More often than not, politicians open their mouths and say the most stupid of things.
It is called Foot in Mouth Disease.”
Ask Junia Regrello, the Mayor of San Fernando. He vex that SAPA was named after the late Indian artist, Sundar Popo, and not calypsonian, Stalin.
The latest to condemn the Mayor was Pundit Satyanand Maharaj, who accused him of making a racist call.
Maharaj called on Regrello to apologize as the Indian community felt hurt, insulted, upset and unsettled by his statement.
However, Regrello believes Maharaj, like a few others, were latching on to his statement to fuel their own agenda.
Hear him, “My wife is mixed, I am mixed and my eldest son is married to a woman who is half Indian.”
He explained that his pitch for the Dr Leroy Calliste auditorium was more profound, as Calliste was born in the heart of San Fernando and has represented the region at every level. Popo, he said, was a native of Monkey Town, Barrackpore.
But Maharaj said it was upsetting to know that if the Regrello had his way the Sundar Popo name would be wiped from the cultural landscape of T&T. He said this was a reflection of the People’s National Movement’s view of the contribution by the “Indian” population.
“After years of being accused of discrimination against the Indian population, nothing seems to have changed in the party that touts itself as a national party,” Maharaj said.
“Little or no Indians in the distribution of HDC homes, Indian lecturers at UTT fired and little or no Indo-cultural activities at State functions. The racist call of the Mayor is yet another incident of the PNM pandering to its ethnic base at the expense of national unity, appreciation and tolerance.
“We can only hope we do not have to wait for a week for an apology, as in the case of the last PNM act of discrimination, the now infamous Sari Skit, as I now also call upon the mayor to apologise for his insensitive statement.”
In defending himself, Regrello stated, “May I repeat that I never advocated a name change of the facility and would strongly recommend that the space remains under its current name. For the record, what I said was that if I was the MP for the area when it was built and the recommendation from me for the name of the venue was the Dr Leroy Calliste Auditorium. I went further to say that I am cognizant of the tremendous contribution made by Mr Popo but this was more profound than that.
“The real issue here is for proper recognition to be given to Stalin before it is too late. It is high time that we as a people stop seeing all that is in front of us through the lens of ethnicity. If they had named it after Ras Kommanda, who is of African descent and from San Fernando, my views would have been the same.”