man who cannot control himself from the “pretty fragile woman”.It reeks of pro-UNC nationalist marketing propaganda when they labelled him as “growley” and urged men to hide their women and children.

  11. Soooo my point in this question is the question is misleading…how does offering a reporter a drink lead to a discussion on sexually inappropriate behaviour? How does sexually even arise???

    • Nigel, you wouldn’t have missed the fact that this conversation has already started. Clearly the question doesn’t draw a conclusion. It just asks people to discuss in a mature way. But that seems to have been an overestimation of what is possible in this climate.
      Say you see no inappropriate behavior. My hope was that you would give your view as to what elements need to be there for it to be inappropriate. And maybe speak about our own culture as far as women in the workplace go and gender affairs.
      But maybe if the person who sparks this talk was a manager at KFC then conversation would be possible. So many Trinis see red whenever either of the two major political parties are mentioned.

    • Nothing to do with Red…My point is a man offering drinks to a woman in this context can lead to a discussion about inappropriateness..fine…to tie that to a discussion about sexually appropriate behaviour in the workplace to me at least is a bit of a stretch. It implies a man offering a woman drinks denotes sexual motive. And worst yet Faine’s comments on this said article even makes that stretch wider. Can we have a national discussion sure. It has been ongoing for months here and across the globe.

    • Men have been socialised (ironically often time by there every mothers) to see as “normal” sexually inappropriate behaviour with women. I think it will be eye opening if a camera was shown of all our lives we would fine ourselves at fault for things at the time we saw as no big deal. That also has to be part of the discussion the socially ingrained norms and how do we treat with that. Men are not genetically bred that way and there are societies where these incidences are minimal simply because the socialisation of men is far different. Once we men, society, parents et al accept our role in these incidences that have scarred many a woman over time then change will begin to happen.

    • Definitely Nigel. The term “sexual harassment” can be loose btw as most times sex isn’t explicitly offered. Chris Gayle didn’t ask the female Australian reporter for sex either. He asked her for drinks and complimented about her looks. He later apologised.
      My own opinion is that Rowley did not offend and did not cross the line into being gender inappropriate. Whether it was the right time and place for that quip is another story.
      But if this gets people talking about what should and shouldn’t be permissible then no problem. And you gave some good suggestions in your comment above.
      That’s definitely the conversation we need to have sooner or later.

    • I dont think Chris Gayle sexually harassed anyone, he was sexist and inappropriate…I just think in the now era anything a man says to a woman now somehow goes back to sexual intentions…because we dont look at each case by itself it always goes back to “men for decades have been…” and predicated on that so now all and sundry are guilty from the jump. Will an honest discussion be had from both sides? Maybe not….

    • A former deputy speaker in England tried to kiss a woman and she declined. He pulled away and that was that. He ended up being charge for sexual assault and even attempted rape! He won but it goes to show…
      http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-26974975

    • Really Lasana Liburd that is like comparing cheese and chalk…how the hell offering someone a drink in this instance is sexual harassment.. No its called hospitality and having manners…steups

    • Jashmin, calm down… take a deep breath… It is not meant to be a comparison. It is an example of how sexual harassment can be perplexing. Nigel understands. But some people are just rushing in to defend their flag.

    • It’s also about knowing when to be professional…when to ‘let your hair down’…its not what you do it’s how you do it. But as you said Lasana Liburd that’s another discussion. It’s eminent that this would have sparked a discussion of some kind because it has been the theme internationally for some time now. Great point of views.

    • Hmmm…. to compare the scenario of an Mp kissing a woman and one offering someone a drink and to place both on the same level as sexual harassment leaves me to really wonder what was the real purpose behind this…..was it to spark a discussion as was stated or was it to maligned someone’s character ..again you missed it…you see my response is not about defending the flag …( again pandering to the gullible ) its about integrity.

    • Jashmin Sandy Lasana can take win with this one. Shakespeare knew us human beings well when he said: Much Ado about NOTHING. Must go and re-read my old Literature books – I’m sure I’ll find more ‘food for thought’ there, now that I’m witnessing the truisms found in those old books.

  12. Someone forgot what happened with gayle brought up drinks

  13. Just now in the not to distant future, women may start to complain that men no longer speak with them far less compliment them. Cause everything said is now taken out of context and interpreted as sexual harassment. There will be no more conversations about sex, period.

    • Steve St Louis you are so correct the days when men compliment women about their appearance is over, and all those women who dress in particular way had better think again

    • There are definitely times when remarks on appearance are inappropriate. There are definitely times when a compliment is not appreciated nor relevant.

      Conversations about sex are inappropriate whenever you don’t know the person you’re talking to, and know they are open to discussion. Period.

      There, now you have a clear guideline as to when you may talk sex with women. Is that too much?

    • Steve, you are far closer to the point than most. In some cases, it is straightforward like Christine said. But the thing is harassment is about how the woman interprets the message too.
      So something that would be harassment to one woman won’t be to another. That’s what makes it such an important talk to have as we try to find a safe space in the future.

    • And therin lies the problem. It is not universal or general agreement that sex conversations are inappropriate whenever you don’t know the person to whom you speak. So ah wonder who were the people that were aggressively trying to get the ministry of education to introduce sex education in schools?. So the persons or bandleaders that are giving out condoms for carnival with your costumes are being disrespectful? Thats why i believe the conversations are important, because there are no clear guidelines. Your opinion is respected Christine but i don’t know if you are speaking on behalf of the wider community.

    • The hypocrisy of my fellow trinis. Especially the females.

    • This is Chris Gayle’s comment to the Aussie 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.”
      For some, textbook sexual harassment. For others, a perfect fine pass that the girl can either accept or not.
      I’d say we all need a lesson on what is appropriate behaviour and what isn’t. Because the downside is a significant portion of the country’s workforce might be subjected to things they should not be.
      And I’m pretty certain every group of men on the planet over 50 could do with a workshop.
      Although judging by some comments, Trinis have all the answers already.

  14. How he win elections in the first place?????

  15. And in other news, a man who demanded fellatio from a woman in exchange for a govt house and who grabbed a flight attendent breast while drunk is still the chairman of a regional corperation in this country.

  16. Anthony Elias Garvin Walters, the stage was set for this type of accusations when in 2015 the UNC set out to paint a picture of Dr Rowley as a lecherous man, we must not forget how they vilified his dead parents who could not defend themselves beyond the grave,they also got women to come forward and make wild allegations, who could every forget Madame Butterfly, the Journalist who claimed that he looked at the tattoo. I never forgot the statement by former Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding in the Dudus Coke matter when he was accused of harbouring Coke. He said that when certain accusations are made against you even if you seek redress in the courts and is successful, the accusations form part of your DNA. Well this is exactly what they set out to do.

  17. Oh god please why do you all hate this man so geez

  18. Maybe u should read Faines response higher up in the thread. This is not an ISSUE as some ppl would have it.

  19. #bobsledding did the Nigerian girls place?

  20. This mountain that people are trying to construct out of a molehill, does it have caves big enough for me to crawl inside and live out the rest of my days?
    #take_me_away_from_here
    #humans #much_ado_about_nothing

  21. Lasana, just reading some of the comments on the website and boi, people real vex, but they have short memories

  22. Juhel and I were both offered drinks, during and after the interview. Ultimately none were supplied or consumed. But the offer was collective! This thing has been so deliberately misconstrued.

    • Thank you for clearing up this madness before it becomes Breaking News in this Small Island State.

    • But Faine, you were asking the question and he was responding to you. He looked directly at you…but whatever

    • Thank you Faine, these people and their one track mind.

    • Savitri Maharaj, as I said, the offer was repeated to the entire production crew when the shoot was done. We were having a three-way conversation.

    • Faine I saw people were sharing a lot of opinions on this and so I repeated what was said verbatim to see if it was possible to have a sensible discussion on it—IF anyone saw anything worth discussing.
      Who is deliberately misconstruing what happened?

    • Ok Faine, so the public didn’t see the private convo after the filming. I saw it in the interview and was 👀🙄

    • Savitri Maharaj you all real desperate boy. The person in question ( Ms Richards) nowwwww say it was repeated for all and she was not offended but u wanna insists that the pm disrespect her smh

    • Dada Pierre. He now realize they were made asses by their own party, so he’s in denial

    • They continue to grasp at so many straws by now they could start to weave yellow baskets, Geez what dishonest people. They reAlly expect to be taken seriously

    • Dianne Joseph they’re nasty and dangerous. Very well known for propaganda, because the gullible latch on to it, every time they spew it.

    • Dianne Joseph you know UNC gone desperate when they’re trying to tell the woman who was there, she witness what happened wrong :/

    • Why can’t they just say: “hey! I made a stupid mistake, I’m sorry” and move on? There is something to be said for those who can commit no wrong, nor can they accept when they have done wrong and can find no way to apology …

    • From some of the comments here, the PM was also right in calling some of you hyenas. Lasana, you have a great following

    • Savitry Maharaj needs to do something else with her life other than trolling FB to malign the PM and PNM. #getAlife

    • There is a mass slaying in Las Vegas and what happens next? The talk becomes one of gun laws. This is really not about Rowley or Faine. The exchange is just a segue way into another conversation we need to have one day. And that is what is and isn’t permissible between men and women in the workplace. The way the topic was framed intentionally doesn’t cast any aspersions. It just invites people to give an opinion.
      But a lot of people are not prepared to look past the personalities involved or wrongly think this is some kind of political attack.

    • Apart from interview being a hott mess on the part of Keith Rowley, I don’t think that offer should have been done on-camera. Unless the camera and editing folks were deliberately trying to depict the man as wholly inappropriate, it was uncouth for me.

    • I would not be as a leader of a country making offers of drinks to the Press on camera. Where in the flecking world does that happen?

    • and i think if they edited it out they would run the risk of being accused of making the Prime Minister’s image their business. And their job really is just to give us the best possible understanding of our Prime Minister and his plans.

    • I’m sure they took liberty with other parts of editing the video. But anyway, doesn’t the PM have a communications aide that can tell him what to do and how to adjust his behaviour? It is really mind-boggling.

    • You ever see Theresa May, Barack Obama, David Cameron, or any Prime Minister of a major country offer drinks to the Media anytime… why is it we have to be backayard and seem so ill-behaved? And this is what people think is part of “our culture” and so strongly defending?

    • Keston, Lasana, did you guys read the comments on this thread? See the nastiness and racism that stops us from progressing

    • Keston and Lasana, I don’t think the interview was edited, this is what Faine said above ^^^^^^ “….the offer was repeated to the entire production crew when the shoot was done. We were having a three-way conversation.”

    • Keston, this is what I’ve been saying. I’d never expect other world leaders to say what Dr. Rowley said on that interview. He is supposed to be a statesman, but maybe that’s too much to ask in my sweet T&T.

      (By the way, I don’t weave yellow baskets. I don’t understand why this issue is being made political by party sycophants. It’s very sad how racist people are being and letting party politics cloud their judgement.)

    • So Shurland James Jr. What is the criteria for one to be a true statesman and how does that come into question in this case.

    • So Faine Richards cleared the air and people are still trying to make something out of nothing. This is pure madness!

    • Dr. Rowley has made many statements which show him to have a crass attitude towards women. For example, his statement about women and grooming. The snippet of conversation with Mrs. Richards is definitely par for the course for our PM.

      There is no way a proper statement says “A woman is like a golf course, if you don’t groom it, it turns into a pasture.” Can you think of ANY world leader who would say something so ridiculous?

      Oh, and Dwayne, as criteria, I’d start with having respect for every citizen, man or woman.

    • Wait so showing hospitality and manners is now sexual harassment.. Then I should burn my bloody law books..because I clearly missed something in law school..on the contrary I need to remember we are dealing with numerous brain dead people in this country…yawning..steups..

    • No Lasana Liburd you are desperately looking for relevance from the gullible….propagandist

    • Jashmin, I can tell you are an expert on hospitality and good manners eh. Your post proves it. Lol.
      As for what you may or may not have missed in law school, I’m too polite to be critical. Thanks for stopping by to share your wisdom. It didn’t take long. Thanks for the effort.

    • Guess you character Mr Lasana Liburd is impeccable. Its shows from your article and many others..hmmm what a case of pot calling the kettle black. At least i said what i had to without being pretentious. Guess integrity in business does not rank very high for some people..all about the cheap sale..hmmm

    • Jashmin Sandy, the price of my integrity is something you also missed during law school? Lol. You are very loose with accusations for someone who claims to have attended law school. But, like you said, there might be some things you missed there eh. 😉

    • “Does Rowley’s offer of a drink to Faine merit a national discussion”..hummum…” on what is permissible old talk in the work place”..try proving that as grounds for sexual harassment ..take it to wordford square at least no order for cost will be made there..lol

    • In our culture it is not common to have a glass of wine (alcoholic) with a meal whether casually or on business but in several cultures across the world it is the norm to have a glass of red or white wine with one’s meal ( lunch or dinner) and offering to get someone such is neither inappropriate. In fact it may even be considered impolite to declined the offer……so i am wondering why this warrant a national discussion and inappropriate when one of the persons to whom this offer was made said otherwise..

    • Jashmin, you’re absolutely correct that culture does play a role. And as I said, what is permissible in France might not be in England.
      So we have to consider what is our marker here. And it would be wise for us to do so BEFORE we get into trouble.
      And for the record, I never said Rowley sexually harassed Faine. I said the opposite.
      What I did say is that the furore about the topic might be an opening to begin a talk about what we think is acceptable and what is isn’t.
      Some people took the cue and shared their opinions on the wider topic. Others didn’t. It is fine either way.

    • Keston K. Perry France, England …Thailand…could name others

    • Savitri Maharaj you are really really trying and trying to see something when nothing is there….sad

    • England? I live in England. Never seen that. It was also rhetorical.

  23. The headline starts with “Discussion”. Clearly, it’s not news. It’s meant to start a conversation. Do some people think at all before typing?

    • I just shake my head sometimes…

    • But the comments are conversations… there was also a preamble by the author so the comments are within context I reckon…it sends a msg that people saw no problem with what was said to the journalist and maybe it’s being blown out of proportion …I’m not sure what were the comments you was hoping for but an analysis can be drawn from them..my analysis based on the comments is that it’s a none issue…so quit trying to play smart with foolishness by asking if people think before they type..the comments are their views which is a discussion., like you wanted a panel discussion with a moderator on a social media platform.. you should’ve think and contextualize the article and not the headline before trying to attack the bloggers

    • And I quote one Kevin below: “This is news?? Really? Stueps”

    • Not sure you mean I should have contextualized the article. It’s not much of an article. It’s just welcoming a conversation (which is my point). But I think I get your point too. However, If you don’t think something is worth discussing, then why not keep out of the conversation instead of dictating to others what’s worth discussing? You read it all the time, “DIs is news?!?!?” when it’s not meant to be. So, once it doesn’t suit your agenda or taste, it shouldn’t be discussed?

    • Wendell if you read the comments on the article itself you would see a range of opinions. The best ones come from people who are not playing politics but genuinely discussing the issue, which is: what they think is and isn’t permissible in the workplace, what should it should or should not be, and what responsibility does a leader have when he speaks in a world that is suddenly very energized about issues of gender relations.
      Right now, people are redefining what is or isn’t appropriate on a daily basis and all over the world men are scrambling to keep up and soak it all in.
      Who knew so many people here have all the answers though. We should be exporting counsellors by the hundreds I think.

      • I didn’t think he was offering her drinks but he was being disrespectful in not answering her question and treating it as trivia. If she does not feel that, it reflects on the expectations and self-image of TT journalists and the low esteem in which they hold their own work. I was quite disgusted by Rowley’s behaviour, but not in a sexual sense. However, I commend Lasana on trying to have a discussion on the subtleties of the sexual harassment issue. I think it’s a very difficult one to tease out, particularly in the Trini context.

  24. Trinidad & Tobago’s very own Donald Trump. Poor Keith, always being attacked for no good reason. 🙁

  25. Lasana Liburd , boy yuh eh like de blackest man in T&T , the bestest PM in the world , yuh is ah racicst an all , Rowliar never tell ah lie in he life , he never disrespect ah woman in he life yet , ah never see he wine up on no underaged child yet and blushing fuh a big ole hard face hard back ole geriactric , ah never hear him tackling no reporter live on air program , buh Lasana how they saying de man like to groom young gyul , an he likes tuh call dem Jammetry an ting boy , dey lying Lasana ….dey lying on de ole man boy !

    • Lalbeharry YOU calling people racist??Hahahahahaha..bwoy I gonna get some.of the comments I screen shot of YOU calling people n*gga

    • Thompson West you illiterate dunce , read my comments then make your illiterate sycotic comments , my post was directed at Mr Lasana Liburd and not your illterate incompetent self , go ahead and try your best to go back in my profile history and see how much racicst rants of you can dig up , I know your issue is with my highlighting the true Rowliar , and the truth and reality about stink man Rowley pains you , but as I always say , a Pnm sycotic sycophant stooge never cares about the country ….only about the Pnm party and how much money they can tief !

  26. I just made cookies.real news my children are adults.

  27. And how is the weather in Trinidad

  28. So….the PM used a public interview on national TV to make an attempt at sexual harassment??hmmmm

  29. Steups! Another saga. Mega issues for discussions, but we choose to make THIS the topic of discussion.

  30. Shiva Boys is the National Intercol Chams now this is news

  31. Haul allyuh mother country with this shit

  32. Jamaica came 7th in Bob Sled team in The world competition in Germany..

  33. Steups clearly it’s a slow news day

  34. You all are now losing your mind.Hospitality is not a thing of the past for some people.with home training.

  35. Allyuh whole modus operandi is trying to discredit the black man,allyuh Prime Minister,do wah allyuh want,Prime Minister,black man,

  36. Steups he not on her. Allyuh just fishing now, steups.

  37. It is stupid,so many serious issues,when will grow up?

  38. Hence: back to this thread…a meta post