In a statement last week Rowley said the low attendance at Carnival in Port of Spain "fits in with the Government’s plans and proposals to de-emphasise the capital city."
In a media release Monday the UNC said Rowley's statement unmasks his prejudice and shows that he and his party have no regard for all of Trinidad and Tobago.
"We are not surprised at Keith Rowley’s statement that the government of Trinidad and Tobago is trying to destroy Carnival in Port of Spain. Dr. Rowley is so obsessed with hate for anything that happens outside of Port of Spain he sees everything with an eye of prejudice," the party said.
It added, "There are varying opinions about Carnival 2014 but a common view is that spectators and masqueraders didn’t seem to gravitate to Port of Spain the way they have traditionally done.
"Minister Lincoln Douglas has noted that each of the 52 regions in Trinidad and Tobago that celebrated the festival reported “a significant increase in participation,” including San Fernando, Toco, Carapichaima, Brazil, Arouca and Sangre Grande. “From my perspective...I see an increased participation in Carnival, an increased output of people on the streets, an increased number of people playing mas,” the minister told media last week. “All these things tell me that Carnival has been successful,” he added.
"Rowley’s interpretation of the state of Carnival in Port of Spain is that it “fits in with the Government’s plans and proposals to de-emphasise the capital city.”
"That is where Rowley betrays his bias. If it doesn’t happen in Port of Spain, it cannot be important. It’s the same thing about the Mighty Sparrow and Peter Minshall going to Penal. Rowley objected to that too because it happened in a place he didn’r consider suitable.
"In other words, the PNM view is that rural Trinidad doesn’t ever count for anything; Penal has no place celebrating Carnival. It’s the same reason why Rowley objected to a UWI campus in Debe, hospitals in Penal and Couva and anything that doesn’t happen in Port of Spain or PNM-friendly constituencies.
"Here’s Rowley’s view: “If mas in the capital city of Port of Spain, the home of Carnival, the home of the steelband, the birthplace of the historic Canboulay Riots, is going badly, it cannot be made up for in other areas of the country,” he told the Express newspaper. Rowley added, “The centre of Carnival is Port of Spain.” In other words Rowley’s world is Port of Spain and the rest of T&T doesn’t matter.
"What is wrong with people in Toco and Tunapuna enjoying Carnival in their respective communities? Why shouldn’t Tobago, Carapichaima and Penal have their own version of ‘the greatest show on earth’? Rowley’s and the PNM answers are based on prejudice and their view that urbanization is more important than everything else.
"That is why Rowley and his party have never had a vision for rural development. Their entire focus in the decades that they have governed Trinidad and Tobago has been Port of Spain and areas where they felt they had strong political support. That is why in the more than three years that he has led his party Rowley has been unable to present a single constructive idea for the development of Trinidad and Tobago.
"The PP government and the United National Congress (UNC) believe in the politics of participation that allows the involvement of diverse political groups representing everyone in the country. That is in conflict with the PNM that believes in keeping the country divided. Rowley must understand that like everything else, Carnival must be shared with the whole country. They need to accept that there are no “we” and ‘dem”, just “US” – one country, one people living in a just society where everyone is equal.