An open letter to the public...............................................................................................................................
Posted by Mayor Raymond Tim Kee | Facebook | Saturday 13 February, 2016
I am compelled to write to the public about the statements I made about behaviour at Carnival time, and the responsibility of persons, women specifically, to safeguard themselves against the predators that come out to play in droves for the season.
My statements about vulgarity were made in isolation when asked about safety, a week prior to the tragic incident with Asami Nagakiya.
It has been my observation, in my many years of service as a police officer and other public service capacities that there are groups of people who take the opportunity during the frenzied carnival activities, to not only grope and touch women without invitation, but also to rob, steal and "settle scores" with persons who are unaware due to diminished capacity from alcohol consumption, fatigue or other reasons.
These types take very little encouragement, and I 100% acknowledge that women are harassed daily, regardless of their attire; I have daughters so I am well aware. But it is no secret that predators seem to be especially active and bold during carnival festivities.
The inference in this statement was not that women are "inviting abuse" by having a good time. On the contrary the statement was the advice I would give to any female friend or family member, which is to protect yourself at all costs against lascivious men.
Is that statement untrue? Can we deny the depths to which some members of society have gone in the attack and preying on females, especially in recent times? Can we deny how depraved they have become? How many stories do we see weekly in the media about women being raped, abducted, children being molested and abused at the hands of these very same individuals to which I referred. Is it reckless to assert that these are the unfortunate times that we live in where many men take the simplest sign of friendliness as an opportunity to approach a woman?
Is it the woman's fault for existing and smiling or looking attractive? Never. Should I have admonished the behaviour of these predators in my statement? Absolutely. And I humbly apologise for not doing so, but the problem of rapists, thieves and abusers is a bigger fight, and less about prevention via caution and more about finding a cure for the environments that spawn and nurture them.
In a speech about carnival safety the former message was easier to disseminate and I regret not also including a warning to would-be perpetrators that their actions would not be tolerated by the armed forces.
I cannot continue without insisting that the way this statement was linked to Asami's death was both reckless and vicious on the part of a particular media house, in what I can only conceive to be an attempt to drum up controversy.
I have apologised to the public for the timing of the statement on safety measures and I am more than willing to speak to any of the concerned interest groups on the topic who would like to discuss, fairly and openly, in further detail.
If nothing else, this should be seen as an opportunity to discuss these very same gender issues that continue to plague the country and start a conversation on how we can curb the behaviour of the negative elements in society, starting from the bottom and moving upwards.
I have seen the narrative switch from one of understandable outrage to unadulterated personal bashing. My daughters and wife have been brought up in conversations, with one group even going so far to bring up an irrelevant instance of my daughter's dancing when she was a pre-teen, while participating in her dance school's carnival celebrations.
Is that what we have had to sink to? Is it necessary to try to degrade a person's family members who are wholly unconnected to the issue at hand? Is it fair on one hand to protest injustices to women while wildly and wantonly performing the very same "shaming" and abuse that you have accused me of? I think if you dig deep you will see that it is completely unacceptable and unfair.
When asked about Asami, like the rest of the public, I did not know the intricacies of the crime at hand. The news of her discovery was still very fresh and I was not completely prepared to discuss it in an intimate way. I could only have assumed foul play was at hand based on the nature of her discovery and the presence of bruises and wounds on her body, which is why my statement about women protecting themselves was very broad and very general. It was not about Asami's case specifically and in retrospect, as I have said before, I regret the timing of this message.
When we talk about Asami's death today, it has been overshadowed by the controversy of my statements which is regretful.
Let us focus on moving forward, having open discussions and finding a solution to the problems that we face. Let us expend our energies towards solving Asami's murder, as well as the multitude of crimes that continue to plague the country today. Let us continue to offer our condolences to her family and give her the tributes, as a purveyor of our culture, that she deserves.
I have seen the protests. I have received the messages. I understand the issues at hand and would like to find a solution.
When I became Mayor of Port of Spain, it is because I had a vision to take the city forward, to continue and improve on the work of the persons before me. I still have more work to do this year and I am not willing to give up. I have always had an open door policy and am always open to dialogue. What I am not open to is crucifixion without mutual respect and understanding and hope to move forward. SOURCE
A Note From The Gull
Thank you, Mayor Raymond Tim Kee for taking this opportunity to provide a more detailed explanation following your apology.
I have been reading the local and foreign commentary and the only conclusion which I can share at this point is that without an original, unaltered recording of your comments, there is no way for an objective observer to be certain that the the reports circulating have faithfully adhered to timelines and the positioning of excerpts.
"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.
Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.
Mweh ka allay!