Port of Spain mayor resigns


PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – Raymond Tim Kee is no longer mayor of Trinidad and Tobago’s capital city.
A week after making controversial comments after the murder of a Japanese Asami Nagakiya, a pannist who visited the twin-island republic for Carnival, Tim Kee handed in the resignation 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.
The mayor had been under severe pressure to quit 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’s resignation had been expected to be handed 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 city offices.