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PNM Tabaquite official:

Published: 
Saturday, August 18, 2018
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The controversial skit put on by members of PNM’s Tabaquite constituency during the party's sports and Family Day last Sunday. Photo by:Abraham Diaz

While PNM executive members remain silent on some citizens’ demands for an apology for last Sunday’s gorilla “sari-stripping” skit, one PNM Tabaquite official has apologised.

“If people feel offended by something, one should apologise. While I had no part in organising the skit, I apologise in my personal capacity,” PNM Tabaquite vice chairman Julian Adams told Guardian Media yesterday.

The skit organised by PNM’s Tabaquite unit sparked condemnation after depicting gorillas unravelling a sari of a woman during the party’s sports and family day last Sunday in Chaguanas.

Hindu groups and feminist organisations decried it as a mockery of Hinduism, East Indians and the significance of the sari in East Indian tradition, as well as encouraging violence against women.

Concern was exacerbated by National Security Minister Stuart Young’s view that it was a “lil bit of fun.” On Thursday, protesters demonstrated outside of the Office of the Prime Minister in St Clair calling on PNM leader Dr Keith Rowley and Young to apologise.

Young didn’t answer calls or respond to text messages. Nor did other PNM executive officials.

PNM Tabaquite chairman Curtis Shade didn’t respond when asked if an apology would be forthcoming, instead, he asked, “All this because Tabaquite gone PNM?”

But the PNM’s Tabaquite vice chairman said, “I attended the Family Day but I wasn’t part of the team that did the skit and didn’t see it so I can’t condemn as such. But if people felt offended about it, people must apologise. So I offer a personal apology.”

“I’m vice chairman of this unit and I was born and bred in Tabaquite. I’m a minister—a bishop. I live among the people. I speak my mind. If people feel hurt by something, we’re a cosmopolitan country, why can’t we say we’re sorry? People make mistakes, people must be able to apologise if others feel hurt.”

UNC activist Devant Maharaj said he had spoken to the Equal Opportunities Commission which confirmed receipt of his complaint about the skit.

Maharaj wrote EOC on Monday calling for it to examine apparent breaches of the Equal Opportunities Act by the PNM’s skit. He cited Section 7 (1) and (2) of the EOC Act (Chap. 22:03).

This states a person shall not otherwise than in private, do any act which:

• Is reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of persons;

• Is done because of the gender, race, ethnicity, origin or religion of the other person or of some or all of the persons in the group; and

• Which is done with the intention of inciting gender, racial or religious hatred.

• For the purposes of subsection (1), an act is taken not to be done in private if it causes words, sounds, images or writing to be communicated to the public; is done in a public place, or is done in the sight and hearing of persons who are in a public place.

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