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T&T: Online support for PoS Mayor

RAYMOND TIM KEE 21_0By Sascha Wilson from Guardian T&T

An online campaign has been launched in defence of Mayor Raymond Tim Kee, who is expected to step down during a special sitting of the Port-of-Spain City Corporation today.

The online petition on Facebook is being spearheaded by Roger Rajan who is trying to get 500 signatures in support of his call for Tim Kee to reconsider his resignation. At 4.10 pm yesterday there were 263 signatures on the petition, far less than the 10,000 gathered for another online petition last week calling for his removal.

Rajan said: “We believe that the Mayor as a public figure simply offered words of concern that the general public has commented about in the past.” Support for Tim Kee also came from  Nadine Barbara Smith, who said she was his stepdaughter. On her Facebook page yesterday, Smith posted a statement in his defence along with a video of a two minute interview with him.

“I would just like to say it really hurts me to see that he has made the decision to resign, and to everyone who had any evil or hurtful thing to say to Mr. Tim Kee, you are worse than anything he has ever said.”

Smith added: “Yes, he could have said nothing. Yes, he could have been more sensitive toward the issue but he was not, and I do not find anything wrong in what he had to say.”

Tim Kee also seemed to be having a change of heart yesterday as he released an open letter to the public in which he said he still has work to complete and is not willing to give up.

“I have seen the protests. I have received the messages. I understand the issues at hand and would like to find a solution,” he wrote.

“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.”

Tim Kee, who has faced a major public outcry via social media, as well as a protest outside his office over his comments following the death of Japanese pan player Asima Nagakiya, said his statements about vulgarity “were made in isolation when asked about safety, a week prior to the tragic incident.”

“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.”

Tim Kee said the way the statement was linked to the death of Japanese pan player Asami Nagakiya 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.”

IMAGE: Mayor Raymond Tim Kee

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