Gonzales: Some politicians talk about colleagues in ‘most degrading form’

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Minister of Public Utilities Marvin Gonzales. –

MP for Lopinot/Bon Air West Marvin Gonzales says that people in this country must improve when it comes to the way they speak about each other. This, he said, includes politicians who sometimes speak about their colleagues in “the most degrading form.”

He was speaking at a joint select committee on finance and legal affairs on Friday. The meeting’s focus was on the Equal Opportunities Commission.

Gonzales said the concept of rebuilding a civilisation of love in TT is critical, adding that all institutions of society has a role to play.

He said it begins with the family as well as the community and how people refer to each other.

“…Our churches, our schools – all of these institutions must play a role.”

In recent years, he said, there has been significant progress when it comes to accessibility for differently-abled people in public.

However, he said there’s still “a lot of room for improvement.

“It requires all hands on deck.”

He urged on public officials to also be aware of their role.

“You hear persons who are political figures inside the Parliament of TT speaking about each other in the most degrading form, and we are not persons with disabilities but the way in which we speak to each other and talk about each other on our social media platforms, you can’t believe these are people who are sitting in the Parliament of TT. And that is where it starts.”

He continued, “Then one can only imagine how sad and how different it is for our citizens who are differently-abled.”

On his comment that sitting Parliamentarians aren’t people with disabilities, the committee’s chairman Hazel Thompson-Ahye reminded Gonzales that the term differently-abled does not strictly refer to someone with physical challenges. Sometimes, she said, it is psychological.

“So don’t think you ought to look and see somebody physically challenged. It is not always that way.”

She suggested that, in the way it’s done for judges, politicians may possibly need to undergo psychometric testing.

Gonzales agreed and said, “I’m sure, because many of them would not be – or many of us would not be sitting where we are sitting right now.”