UNC women protest against food prices, crime in Penal

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Members of the UNC women’s arm protest against high food prices and other social issues outside the Penal market on Saturday. Photo courtesy UNC women’s arm. –

KNOCKING empty pots and pans with spoons, while chanting “Rowley must go” the women’s arm of the United National Congress (UNC) staged a noisy protest outside the Penal Market on Saturday morning.

Hundreds of women dressed in black raised their voices in unison as they protested against increasing food prices, crime, and what they termed the collapse of democracy under Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley whom they described as a dictator.

Pushing empty trolleys to indicate their inability to purchase food, one woman on a loud speaker, bellowed, “rice”, to which the crowd responded, “we can’t afford.”

“Flour – we can’t afford. Sugar – we can’t afford.”

Basic items were identified with the same rejoinder as St Augustine MP Khadijah Ameen reminded them that these and other items were VAT-free under the Kamla Persad-Bissessar PP administration, but under the PNM administration, “Rowley and Imbert has replaced VAT on these items.”

She said an outright no to an increase in the price of gas at the pump as global prices soar amidst the invasion of Russia into Ukraine. She said because “Rowley sold out Petrotrin” the people of “this oil-producing nation were suffering.”

“Rowley is a disgrace to TT. Rowley must go.”

The call was echoed by UNC deputy leader Jearlean John who told the female protesters they had the power to make a difference and must use that power to shut down the country.

She noted prices were increasing while salaries were decreasing or taken away completely.

“If we don’t have money we can’t give love. No woman, no cry. No money, no love for Rowley.”

She called on the women to make “the PNM men cry.”

Pointe-a-Pierre MP David Lee congratulated the UNC women for their show of force and made an appeal to vote out the PNM when the election bell is rung. General elections were last held in 2020.

Oropouche West MP Dave Tancoo saluted the men who came out to support the women as did Naparima MP Rodney Charles. Charles noted that for a Saturday morning, the market was relatively devoid of customers because they cannot afford the price of food.

“We are going into the market, but we cannot buy. Money running out. Men have let down the women in this country. Rowley must go. We can’t take it no more. Too much suffering,” Charles said.

Noting Rowley’s trip to Barbados for the weekend, Chaguanas East MP Vandana Mohit said he would have gone there to get lessons from Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley on how to govern.

“Let him stay there. We don’t want him to come back. We are protesting because we are losing food cards because of this government. We are protesting for the blind and disabled who cannot afford to repair their homes and go to the media to get assistance. We are standing up for the protection of women. How long the pepper spray coming and cannot reach us.

“We are standing strong. We are standing in solidarity of women of our country.”

One woman, who identified herself as coming from Lopinot/Bon Air, called on the women to rise up and start boycotting certain products.

“We have to shut down this place. We cannot let Imbert raise the price of gas again. Gas rising, taxi fare rising and salary not rising. Time to boycott.”