Mickela Panday on Robinson-Regis, Kamla’s name-calling spat: ‘Rise above your egos’

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Housing Minister and Arouca/Maloney MP Camille Robinson-Regis –

VISHANNA PHAGOO

Former UNC MP Mickela Panday is calling on politicians to stop making divisive remarks and focus on the needs of the country.

“Politicians need to rise above their egos and address issues,” Panday said on Saturday.

She was responding to Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s remarks that government minister Camille Robinson-Regis has the name of a “slave master”. Persad-Bissessar was hitting back at Robinson-Regis for calling out her full name – Kamla Susheila Persad-Bissessar – during a PNM meeting last week where she criticised her for accusing the PNM of being a party of paedophiles in an ongoing debate on how allegations of abuse at children’s homes have been handled based on two reports: the 1997 Robert Sabga report and the December 2021 Justice Judith Jones report.

Mickela Panday, former UNC Oropouche West MP –

Panday, the daughter of UNC founder and former prime minister Basdeo Panday, who served as the Oropouche West MP and now leads the Patriotic Front, when asked to comment said, “So what if they say something, they say something, they say things everyday and the diversion is not what we need right now. We need to find solutions to problems people are having in this country.”

Temporary UNC senator Marsha Walker, asked what she thought about her political leader’s remarks, while on a walkabout in the PNM-controlled Arima constituency Saturday said, “Do I think Persad-Bissessar should have ignored her? Maybe. But, sometimes bullies need a good dose of their own medicine.”

In a subsequent WhatsApp message, she added that what Persad-Bissessar said was factual and her way of taking a stand.

In response to Robinson-Regis, Persad-Bissessar, at a meeting last Thursday, said, “Stop calling my name! What you so vex about my name for? This lady went on a platform last week and three or four times ‘Kamla Susheila Persad-Bissessar.’ Isn’t that a beautiful name? What problem you have with my name? Camille, at least I have a name from my ancestors, where you got yours from? Your name is that of a slave master.”

UNC deputy leader Jearlean John, also asked to comment on Saturday, said, “Your name is your identity,” and when someone sets out to demean that, it can cause pain.

When asked if she felt the response was appropriate, she said, “She (Persad-Bissessar) responded.” John then said her goodbyes and hung up.

Economist Marla Dukharan has since created a petition called, Remove Kamla Sushila Persad-Bissessar from the Parliament of TT.

Opposition and UNC leader Kamla Persad-Bisessar during a recent meeting in Couva, –

The petition read, “The Opposition Leader, Kamla Susheila Persad-Bissessar, recently stated on a political platform in TT ‘At least I have a name from my ancestors. Where you got yours from? Your name is that of a slave master!’ Racism has NO PLACE in our country, ‘where every creed and race finds an equal place.’ She needs to go. And everyone who shares her racist views need to get a clear message that this behaviour will not be tolerated in TT. It ends now.”

On Saturday at around 5.55 pm, that petition had over 900 signatures and was growing steadily.

The Emancipation Support Committee TT (ESCTT), in a statement on Facebook on Friday, said leaders represent the society and must be responsible in what they say to the public.

“At our time of writing, we at the ESCTT do not know what in the repeated calling of the Opposition Leader’s name by Robinson-Regis, led to Persad-Bissessar’s response which disparaged Robinson-Regis for having a name that does not reflect her African heritage.”