Embattled Port-of-Spain Mayor Raymond Tim Kee was mobbed by scores of supporters as he stepped out of his official black-tinted SUV around 10.50 am yesterday to make his way to the front entrance of his office on Knox Street, Port-of-Spain.
Chanting "Tim Kee must stay," "No Tim Kee, no PNM," close to 100 people, who were eagerly waiting on the pavement opposite from as early as 5 am, surged towards Tim Kee upon spotting him.
They hugged him and shouted: "You not going anywhere."
Tim Kee offered no comment but instead shook hands, waved and embraced his supporters before calmly walking up two flight of stairs to his office.
He later stood on the balcony, arms upraised, and acknowledged the crowd.
Supporters, who were mostly dressed in white, carried placards with newspaper clippings showing women in bikini and beads in their Carnival costumes with the writing: "The mayor is right. Don't disrespect yourself."
Supporters – Juliet Davy and Melba Boxill – presented a petition with more than 100 signatures in support of Tim Kee to the mayor's office just after 11 am yesterday.
Moments before Tim Kee's arrival members of the media were taunted by some supporters who blamed journalists for the avalanche of criticism against Tim Kee relating to the discovery of the body of Japanese pan player Asami Nagakiya at the Queen's Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, on Ash Wednesday.
He subsequently issued an apology in the face of more criticism and eventually issued another statement on Saturday announcing his intention to resign.
Nagakiya, 30, from Sapporo, Hokkaido, was still wearing her Legacy hand band and was in full costume when her body was found under a tree by Geoff Adams, of Tamana, who had been walking through the area.
An autopsy last Thursday showed she had been strangled.
At a press conference on Ash Wednesday, Tim Kee, in response to a question, had told reporters – before it was determined that Nagakiya had been murdered – that women had a responsibility to ensure they were not abused and that they ought not to behave vulgar while playing mas.
"Dem media people cannot even read and write but they only writing wrong thing about Tim Kee. Media people too wicked," one woman shouted to a group of media practitioners who were covering the event yesterday.
Her statements then encouraged other supporters to shout obscenities at the media personnel.
Their comments caught the attention of some police officers who intervened and warned the protestors that law and order must be upheld.
The officers then instructed the supporters, who had gathered at the corner of Knox and Frederick Streets, to go inside Woodford Square.
Some complied but others stood their ground, referring to last Friday's gathering where scores of women's activists protested against Tim Kee.
They had also gathered at the corner of Knox and Frederick Streets but were not removed by the police.
"When de white people stand up here de police leave them though. But de police racist and they want to treat we like dog and want to run we," one man said as he pointed to two police officers.
Santa Cruz resident and self-proclaimed businessman Samuel Stafford, who was among the group, said there was nothing wrong about Tim Kee's statements, adding that the mayor was doing a good job.
"My fight is to keep the mayor in office. What he is supposed to do is give a strong apology for the death of the young lady as a tourist, not step down," Stafford said.
Echoing Stafford's sentiments was radio talk show host Harvey Borris.