IDA wants THA Minority Leader, Education Secretary to apologise for offensive remarks

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

THA Minority leader Kelvon Morris – JEFF K MAYERS

Tobago’s newest political party, the Innovative Democratic Alliance (IDA), wants THA Minority Leader Kelvon Morris and Secretary of Education, Research and Technology Zorisha Hackett to apologise to each other and Tobagonians for recent public comments which have been described as sexist and offensive.

The IDA said their comments revealed what it called the “naivety of youthful leadership.”

In a statement issued by the party’s PRO Kaye Trotman on Thursday, the IDA described as “distasteful,” Morris’ response to Hackett’s handling of the issues surrounding the Pentecostal Light and Life Foundation.

“His comments implying her being a fashionable individual as contributing to her inability to perform her functions is an apparent sexist remark since one wonders if the same would have been said of a male counterpart exhibiting the same behaviour,” the party said.

“We recently celebrated International Women’s Day 2022 with the theme, Break the Bias, yet here we are in one of the highest offices in our workspace on the island displaying biases we should be dispelling.

“The question is asked of the minority leader, ‘Where was your emotional intelligence to guide you into not making such an unforced error?’ There must have been more appropriate words and expressions to get your point across. Giving into cheap rhetoric for political mileage is not the trait of an inspiring leader.”

Of even greater concern, the IDA said, is the disingenuous nature of Morris’ comments pointing to Hackett’s incompetence as the reason for all Tobago schools not being ready for reopening on time on April 19, although they were closed for two years (during the pandemic), which would have given enough time for remedial works to be done.

THA Secretary for Education, Research and Technology Zorisha Hackett.

“While indeed the issue falls squarely within the ambit of the current secretary to resolve at this time, let us not forget that for more than 19 months of the 24 months highlighted by the minority leader, he was part of the former administration that did not seem to address the issue.”

“It is truly dishonest and duplicitous to take a position of moral outrage on a matter that you are also complicit in. Remember, as a leader you are showing the way for others to follow.”

The IDA also criticised Hackett for her inability or refusal to manage and mitigate the explosive response of her mother in her defence.

“While one can understand a mother in defence of her child, of greater significance is the fact that given the elevation of her daughter to political office, by association the mother of the Secretary of Education, Research and Technology now finds herself on the public radar under more public scrutiny than before. Therefore, much more is expected of her.

“Crudeness and vulgarity are very unbecoming generally, but more so for someone in her position. An awareness and understanding of this is a matter that should be astutely managed by the Secretary. Remember, your leadership imprints on all in your sphere of influence.”

The IDA reminded Morris and Hackett that they have entered an era in which more is expected and demanded of leaders.

The party said Tobagonians are no longer willing to sit idly by and let its leaders charge ahead without accountability.

“To the new cadre of leaders within the political spectrum, remember to whom much is given much is expected and that with great power comes great responsibility. Let us chart a new course of political dialogue that is worthy of our engagement as a people desirous of manifesting and entrenching long-term social, political and economic changes.”