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Dear Editor: Anil Roberts’ behaviour was appalling; what manner of man is this?

“[…] Mr Anil Roberts, from his demeanour in the video, seemed to have taken a particular delight in his very unsavoury comments. Where is the milk of human kindness? What manner of man is this? 

“[…] I do not feel that a politician should stoop so low with respect to his attack publicly on someone who is not in the political gayelle…”

The following Letter to the Editor regarding comments made by UNC Senator Anil Roberts on alleged matters concerning the relationship between Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and his wife Sharon Rowley was submitted to Wired868 by Louis W Williams of St Augustine:

Photo: UNC Senator Anil Roberts.
(Copyright Office of the Parliament 2022)

It is generally accepted, globally, that the cut and thrust of politics, to say the very least, bears little resemblance to a bishop’s tea party. However, it is also generally accepted that certain matters are out of bounds. 

One such matter is the dragging of persons who are not active in the political arena into the political gayelle. In mature democracies that principle is respected. Of course, Donald Trump is the exception that proves the rule. 

However, in accordance with this ethical principle/standard, the spouses and children of politicians are off limits, unless they themselves descend into the political arena and/or are involved in some corrupt activity.

It is against this background that I was appalled by what, in my view, was a very unbecoming attack on Mrs Sharon Rowley, the wife of the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, by Senator Anil Roberts—in a recent video that was widely circulated online. 

Photo: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley (right) and his wife Sharon Rowley.

Mr Roberts, from his demeanour in the video, seemed to have taken a particular delight in his very unsavoury comments. Where is the milk of human kindness? What manner of man is this? 

No doubt this matter might find its way into the courts by way of a defamation lawsuit. Nonetheless, I do not feel that a politician should stoop so low with respect to his attack publicly on someone who is not in the political gayelle.

Contrary to the views of some of his defenders, this is not a matter of his right to free speech, but rather it is a question of common decency. Are we really so immature politically that Donald Trump has nothing on us? This matter is also not analogous to the Room 201 scandal, which allegedly involved a then active politician.

There is no wiggle room for Mr Roberts. He has no option but to resign, or if he fails to do so then his senatorial appointment must be revoked by the Leader of the Opposition.

Photo: UNC Senator Anil Roberts.
(via UNC)

I would hope that the UNC would not want to be viewed as complicit in this sordid misadventure of Mr Roberts, by allowing him to retain his senatorial appointment.

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6 comments

  1. Luthando, I still do not know what you think about Mr. Roberts’ comments on Mrs. Rowley who is not a politician.

    Do you think that it was appropriate for Mr. Roberts to make such comments and, if so, why?

    The attack by Mr. Roberts on Mrs Rowley was not your garden variety platform political picong, an indirect allusion or passing reference to a fellow politician, even as offensive as that might be.

    This was a highly personal, unprovoked, well-prepared, and studied attack against someone who is not a politician.

    Luthando, I look forward to hearing and learning from you.

    I have in previous letters to the editor indicated that I thought that Dr. Rowley could have handled certain matters differently, and I have also had concerns about the language he had used in addressing certain matters.

    Given our multi-cultural/multi-ethnic society, inclusive of regional differences, our politicians have to be very careful about the language they use. Nonetheless, I accept that they will not always get it right.

    The “kyat” statement by Dr. Rowley, during the 2015 general elections campaign, I dare say, was viewed as being very offensive by most Trinidadians. However, it is a hackneyed old Tobago saying that has nothing to do with any sexual allusion/innuendo. Those of us who have Tobago roots, at least via family connections, know that it’s usage was commonplace in Tobago, in times past, but is no longer vogue.

    Even one of Dr. Rowley’s very bitter political opponents who is a Tobagonian, at the time expressed dismay at how the statement was interpreted by Trinidadians. Some older Tobagonians were also very upset by the response of Trinidadians, and took umbrage to the fact that an innocuous Tobago saying could be interpreted in such a lewd and vulgar manner by Trinidadians. It was an affront to the the very Christian influence of the Methodists and 7th Day Adventists Churches in Tobago.

    In my view, although the PNM, at that time, defended the statement along the lines adumbrated above, it did not vigorously pursue the matter as, strategically, it did not want the matter to become a welcome distraction by those persons opposed to it and, as a consequence, derail its campaign.

    The other statement by Dr. Rowley where he compared a woman to a “golf course” was a rather clumsy attempt to say like Sparrow did in his 1960s hit calypso ( the title may have been “treat she nice”) that a man should treat his woman nice by ensuring that she is loved, cared for and supported each and every day (“groomed”?), and she would reciprocate. Dr. Rowley was not being original.

    Given, I suppose, his age, he had not taken into account that the word, “groom”, now has a very negative sexual connotation. Moreover, Dr. Rowley’s simile whereby he compared a woman to a “golf course” would be viewed, in modern times, as not a term of endearment, which is what I think he intended to convey, but as an expression of the desire of some very unscrupulous men to dominate and exploit women for their own sexual gratification.

    We, the older generation, hear the young people saying all of the time that some of us habitually disrespect them, and we do not fully understand what they mean, because we are from a different time and place.

    We have to get with the programme.

    Louis W. Williams
    St. Augustine

  2. “I go ignore she kyat”
    “a woman is like a golf course you have to groom her every day”
    Selective outrage is the PNM’s game

  3. Stephen, it is very obvious to me that you and Mr. Roberts deserve each other.

    You have no respect for the women of our nation. Your reference to the women associated with the PNM as the “fat a**e brigade” is crass, grossly insulting and highly offensive.

    In this day and age, I thought that we had gone past those references of an unenlightened time in our history.

    What do you, Stephen, tell the young people in your inner circle? Is this how we are going to build a nation together?

    Come on, Stephen, you are better than that!

    By what warped logic, Stephen, is what Mr. Roberts said about Mrs. Rowley not an attack on her and, according to you, just “the opposite”? How absurd!

    Stephen, you have missed my point entirely about the appropriate ethical/moral standards and conventions which politicians are obigated to uphold in any democracy worth its salt.

    I have stated before, in previous letters to the editor, that our school curriculum needs to cater for age-appropriate modules on government and political studies, as many of our citizens do not have a clue as to what are the appropriate standards of behaviour to be expected from our politicians.

    As a consequence, we often enough select politicians, some of whom are little more than guttersnipes, to serve in our Parliament.

    But, Stephen, why am I not surprised by your comments.

    Character maketh a man.

    I need say no more!

    Louis W. Williams
    St. Augustine

  4. Clearly you have not been paying attention to the jammetry being spoken by Rowlie and the fat arse brigade. Anil never attacked Sharon, he was doing the opposite. Sharon being an attorney can defend herself. Have you seen the video of Failgerald and persons applying for state lands. Talk about that !!!

  5. Why do we continue to expect better of this bunch of miscreants? If you think this is bad you ain’t see nothing yet. It is sheer desperation, as that day of reckoning draws closer.