Port of Spain Mayor officially resigns; calls for another mayor to go

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Former Port of Spain Mayor, Raymond Tim Kee


PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Wednesday February 17, 2016 – Raymond Tim Kee is no longer the Mayor of Trinidad and Tobago’s capital city.

A week after making controversial comments after the murder of a Japanese Asami Nagakiya, a Japanese pannist who visited the twin-island republic for Carnival, Tim Kee handed in the resignation that he had announced over the weekend he would submit.

The man who served as his deputy, Kieron Valentine, is the new mayor and will be sworn in soon.

“It was really a sad moment, an uncomfortable feeling to take over the mayorship under such circumstances, but in politics these things do happen and we are all saddened by it,” Valentine told reporters yesterday evening after a meeting of the Port of Spain City Council.

In a statement issued yesterday afternoon after he tendered his resignation to the Chief Executive Officer of the Port of Spain Corporation, Tim Kee said he accepted full responsibility for his comments.

The mayor had been under severe pressure to quit since last Wednesday, when, in response to questions from reporters following the discovery of the 30-year-old’s body in the Queen’s Park Savannah, still clad in a Carnival costume, he reiterated comments he made prior to Carnival about the need for women to maintain their dignity during the festivities and ensure they are not abused.

“Public officials must be held to a high standard of transparency, good governance, and accountability and I accept full responsibility for making the reference that cast a shadow on the death of . . . Nagakiya,” his statement said, continuing with condolences to the deceased’s family, friends and countrymen.

“My patriotism and commitment to making a difference and contributing positively to my beloved country is not diminished by recent events. I express my sincere gratitude to those who trusted me to lead this city. I did my best, and I accept full responsibility for my actions and utterances. To the people of this country who feel they have been let down, I unreservedly apologize.”

Tim Kee said although his time in office was short, he tried to lay the groundwork that would allow his successor to address some of the key challenges facing the city, and he hoped that person would continue to build relationships with all stakeholders to fix those problems.

“We assured Mayor Tim Kee that the work of the city will go on and we will stick to his projects. I gave him the commitment that the projects we have started in terms of development, I will press on with the support of the council,” the new mayor, Valentine, said.

Tim Kee’s resignation had been expected to be handed in on Monday, at the first meeting of the City Council since he announced he was stepping down.

When it was not, he was harshly criticized. Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar accused him of gross deception.

But he explained on a local radio station he just wanted the opportunity to first say goodbye to his colleagues and friends at the Corporation, and had not said anything about backtracking on his decision.

With Tim Kee now gone, the United National Congress (UNC) which Persad-Bissessar leads, along with the Independent Liberal Party (ILP), have ramped up their calls for the resignation of Point Fortin Mayor Clyde Paul, over statements he made in support of Tim Kee.

Paul had questioned why citizens were clamouring for the Port of Spain mayor to resign, and accused the protesters who marched against him last Friday of being hypocrites with a political agenda.

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