Rowley: I was Kamla’s ‘Political Husband’ at Mandela’s Funeral

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Caption: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, left, with Minister of Youth Development and National Service Foster Cummings, centre and Energy Minister Stuart Young at Balisier House for the PNM Mix and Mingle on Tuesday

By Prior Benarry

PRIME Minister Dr Keith Rowley says while in South Africa attending the funeral of Nelson Mandela for official purposes he was the “husband” of Kamla Persad-Bissessar – the head of government at that time.

He made the comment at a political meeting in the Croisee in San Juan on Thursday evening.

Dr Rowley said, “It was a very interesting experience for me, because for a couple hours, I was, for official purposes, the husband of the prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago.”

He explained that in December 2013, as opposition leader, then prime minister Persad-Bissessar had asked him to accompany the T&T’s delegation to the funeral of former South African president Mandela.

When he made the comment of being the husband of Persad-Bissessar, there were large murmurs from the crowd.

Dr Rowley said, “I was that.”

He said kings, queens, presidents and other dignitaries went to South Africa for Mandela’s funeral and were put on buses according to their status.

Rowley said kings were first to view Mandela’s body and as he was there as opposition leader, he was lower down the order.

He said that Persad-Bissessar told him to accompany her on the prime ministers’ bus or he would have had to wait quite a long time to view Mandela’s body.

Dr Rowley said, Persad-Bissessar told him, “So when they call prime ministers, you will accompany me on to the prime ministers’ coach.”

He added, “So I complied and I escorted the lady on to the coach and I sat as husband of the prime minister of T&T.”

Rowley said in the bus, Persad-Bissessar discussed with him pensions for judges and MPs and he supported a bill that was to come to the Parliament to improve these pensions.

He said, “I said yes, when we get back home, bring the bill and the opposition will support the bill.”

But, he said when the bill was brought to the Parliament, the government refused to support it, claiming that Persad-BIssessar, was being greedy.

Dr Rowley said he then told Persad-Bissessar, “You have sacrificed your principles to try and save yourself from political problems.”

He said he also told Persad-Bissessar that he will win the next general elections and pass that bill into law, adding that it was passed after the PNM returned to office in September 2015.

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