PNM Condemns Duke’s Racist Statement

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Says he has Described “Afro-Trinidadians in the Most Offensive Way”

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – The ruling People’s National Movement (PNM) has taken issue with a statement made by the President of the Public Service Association (PSA), Watson Duke, in which he urged “all niggers and Black people like myself” not to vote for the party in the December 2 Local Government Elections (LGE).

“The PNM and the rest of our decent nation are truly disgusted by Watson Duke’s latest offensive outburst which he delivered whilst pretending to be representing public servants,” the PNM said in a statement, adding that Duke, who is also the Minority Leader in the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) had described “Afro-Trinidadians in the most offensive way”.

Duke, speaking at a news conference on Monday, had accused the Keith Rowley led PNM administration that came to power in September 2015 of refusing to negotiate salary increases for public servants.

“I am asking all niggers, all Black people like myself, and watch me I am well black, not to support the PNM. Don’t do it. Do not do it,” Duke said, noting that some public workers had been waiting for five years for new salary negotiations.

He accused Finance Minister Colm Imbert of dragging his feet on the matter, adding “they have done a bad job of governance, a bad job of paying the most essential service in this country….why the hell isn’t the PNM government offering them something.

“I am calling upon all workers today everywhere not to give the PNM your vote. Do not give the PNM your vote, let them work for it,” he added.

But in its statement, the Afro-based PNM, which is facing the Indo-based United National Congress (UNC) for control of the Local Government, said that the records show that “in a period of national, financial emergency this PNM government paid six billionin backpay to public servants in all categories.

“This money, promised by a previous government, was not available, so the PNM had to borrow the funds in order to make these contracted liabilities.

“Public servants are reminded that the only place of employment where workers associated with the Public Service are known to be disrespected and oppressed are at the PSA headquarters where Mr. Duke reigns whilst denying the membership access to free and fair elections, and where employees have consistently had to resort to the Court to have their rights and benefits protected.”

The PNM said that it “should come as no surprise that this vulgar appeal of Watson Duke” came after he was seen attending a meeting involving “UNC officials and sympathizers at a Port of Spain restaurant.” – CMC

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