Future of Point Fortin Mayor now in doubt

“I don’t know that it is advisable for anyone to be supporting something which is clearly unacceptable, the unacceptability of which has resulted in the Mayor’s withdrawal from office,” Rowley told reporters at the Piarco International Airport prior to his departure for an international summit, when asked about remarks made by Point Fortin Mayor Clyde Paul.

“That does not sound to me as a very sensible position and I did mention very early on that we are holding people responsible for individual conduct,” Rowley said. “People are responsible for their own conduct and they will be held accountable. Accountability comes in a variety of ways. There is public opinion. There is sanction. We take it on a case by case basis.” However, the Prime Minister said he would not be looking into the comments of Paul, but will intervene if there is any “dereliction of duty”.

On Saturday, hours before Tim Kee’s announcement of his resignation, remarks attributed to Paul circulated on social media.

In one comment, the Point Fortin Mayor stated, “What action Tim Kee must resign for. I hope when the truth of the young lady’s murder unfolds some people could handle it.” In a subsequent interview with CNC3’s Kamal Georges, Paul confirmed the remarks were his and further said, “Those people who are making it out to be as crime as usual in Trinidad and Tobago would be surprised and, of course, be disappointed.

We must not put a spin on this thing. I will take the heat for it. Those people who were at City Hall they have an agenda.

They are political and they are hypocrites.” Paul yesterday came under fire from politicians and individuals on social media.

“The Independent Liberal Party (ILP) strengthens its call for Point Fortin Mayor Clyde Paul to either resign from office or be removed by the Council for his continued arrogant, callous and disrespectful statements in the aftermath of the murder of Japanese pannist Asami Nagakiya,” said the ILP’s Sunil Ramjitsingh. “We encourage all civic-minded citizens to raise their voices and demand that Paul must go.” One person on Facebook remarked, “I’m beginning to wonder about the criteria one must meet in order to be a mayor.” But while the storm over Tim Kee’s remarks looked set to widen, Rowley yesterday said the Port-of-Spain Mayor, who is also the PNM Treasurer, would not face sanction from the PNM party.

“As far as the PNM is concerned, the matter which attracted our attention from the very beginning has been properly dealt with in the end and we are satisfied with that,” the PNM political leader said. The Prime Minister said he had no authority to fire Tim Kee.

“The Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago has no power to dismiss any mayor so the call to me to dismiss the mayor was quite misdirected,” the Prime Minister said.

“He now has to tender his resignation to the Council because the removal of the mayor is a matter for the Council.” The Municipal Corporation Act, Section 15, states a mayor may resign on his own volition but continues in office until a successor has accepted the post.

Rowley said he had spoken to Tim Kee and expressed to him that his comments were unacceptable.

“The Mayor was told that in my very first comments to him at 9 o’clock or thereabouts on Thursday morning.” Asked why, when questioned later in the day by the media on Thursday, he did not state his view about the wrongness of the remarks, Rowley said, “I had only seen a portion of what was on the news. I did not see it in detail until the night when I was asked.” If he had not seen the full remarks of Ash Wednesday, why did he call Tim Kee on Thursday morning to say the remarks were unacceptable? “I had seen sufficient to have communicated with him instantly on that morning,” Rowley said. He added, “I am the father of two daughters.

The very first time they played mas, they played with Poison and I played with them to ensure that they were properly looked after....I would in no way create an environment or conversation that says that any woman who is harmed or, God forbid, killed, is as a result of how she presented herself. That is a conversation which I cannot countenance as the father of two daughters and the brother of two sisters.” The Prime Minister added, “Let us not get carried away with this.” Princes Town MP Barry Padarath on Saturday called on Rowley to apologise for his original stance on Tim Kee.


"Future of Point Fortin Mayor now in doubt"

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