The flocculation of statements and media expostulations over the last few weeks have been subtle. But the Guardian’s front page on Monday was a smack in the face—Race Hate.
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Petition, protest organised for Tim Kee’s removal
There are now calls from the public to have Raymond Tim Kee removed as Mayor of Port-of-Spain.
Following statements of disapproval on social media, there is now an online petition and a public protest organised to have Tim Kee dismissed.
The public outrage stems from his statements about women being responsible with their bodies to ensure that they are not abused.
Tim Kee in a media conference at City Hall, Port-of-Spain, yesterday said: “I spoke of some of the things that I see women do, assisted by men, of course, but the woman has the responsibility that they ensure that they are not abused. You can enjoy Carnival without going through the routine.”
His comments followed the discovery of the body of a masquerader, later identified as Japanese pan player Asami Nagakiya. Autopsy results revealed that Nagakiya was strangled.
Following Tim Kee’s statements, feminist group Womantra started an online petition calling for his removal.
Womantra’s statement reads: “In light of his recent comments with regard to the discovery of Japanese national Asami Nagakiya, whose body was found under a tree on Feb 10, 2016 after Carnival celebrations in the City of Port-of-Spain, we are asking for him to resign with immediate effect.”
The petition, which was started hours ago, has more than 4,000 signatures.
In another attempt to have Tim Kee removed as Mayor, a protest has been organised for 11 am tomorrow outside City Hall. The organisers are calling people to show up in their costumes, if they want to.
On a Facebook event page called, “Don’t be Vulgar, Mr Tim Kee” it stated: “Mayor Tim Kee’s statements in response to the tragic death of Asami Nagakiya continue a dangerous and damaging narrative of blaming women for acts of violence perpetrated against them not just at Carnival time but all through the year.”
The protest organisers called for a stronger focus on men being held accountable for their actions instead of “victim-shaming women.” They said people like Tim Kee who are in positions of authority must be made to understand this.
“Everyday in Trinidad and Tobago women are harassed, assaulted, abused, regardless of what they are wearing. We cannot continue to allow people to blame women for acts of violence against them. This affects all women all the time,” the event page read.
However, a statement from the Mayor’s office said that Tim Kee apologised for his statements but claimed that they were taken out of context.
"His Worship the Mayor of Port-of-Spain Alderman Raymond Tim Kee unequivocally apologises to women and the national population who were offended by remarks attributed to him following the death of Carnival visitor and mas player, Asami Nagakiya,” the release read.
The release stated that though his comments could have been considered “out of line” he maintained that there is “indeed a concern about the behaviour of both male and female mas players generally as they are now being emulated by children who believe that lewd behaviour and Carnival go hand in hand.”