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UDP Chairman talks on Teakettle “tussle”

UDP chairman Senator Michael Peyrefitte was asked for the party’s position on the matter and said that if Trapp was assaulted, she needs to file a report. He also said that it appears that Espat was acting his typical bullish way. 

Michael Peyrefitte, Chairman, UDP: “We’re offended by what the police officer has said. I wasn’t there, none of us were there so we have to go with what the officer is saying but based on what we’ve heard from her it doesn’t strike us like she is telling any tales. It sounds to me like this is something that really happened, I believe her but like I said if she was assaulted, if she was harmed in any way then she needs to make a report to the police and say so because there doesn’t have to be any physical contact for there to be an assault. Maybe Chester will come and oppose that too but if indeed a situation occurred where the officer was assaulted she needs to press charges and charges need to come. Given what we know about Julius Espat I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s true because this is the type of behavior that he displays all the time. This government acts as if though they can dictate to people what to say, what to believe, how to act. It’s like they almost want to pass a law to make everybody vote PUP or everybody support PUP. They forget sometimes that we live in a democracy and not everybody is going to support you. And so when you have election day and opposing people come and want to vote they should be freely allowed to exercise their franchise without have to worry about political pressure. Providing what the officer says is true this is absolutely unacceptable behavior by the member for Corozal South but it wouldn’t be the first time his behavior in my view is unacceptable.”

However, the chairman insisted that an investigation must take place. As we now know, Trapp says she filed a report against Minister Espat and is seeking court action. Meanwhile, Senator Peyrefitte criticized both the Ministry of Human Development and the Special Envoy’s office for their silence on the matter. He believes that these bodies are being politically selective. 

Michael Peyrefitte, Chairman, UDP:  “A thorough investigation needs to take place and we need to get to the bottom of exactly what happened there and this government is always quick to suspend people or to malign public officers whenever they don’t act the way how they’re supposed to act in their view or be subservient to some government minister. We see how quickly they suspended the officer who supposedly hung up the phone on the Prime Minister. We see how quickly now they want to move on officer Trapp because she had the guts and the gumption to say no this is what I am, this is what I do, I come to vote. Whenever people want to stand for their principles or what they have  right to do this government seems to want to penalize you if it is not in their favor and we can’t accept that .We must speak out on that at all times and let’s not let it pass that whenever you have situations like these the Special Envoy for Women and Children, the Minister of Human Development would always come out and speak up and be aggressive in their defense of women but this time they’re completely silent and that is unacceptable too. We have to be consistent. You can’t just be for women when it benefits the PUP you have to be for women always and all the time whether it’s UDP and PUP and you must put that truth to power but it seems like this government is very selective when it comes to protecting women.”

Trapp’s boss, Police Commissioner Chester Williams said he saw her Facebook diatribe and said she may have breached the Public Service Regulations and very likely violated the department’s social media policy. Senator Peyrefitte agrees that while she should not have gone on social media, often times people resort to social media because they have no faith in the system.

Michael Peyrefitte, Chairman, UDP:  “Whatever may have happened on the ground is one thing now you’re asking me whether or not she should have expressed her feelings or acted that way on social media and post it. That is a separate question now right ? I would have said from that standpoint she should not have done that. She should not have done that. She should have handled it more professionally than that. She should have made a formal complaint to the government, she should have made a formal complaint to her commissioner and then action should have been taken from there. However we live in a society where an opposing Senator cannot get a straight answer from the Minister of Finance containing how the government’s money is being spent. People have a feeling that the only way they’re voices can be heard is if the public knows about it because then you know what would have probably happened had she done it the professional way, we would have never known probably that it happened at all so people are starting to feel that the only way to have your issues be heard is to let the public know because otherwise this government doesn’t encourage people to formally complain through the system.”

The UDP’s women’s organisation called Espat’s actions quote “disrespectful and chauvinistic and an intentional act of violence against a woman police officer”. The UDP NOW has demanded a public apology from Espat to Trapp. They also condemn what they describe as attempts by the Commissioner to target Trapp as punishment for publicizing the attack. For his part, Espat maintains that Trapp’s account is false.