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Browne calls for wisdom during campaign

Monday, February 10, 2014

Opposition MP Dr Amery Browne is calling for discernment, wisdom and respect from all sides contesting the People’s National Movement (PNM) national executive elections. He was asked to comment on a statement by former Opposition senator Fitzgerald Hinds, who told a constituency meeting in Belmont last week that a group of businessmen and former PNM ministers have agreed that Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley was “too dark in complexion to become prime minister.”


“With the anxieties and emotions of internal elections, we can expect persons to say any manner of things convenient to their cause,” he said. He then issued a call for wisdom and good judgment by all opposition PNM teams to ensure the 58-year-old party emerges stronger in the end. Browne, who is MP for Diego Martin Central, said he had not made any decision to contest or not contest the elections.


And former head of the public service Reginald Dumas said he was concerned about the implications of “the too dark to become prime minister claim.” Dumas told the T&T Guardian yesterday the statement confirms that race remains an issue in the country. “T&T is still a colonial society dominated by issues of skin colour and texture of hair,” Dumas, a former T&T diplomat added.


Saying he was not too concerned about whether Hinds was right or wrong to have made the comment, Dumas said what was more important was the fact that the comment was made in 2014. Insisting that the PNM has traditionally been a “black party,” Dumas said the statement was “even more frightening” as it would mean that members of the PNM had a problem with blackness.


Dumas, who served as High Commissioner to India, said he will never forget a statement told to him by “a very prominent Indian, Hindu gentleman when he was appointed in 1977 by then prime minister Eric Williams. Dumas said he was told then: “Your appointment is a slap in the face of the Indians.” Dumas said serving the country in India was one of his best jobs.


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