Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 23rd 2017 Contents news A3
Saturday, September 23, 2017
Following Prime Minister Dr
Keith Rowley's proposal for T&T to
open its doors to citizens of Domi-
nica in the aftermath of Hurricane
Maria, there was a lot of racist,
political and xenophobic remarks
on social media from citizens who
disagreed with the idea.
Some of the comments included:
•Well we already have an influx
of Chinese, Guyanese, Nigerians
and deportees coming in. Just say-
•We all know Rowley bringing
them here to vote PNM but Trini-
dad importing food many people
don’t have jobs or homes. What
you think will happen????? Is more
•Sadly we have become quite
a selfish, self-centred society. We
will not lend a hand to our physi-
cal neighbour much less our Carib-
bean neighbour. I pray God change
our hearts of stone.
•Sweep your doorstep before
you sweep somebody's else. Trin-
idad is so over crowded already.
Where are you putting all the peo -
ple coming? There goes the moun-
•Maybe it’s time for us to start
back discussions about a united
•Trinidad can’t get housing but
he want to bring outsides and give
them accommodations. Take care
of your people irst.
•South America already cross-
ing the border illegally, now bring
Commonwealth legally for 6mths...
Come on!! And open yuh pots too!
Is this a leader or follower?? What
•Rowley can’t take care of the
citizens of Trinidad and Tobago
but he opening doors to other peo-
ple. He is stupid.
•Could we go and set up busi-
ness in China, India, Dominica,
Guyana, Venezuela...No...so what
are we encouraging here for...no
wonder so much people seeing
•I hope the other countries
would say the same things about
Trinis going to their countries.
Trinis are the most racial and
meanest people in the world.
•A lot of you guys forgot that
your families were "islanders"
before. Some of you also are big-
ots and racist this is your small
minded thinking? Sad
•Is more crime in the country
when they come here. Employ-
ment down. What they will do to
survive? The easiest way is to kid-
nap people steal people cars, rob
people, thief and kill people... It is a
form of employment here in sweet
T&T. Lord put ah hand•The people
in TNT getting more frighten now...
within this 6 months the whole of
Dominica will reach in TnT...
•This is not Europe and Amer-
ica. This is Little Trinidad. Fix your
people as a country before you ex-
tend your kind courtesy.
I applaud Rowley for this: Maingot
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley
is getting strong support for his
initiative asking citizens to take
in Dominican nationals who have
lost everything as a result of Hur-
Head of the Living Waters Com-
munity Rhonda Maingot said
Rowley’s initiative was “a won -
derful gesture," and one which
she felt certain would be "greatly
appreciated" by the people of
"I applaud the Prime Minister
for this," Maingot said.
She is hoping other Caribbean
nations will "take a page out of
the book of the Prime Minister."
The initiative, however, has
sparked a rage of criticism on
social media with some saying
“race” was the motive, while oth-
ers accused Rowley of using it for
political ends “to voter pad.”
Rowley responded to those crit-
ics saying their responses were
"disappointing and backward."
Maingot agreed. She said
"sometimes people could be neg-
ative and sarcastic,” but at times
like these we should instead be
"open, caring and understanding
and help." She said "God forbid
we should be in that position one
day and want other countries to
take us in... especially children
and families with nothing."
Living Waters is currently as -
sisting with a "huge relief pro-
gramme" and is working to send
teams to the island. But she said
they are willing to "assist further
in whatever way they can.”
Head of the Catholic Com-
mission for Social Justice Leela
Ramdeen said she was "person-
ally happy to see that the Prime
Minister recognised that we don't
have a lot of money. That is what
a leader does, if we don’t have a
lot of money you have to think
outside the box."
She said the key Catholic thing
in this is that “Love of God and
love of neighbour, requires us to
share all our gifts."
Ramdeen said people cannot
“live in silos. If we going to build
a world of people who love and
care for each other we have
to think globally. They are our
neighbours and we hope it will
She was also critical of the neg-
ativity the initiative has sparked.
“The negative response is ill-
founded. We cannot be selfish.
There is too much individualism
and greed in the world. I thank
the Prime Minister for this."
Dean Knolly Clarke of the An -
glican Church said this was a very
challenging time for the people of
Dominica and Barbuda who have
“People are going to have to
take them in, they have nothing.”
He felt the initiative announced
by the Prime Minister was “a very
good way of reaching out to a
neighbour and children in need. I
ind it a commendable idea."
Describing it as an "altruistic
gesture," Clarke said it was "fool-
ish" of people to link it to "race
He said "it comes back to being
our brothers and sisters keepers."
Political analyst Dr Winford
James described it as a "good de-
cision, a good gesture." He said
if there are families willing to ac-
commodate the people of Dom-
inica, “that will be a very caring
and generous gesture."
Saying "we must regard our-
selves as our brothers keepers,”
James joined the chorus of criti-
cism against those who brought
“race” and “voter padding” into
the mix. He said there are "gen-
uine Trinidadians" who are "will-
ing to help” even while hearing
the “negatives, and we must be
“reminded that quality must be
allowed to prevail.”
We won't turn
If Dominican nationals enter this
country with nowhere to stay, Gov-
ernment will meet its commitment
under the United Nations Charter
and accept them as refugees, Prime
Minister Dr Keith Rowley said yes-
“We are duty bound not to turn
them back, they could become a
ward of the state," he said.
He knocked critics of Govern-
ment's call for citizens to open
their doors to the people of Dom-
inica and said he was disappointed
that some people tried to turn it
into a race issue, as had happened
more than a quarter century ago in
1991 when late Prime Minister Pat-
rick Manning tried to assist Haitians
devastated by a natural disaster.
"There is no expiry date on
doing good, there is no expiry date
on being decent," said Rowley, who
added that the principle espoused
by Manning still holds.
He said those seeking to ind
race and politics in the decision
and talking about citizens of this
country not being able to feed
themselves are selfish and live “in
a rabbit hole."
"They don't realise that if a natu-
ral disaster should strike this coun-
try we will expect others to help
us,” he said in a television interview
"One does not determine how
you express the milk of human
kindness by virtue of how you feel,
how much you have, or how hun-
gry you are. It is a question of hu -
He said he is optimistic the vast
majority of people, once given the
opportunity, will put their personal
needs aside and help.
He urged: “Whatever your cir-
cumstances, if you have 100 grains
of rice you might be able to share
two with them."
Rowley said Government did
not expect "huge numbers" of
Dominicans to come of T&T and
reiterated that the request was for
a six-month period, after which he
expected that they will return to
On the question of whether any
special legislation is required, he
said people entering the country
are governed by the Immigration
Rowley said if children are
among those who come they will
be placed in schools. He said Gov-
ernment is not in a position to give
Dominica a cheque but this coun-
try has provided helicopters and
vessels to transport supplies.
“We are making a valuable con -
tribution," he said. (See Page A16)
PM stunned by negative response to initiative
Hurricane victims assist a T&T helicopter crew to offload relief supplies in Dominica yesterday.
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