“[…] In less than five years, former Minister of Sport Darryl Smith moved from being fired for interfering in the public service while still being actively investigated for sexual harassment to being proclaimed among the recognized fathers of our land.
“[…] What is the message being sent to men in power and influence? Is it that the newspaper searched far and wide and could not find a father with a tidier reputation, or is this an effort to reboot his public career? […]”
The following Letter to the Editor on a Trinidad Guardian op-ed on Father’s Day by controversial former Minister of Sport Darryl Smith was submitted to Wired868 by Dennise Demming, who is an ex-TDC chair and member of the HOPE political party:
My eyes popped when I read one newspaper’s celebration of former Minister of Sport Darryl Smith as a distinguished father on Father’s Day.
My mind went back to the time when our current Prime Minister publicly clarified why he fired Darryl Smith as a Minister of Sport. He was clear that the firing was not because of “allegations of sexual harassment” but because he interfered “improperly in the public service”.
In less than five years, Darryl Smith moved from being fired for interfering in the public service while still being actively investigated for sexual harassment to being proclaimed among the recognized fathers of our land.
Transformation is possible but this is so amazing that maybe he should be appointed as our transformational minister, at a time when our country needs a major transformation to survive.
Did the editors consider the life of Carrie-Ann Moreau who made the sexual harassment complaint against the former sport minister?
One newspaper article noted that the woman wanted to go public but could not because of the non-disclosure agreement (NDA) that secured her silence. It was also reported that she received $150,000 following her dismissal from the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs.
This Darryl Smith furore worsened when Folade Mutota, head of the Women’s Institute for Alternative Development (WINAD) and a member of the committee appointed to investigate the Darryl Smith matter, accused Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and then-Attorney General Faris Al Rawi of “actively engaging in the silencing and public disregard of the work of women, as it relates to the Darryl Smith inquiry”.
Mutota called their actions “shameful, reprehensible, misogynistic, and an attack on women’s agency and women’s right to challenge injustice and to be heard”.
She further commented:
“It is an example of the ease with which public service, with hasty utterances by men in positions of power and decision making, can be converted into public shaming of women. It is the story of how misogyny actively seeks to make women invisible, without value, and attempts to impose victimhood on women regardless of our many accomplishments.”
I am curious about the intentions behind highlighting Darryl Smith. What is the message being sent to men in power and influence?
Is it that the newspaper searched far and wide and could not find a father with a tidier reputation, or is this an effort to reboot his public career?
Father’s Day should be dedicated to honoring fathers who have positively impacted their families and society while fostering an environment that encourages respect, equality, and accountability. It is through these values that we can strive for a society where every individual, regardless of gender, feels safe, respected, and valued.
Recognizing someone with a tarnished reputation like Darryl Smith as a role model for fatherhood can be seen as problematic and sends conflicting messages.