Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 13th 2017 Contents Ilike Keith Rowley, I have to
confess. Despite his clear flaws,
his ill-temperedness, the peri-
odic ugliness of his masculinity.
Despite my puzzlement at many
people he chooses to assign lead-
I have always been a serious
admirer of his charisma, striking
intelligence and considerable
oratory, whether at lofty na-
tion-building or hoarse picong.
Perhaps my fondness is be-
cause of the very Africanness
some allege is the source of local
oligarchs' ambivalence over his
Arguably, such sentiment
should not matter in these pages.
But I've lamented here how
the eagerness among those
writing on our editorial pages to
strengthen a culture of public
accountability often descends
into an off-with-their-heads
intolerance for error that doesn't
allow for leaders' vulnerability or
growth. I want my political lead-
ers to evidence their humanity.
And it's no secret that I believe
that the Opposition's unmasking
of any pretence Keith might have
to moral piety in intimate matters
is good for the nation, and that
it's enabled a more honest ap-
proach to policy and lawmaking
on sexuality and in response to
the actual forms our Caribbean
I also welcomed the crassness
with which Dr Rowley told the
nation of a friend's fear of a dig-
ital-rectal examination, as he
shared results of his own prostate
cancer tests last year, using a
graphic sound bite the electronic
media loved replaying as often as
I did not see in those words the
brutish crudeness focus-group
consultants appear to have ad-
vised the UNC is a representation
of Rowley that has negative trac-
tion among some voters.
I saw his unvarnished remarks
then as a powerful example of a
prime minister being honest with
the nation's men about mascu-
linity and homophobia, and how
they harm our health.
But I think the Prime Minister
is really afraid of his softer side.
My dear friends in Womantra
make so many go tizzic on social
media when, as feminist activ-
ists, they decide where it's im-
portant to target their own activ-
ism and bodies, unapologetically.
Every time Womantra gar-
ners public attention, hundreds
type furiously from their arm-
chairs, opining about what is
protest-worthy and how bad
feminism is. I wish all that energy
went into making change.
Last week Womantra led many
others taking our Prime Minis-
ter to task for his public remarks
about women and domestic vi-
olence. Some of those scoldings
were partisan critiques, including
ones from challengers to his lead-
ership of the PNM, which no one
should take seriously.
But Dr Rowley was wrong for
both the content and tone of his
remarks: "I am not in your bed-
room. I am not in your choice of
The reasons why several others
have already pointed out. First,
he got it dead wrong. Women
are often killed precisely when
they exercise good "judgment,"
in leaving a violent relationship.
An order of protection is not a
piece of paper: it is the core state
enforcement remedy we have
for domestic violence, yet one a
PNM official like Tobago Assem-
bly-member was found to have
The Attorney General must
promote the essential and dedi-
cated role of police in enforcing
protection orders as law, not a
way they "try to help" victims.
Neither is domestic violence
simply a matter of individual re-
lationships: it is a cultural issue.
The Community Development
Minister's role in addressing it
ought to be strengthening how
communities are ensuring vic-
tim protection, engaging violent
men, and teaching boys---not just
What baffled me most as the
licks rained down on Keith was
why he failed to learn anything
from the Port-of-Spain mayor
he led his party in pushing off the
ledge after eerily similar utter-
ances, exactly a year ago.
Had Raymond Tim Kee apolo-
gised unreservedly and with con-
trition following equally cynical
comments about the discovery
of murdered Japanese pannist
Asami Nagakiya in the Savannah
last Ash Wednesday, I bet he
would easily have kept his job.
How had the PM failed to in-
ternalise that lesson?
I wondered aloud why it never
occurred to Keith Rowley last
week to simply soften up, and
say: I was wrong. I'm eager to
learn from my mistakes. How do
women think I and my Govern-
ment can? It seemed so simple to
me. Because he was wrong.
Those in his party and Gov-
ernment waste political capital
and state resources defending his
Worst of all was the way the
Gender and Child Affairs portfo-
lio in the PM's Office was com-
promised by being enrolled as
the framework through which his
defensive apology was commu-
Those who love the Prime Min-
ister need to teach him this. It is
not only the lesson every good
spouse learns---to say "Yes, dear"
to diffuse conflict.
Contrition is a powerful act
of leadership. It is something
we need to teach boys. It is one
thing that will help prevent gen-
There are many opportunities
in the Prime Minister's national
conversations to still do so.
guardian.co.tt Monday, February 13, 2017
GOOD ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS FOR VALENTINE'S DAY
There's lots of environmental
good news from the Carib-
bean. Nevis seems serious
about harnessing the power of the
earth to produce geothermal ener-
gy. Antigua is on the way to 20 per
cent electricity from renewable
If Nevis' geothermal ambitions
pan out, it may even provide Anti-
gua with energy via a subsea cable.
Barbados just gave permission for
the establishment of a solar panel
factory and a 10MW solar power
farm that will be tied into the grid.
St Vincent and the Grenadines
still practises the killing of ceta-
ceans such as orcas, pilot whales
and dolphins, collectively sold as
blackfish, but turtle is no longer
on the menu as turtle hunting was
banned at the start of this year.
At least the blackfish will soon
be served in environmentally
friendlier containers as St Vin-
cent and the Grenadines joins the
growing list of countries where
Styrofoam is no longer allowed,
when it bans the importation of
Styrofoam on May 1, 2017.
To ease matters for food sellers,
VAT on biodegradable packaging
and containers will be zero-rated.
Tomorrow is Valentine's Day,
the day of love, so let's write about
some of the good things that are
going on in our archipelago.
Next Monday we can return to
impending climate change-in-
duced doom, collapsing fisheries,
species extinction and what have
Nevis is a beautiful little island
with a unique shape. It is literally
a conical shaped volcano that rises
from the sea.
Give a child a piece of paper and
ask him or her to draw an imagi-
nary volcanic island in the sea, and
the child will draw Nevis. Nevis
doesn't have much in the way of
natural resources but it may soon
be energy-rich due to its geother-
The island has a long history
of failed attempts to harness the
earth's heat but in October 2016
drilling rigs arrived to drill wells
for a geothermal energy project
that is planned to produce 9MW
worth of electricity.
A turbine has already been
selected from Turboden, a sub-
sidiary of Mitsubishi Heavy In-
The project is owned by Nevis
Renewable Energy Internation-
aI, which is an affiliate of Tex-
as-based Thermal Energy Partners
The plant is expected to be ful-
ly operational by 2017 providing
Nevis with 100 per cent renew-
able energy, making it one of the
greenest places on earth.
There is even talk of Nevis sup-
plying geothermal generated en-
ergy to Antigua via a subsea cable.
Let's hope it is more successful
than the once dreamt about subsea
natural gas line that was to supply
the small islands with gas from
On to Barbados now.
Canadian energy firm Deltro
Group Limited has received per-
mission to proceed with a US$40
million solar panel manufacturing
plant and a 10 MW solar energy
The solar panel factory, which
will be operational 24 hours per
day, will create 120 new energy
based jobs and a new export prod-
Deltro's solar farm will be built
on a 70-acre site. Deltro claims it
will produce electricity at a much
cheaper rate than Barbadians pay
to Barbados Light & Power.
St Vincent and the Grenadines
opens its international airport to-
This is a game-changer for the
island chain. Tourists will now en-
joy direct flights from metropoli-
tan markets, slashing travel costs
and travel time.
The last thing any tourist wants
to see in paradise is trash. The
government's announced a ban on
the importation of Styrofoam is a
Tourists love swimming with
turtles, and the last thing any par-
ent wants their holidaying child
to see is the turtle from Nemo,
slaughtered on the beach.
The turtle hunting ban is in line
with the theory that turtles are
worth more alive than dead.
Divers will pay dive shops hand-
somely to see turtles on the reef,
over and over again.
Very few visitors will pay any-
thing for a bloody turtle steak in
In fact, I suspect that visitors
will want to boycott destinations
that eat endangered, charismatic
species. It remains to be seen how
SVG's new international airport
can coexist with whale and dol-
These are among the most loved
animals on the planet and tourists
will not react well to seeing them
When SVG was a quaint, hard to
reach backwater, whale and dol-
phin hunting was able to remain
undetected by the masses.
However, opening up SVG to
international tourism also means
opening up the island to interna-
tional norms and values.
I predict this marriage between
tradition and tourism will not end
Hopefully by Valentine's Day
2018 SVG will be able to announce
to the world that it protects ceta-
ceans in the same way that it now
In the meantime, the Caribbean
has a lot of recent and future pro-
gress to celebrate.
Much love for the environment
on Valentine's Day 2017.
SOME LOVE FOR KEITH Contrition is a
powerful act of
leadership. It is
something we need to
teach boys. It is one
thing that will help
firm Deltro Group
Limited has received
proceed with a US$40
million solar panel
and a 10 MW solar
energy farm. Deltro
claims it will produce
electricity at a much
cheaper rate than
Barbadians pay to
Barbados Light &
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