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Jamaat beats bobolees of PM, Rowley

Published: 
Saturday, July 5, 2014
A member of the public kicks one of the bobolees on Independence Square, Port-of-Spain, yesterday, after Fuad Abu Bakr invited him to hit them. PHOTO: ROBERTO CODALLO

Bobolees of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Leader of the PNM Dr Keith Rowley were beaten and dragged through the streets of Port-of-Spain yesterday by Fuad Abu Bakr, son of Yasin Abu Bakr, leader of the Jamaat-al-Muslimeen.

 

The younger Bakr, who was in the company of several Jamaat members, hung the bobolees together on a tree in Woodford Square.

 

Yesterday’s action was step two of a protest action by Bakr. This followed Thursday’s WhatsApp messages, one of which read: “We apologise to the general public for the inconvenience. Action against the injustice in our society starts today. Walking round and round has been ignored. It is time for a people who talk too much and take too much to act. To act now and ensure a better tomorrow. Our leaders will listen if we make them listen. Message from the JAM. Please pass on.”

 

Speaking outside Parliament yesterday, moments after spanking the bobolees with a piece of wood, Bakr explained his actions.

 

“We understand T&T’s culture, which is symbolic. I think the politicians, our leaders and some of us need some licks. I am not one to advocate against corporal punishment. I don’t believe in sparing the rod, but, at the same time, I am not saying abuse. It is almost hypocritical to say, well abolish corporal punishment when they are young, and then later on to say, hang them after they become criminals. We are creating our own problems and we collectively have to solve them or we all are going to suffer the consequences,” Bakr said.

 

Bakr says he was seeking to create the momentum for citizens to make their voices heard, in a bid to foster change from the country’s leaders.

 

“We have had issues of corruption, nepotism, greed; we have a breakdown in the social fabric of our country, extrajudicial killings. We are facing a list of problems and crime is affecting every one of us.

 

“It seems as though the leaders we have today are not capable, or not willing to deal with the situations that are facing us. That is why we have mounted this campaign to put pressure upon them,” Bakr said.

Yesterday’s bobolees

 

The bobolee is a local tradition in T&T, where it has been observed for generations. It is a stuffed caricature effigy of a controversial person, someone who is the subject of scorn, causes stress or brings shame to the community.

 

The bobolees yesterday were made of brown cotton and stuffed with sponge. Shaped in human form, with arms, legs and head, one bobolee was clad in a red jersey with a piece of paper marked “Rowley” stuck to the front of it, and the other in a yellow jersey labelled “Kamla.” They were tied around the waist with a rope and hung on a tree near the centre of Woodford Square.

 

Yesterday’s bobolees

 

The bobolee is a local tradition in T&T, where it has been observed for generations. 

 

It is a stuffed caricature effigy of a controversial person, someone who is the subject of scorn, causes stress or brings shame to the community.

 

The bobolees yesterday were made of brown cotton and stuffed with sponge. 

 

Shaped in human form, with arms, legs and head, one bobolee was clad in a red jersey with a piece of paper marked “Rowley” stuck to the front of it, and the other in a yellow jersey labelled “Kamla.”

 

They were tied around the waist with a rope and hung on a tree near the centre of Woodford Square.