Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissesar has apologised for controversial statements about her country’s provision of aid to Caribbean neighbours devastated by Hurricane Tomas, the Caribbean360.com reports. She said “sorry” on a radio station in Jamaica, the same country where a campaign calling for a boycott of Trinidadian products had been launched.
Persad-Bissessar has come under harsh criticism for suggesting, just days after Tomas hit Barbados, St Lucia and St Vincent at the end of October, that her country would have to benefit from any help it provided to those nations.
But in an interview on Radio Jamaica, she acknowledged that her comments were unfortunate.
“I do apologise for the statements that have been taken in this regard,” she said on Radio Jamaica’s ‘Beyond the Headlines’ programme. “I remain committed to the regional movement and to our CARICOM brothers and sisters.”
Asked about the boycott campaign, the Prime Minister admitted she was concerned about it, but said that people were entitled to freedom of expression and she did not feel she should intervene in that matter.
“But of course it was cause for concern for us, for such a call to be made…My comments were perceived as being most insensitive and perhaps they (Jamaicans) were also angry and incensed at the words which, as I said, I do apologise for.”
It is the first time that the Trinidadian leader has issued an apology for her statements.
After the criticism was heaped on her, she had said her comments had been misunderstood and that she only meant that her government would be providing Trinidadian goods and services to Tomas-affected countries, instead of giving them money which would be spent outside the twin-island republic.
For the original report go to http://www.caribbean360.com/index.php/news/jamaica_news/49635.html
Image from Clovis Cartoons at http://www.cloviscartoons.com/2010/11/07/kamla-persad-bissessars-unconscionable-statement/