Minority Leader: THA Chief Sec must say sorry to senior citizens

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

THA Minority Leader Kelvon Morris – File photo by David Reid

THA MINORITY LEADER Kelvon Morris is calling on Chief Secretary Farley Augustine to apologise to the senior citizens of Tobago.

At a Tobago People’s Party (TPP) political meeting in Speyside on March 17, Augustine, addressing the island’s push for greater autonomy, urged young people to play a more active role in the conversation.

“Some of those who are knocking on their casket doors should not be leading the conversation. You should lead the conversation,” he told the gathering.

In a statement on March 22, Morris urged Augustine to “cease from making these senseless attacks on our senior citizens.” He also called for a formal apology “retracting his statements and giving the assurance that his general behaviour would not reflect the integrity and sanctity of the position which he now holds.”

Morris said he noted with mounting concern the “continued abrasive and abusive behaviours of the current Chief Secretary towards our Tobago elders and pioneers, who have spent their productive years building Tobago and paving the way for the next generation of Tobagonians.”

On Augustine’s comment at Speyside, he said, “This uncouth Chief Secretary attacked all senior citizens throughout Tobago when he said, ‘This fight is not for those who knocking on their casket door.’”

The Darrel Spring/Whim assemblyman said such “senseless outbursts are becoming all too consistent.” Morris recalled Augustine made a similar statement in the Assembly Legislature some time ago when he declared,”Seniors should go home and take care of their grandchildren and sap their knees with alcohol instead of trying to take jobs from young people.”

He said this behaviour was “simply unacceptable and should not be left unchecked,” especially as he said one of Augustine’s colleagues had said at Speyside that: “Respect goes horizontal and should be mutual.”

Morris said Augustine’s “rants” had again proved he was unfit to lead the people of Tobago. “Our seniors represent the lifeblood of this nation and it is their sacrifices, efforts and commitment to this country’s development that have put us in a respectable position regionally and internationally.”

Earlier this week, Innovative Democratic Alliance (IDA) political leader Dr Denise Tsoiafatt Angus also criticised Augustine’s remarks about the elderly at the meeting.

She called on him to show the statesmanship the people of Tobago expected from their leaders.

“It is disheartening to witness such disrespectful behaviour from a public official, particularly when his own councillor, Orlando Kerr, who on the same platform chided the Prime Minister for being disrespectful, emphasised the importance of mutual respect among officeholders by giving due respect to the Prime Minister and his office in a very deliberate way.

“Disrespect should never be tolerated and bullying tactics have no place in our democracy,” Tsoiafatt Angus had said.