PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Tuesday February 16, 2016 – Port of Spain Mayor Raymond Tim Kee is being harshly criticized yet again, this time for now following through with his announced resignation over controversial comments.
And even the chairman of the People’s National Movement (PNM), of which Tim Kee is Treasurer, is insisting that he go ahead with his plan to step down, saying that it is the “only honourable thing to do”.
The mayor has been under severe pressure to quit since last Wednesday, when, in response to questions from reporters following the discovery of the body of 30-year-old Japanese masquerader and pannist Asami Nagakiya in the Queen’s Park Savannah in the capital, he reiterated the comments he made prior to Carnival about the need for women to maintain their dignity during the festivities and ensure they are not abused.
Over the weekend, Tim Kee announced in a statement to the media that the continued outrage and hurt over his comments were sufficient to cause damage to the Office of the Mayor of Port of Spain and he would therefore tender his resignation at an emergency meeting of the City Council.
A Council meeting took place yesterday, but when councillor and attorney Farai Masaisai emerged, he said Tim Kee did not hand in any resignation letter.
Furthermore, he expressed solidarity with the embattled mayor.
“The position of the Council is that we support our mayor and we would hope that he continues as mayor of Port of Spain,” he said.
Some of Tim Kee’s supporters who had gathered outside, were ecstatic at the development
However, those who had called for him to go, expressed disappointment.
Gross Deception by Mayor https://t.co/4pXcIbhw9y
— Kamla P. Bissessar (@MPKamla) February 15, 2016
“Mayor Tim Kee and the Council should be ashamed of themselves for engaging in what can only be described as an act of gross deception on the populace, indeed playing mas after the Carnival – a charade of immense proportions,” Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar said.
“Mr. Tim Kee has decided to resign, has made his decision public, and must follow through with his resignation by sending immediately his letter of resignation to the officer legally designated in law to receive same, namely, the CEO of the City Corporation. Anything less is to fly in the face of right thinking citizens on this issue and but just a grand charade.”
She also accused the PNM administration of being a part of the charade.
Persad-Bissessar pointed out that the City Council has no role in receiving, considering or accepting Tim Kee’s resignation as mayor since, under the Municipal Corporations Act, the mayor can resign at any time by delivering his signed letter to the Chief Executive Officer of the City Corporation.
“If the Mayor really intended to resign, he would have just sent his letter to the CEO of the Corporation as provided by law. The City Council has no power in law to receive, reject or to accept such resignation,” she contended.
The Independent Liberal Party (ILP) also contended that by not following through on his promise to demit office yesterday, Tim Kee has further tarnished his own integrity and credibility, and disgraced himself and his office.
“Tim Kee’s action proves that he has no honour, that his words have no value and that he has no respect for the national community,” the ILP said in a statement last night.
Meantime, PNM chairman Franklin Khan, who is also Urban Development and Local Government Minister under whose responsibility the Port of Spain City Corporation falls, urged Tim Kee to follow through with his resignation.
“In the capacity as chairman, I speak on behalf of the leadership of the party, indicating that we sup- port Tim Kee’s original intention to resign and we think that he should proceed to do such in a timely manner. It is our opinion that he erred in the statements he issued and the only honourable thing to do now is tender his resignation,” Khan said.