Bishop condemns race talk

Archbishop Joseph Harris.

PORT OF SPAIN — Roman Catholic Archbishop of Port-of-Spain Joseph Harris is calling on all politicians to refrain from making racial statements during the Tobago House of Assembly election. Harris made the appeal during a brief interview in response to a statement by deputy chief secretary of the THA Hilton Sandy at a meeting in Tobago last Friday.

Sandy advised PNM supporters to ensure the party wins the January 21 THA election to prevent a “Calcutta ship” from coming to take over the island. It was a sad day, said Harris, “when politicians have to use racial innuendoes and even racial picong to try to score points or win votes.”

Sandy has apologised for the statement, saying it was political picong. Harris said yesterday that Sandy’s initial comment, “Even if it was a mistake, was totally unacceptable. It should never have been said.” He said politicians and others should realise that the short-term gain they might get in votes could not compare to the damage such statements caused the nation, including “division, trouble and can lead to consequences which we will not like.”

Urging all politicians, all leaders to “stay away from racial statements and innuendoes, as they can’t help,” he said such statements “only let us down as individuals and as a people.” (Guardian)

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