Political leader of the United National Congress (UNC), Kamla Persad-Bissessar has apologised to United Kingdom politician Sir Kier Starmer, after her congratulatory message to President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden, reflected the exact wording of several of Starmer’s tweets.
Persad-Bissessar’s Facebook page said it was due to an administrative error.
“Today we experienced an administrative error. We apologise for this mistake and have since taken steps to ensure this does not reoccur. Apologies extended to Sir Keir Starmer,” her Facebook page stated late Saturday.
The original post on her page was removed and a new message was posted last night. In it, Persad-Bissessar said, “On behalf of the United National Congress, I wish to extend congratulations to President-elect Joe Biden on becoming the 46th President of the United States. I wish to also extend a special congratulations to the new Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, who is now the first woman and person of colour to hold this office.”
However, the UNC’s Larry Lalla, who is supporting Vasant Bharath for the post of political leader in the upcoming UNC internal elections, said Persad-Bissessar must recognise that what happened amounts to fraud.
He was critical of how Persad-Bissessar handled the matter, as he addressed a news conference hosted by Bharath yesterday (See page 9).
Lalla said: “In relation to the issue of party embarrassment I want to raise the matter which occurred last evening when it became obvious that the Facebook page of Mrs Kamla Persad-Bissessar was guilty of plagiarism in the most embarrassing way of taking the statement that was uttered than none other than the leader of the Opposition in the United Kingdom and reproducing that here in Trinidad and Tobago.”
He continued: “And then the release that is issued said it is an administrative error. Well, madam, I want to tell you that was not an administrative error. It is fraud and it serves to further embarrass every single member of this party and the least that you could do is to take personal responsibility for it and issue an immediate apology to the leader of the Opposition in the UK.”
Persad-Bissessar was Prime Minister when Biden visited T&T in May 2013, where he met with some CARICOM leaders and signed a CARICOM Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) on behalf of the United States.