The People’s National Movement (PNM) is dragging one of the Progressive Democratic Patriots’ (PDP) deputy leaders, Farley Augustine, over the coals for comments he made about Trinidad and Tobago Olympian Michelle-Lee Ahye.
Augustine, in turn, is accusing the PNM of taking his comments out of context, saying they were directed to the Government and sporting officials, not the athlete.
On July 31, Augustine reacted on Facebook to Ahye’s Twitter post, questioning why famous T&T-born rapper Nicki Minaj only complemented the Jamaican women sprinters’ performance in the 100 metres Olympic race.
“Guess I needed to win a medal for @nickiminaj to recognize her own country flag,” Ahye had tweeted.
She later deleted the tweet stating “That tweet got people heated” and when someone suggested that Minaj made her delete it, she replied, “Made me?? Ain’t nobody could make me do anything.”
Augustine was one of many who commented on Ahye’s tweet.
“I don’t understand how people who are failing, expecting recognition. What Nicki tweeting her to say? We carried the worse Olympic team in years and expect adoration?” Augustine said in the now-deleted Facebook post.
The PNM’s Tobago West Youth League (TWYL) waded into the PDP’s area representative for Parlatuvier/L’ Anse Fourmi/Speyside.
“Farley Augustine’s disgust for national athlete, Michelle-Lee Ahye, for not medalling at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is tasteless and crass with no regard for our athletes who qualified for the international games.”
“The members of the Youth League believe that the Assemblyman’s derogatory comments seek to diminish our athletes…,” the league added.
“The Tobago West Youth League stands strong in supporting all our athletes who are competing at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Whether they medal or not, they continue to do our country proud, and we raise our flag in honor of their service.”
The league’s chairman Rachel Gregoire said: “…The physical and mental pressures of these athletes cannot be measured by those who are not in their shoes.”
Responding to the league, Augustine said the PNM was “dishonest.”
“The PNM took a small piece of conversation that I had online with Tobago professional footballer Kennya “Yaya” Cordner about Michelle Ahye demanding a tweet from Nicki Minaj,” he told Guardian Media.
He added: “And while it is easy to see how what was said can be misinterpreted, it is dishonest to pull piece of the thread, omit important details and give it a slant.”
He continued: “Even today, Kennya “Yaya” Cordner, who is a public supporter of the PNM made an angry stat in response to where PNM has taken the conversation…At no point did I blame the athletes for our failures… I blamed TTOC, government policies, and us the nation as a whole.”
He said for years Tobago’s athletes have been disadvantaged.
“Imagine we have six Tobagonians in the Olympics this year, but for years the Dwight Yorke Stadium remained inaccessible to our athletes…. We have athletes picking up injuries at Shaw park’s uneven turf…” Augustine said.
Minaj did not respond publicly to Ahye’s comments and Ahye, who is in Tokyo, Japan for the Olympic Games, could not be reached for comment.