The party said, "While the whole country is celebrating the announcement that the Mighty Sparrow is getting Trinidad and Tobago’s highest national award and Peter Minshall is getting a long overdue deed to a property at Federation Park, Keith Rowley is upset about how the event was handled and where it was held.
"He called it “unacceptable” for Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to make the announcement in what he called “the cheapest, most classless and political way”.
"Keith Rowley is deeply offended because Sparrow and Peter Minshall went to Penal. Both men are associated with Carnival and the event was a Children’s Carnival parade and competition to which both men were invited. So what’s “unacceptable “ about that? They certainly don’t share Dr. Rowley’s juvenile opinion.
"Dr. Rowley’s problem is Penal. It’s the same problem he has with a Children’s Hospital in Couva, a University Campus in Debe and anything that happens outside his preferred constituencies.
"Here is what Rowley said, according to a report by Ria Taitt in the Trinidad Express: “To take them down, as national icons, to her constituency, to play politics with them and their award, and to have the most tacky presentation of an award to Sparrow and Peter Minshall,” was most improper.
"What is wrong with ‘national icons’ going to Penal? What he is saying is that THESE national icons don’t belong in Penal. He also said he would have liked it to happen in a “politically neutral” location in keeping with the character of their contribution.
"First of all, we ask what is Dr. Rowley’s definition of “political neutral?” Is it Port of Spain? What makes Port of Spain less political than Penal or Fyzabad or Point Fortin? Then he talks about a location “in keeping with the character of their contribution” which suggests that Penal is not good because Carnival is “out of character” since these men have contributed to culture that might not be typical of Penal.
"Dr. Rowley’s puerile comments show his continuing lack of class and a divisiveness that has characterised his politics throughout his career. It is also a trade mark of the People’s National Movement (PNM). It was his former boss Patrick Manning, who said Kamla Persad-Bissessar was not fit to be Prime Minister because she was from Siparia.
"Keith Rowley and his followers must accept that Trinidad and Tobago is one country that celebrates its diversity and where everyone is equal. The fact that Sparrow and Minshall went to Penal to receive the honour they deserve is a tribute to them and a signal that they understand that we are one country and one people.
"Keith Rowley and the PNM must stop embarrassing the people of Trinidad and Tobago by their consistent divisive tribal politics.