By Admin. Updated 5:55 a.m., Monday, August 22, 2022, Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4).
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves says that Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Keisal Melissa Peters does not bleach her skin.
In a call to WEFM’s Issue at Hand program on August 21, Dr. Gonsalves sought to dispel as “gutter politics instituted by Jomo Thomas” allegations that Senator Peters bleaches her skin.
“She is a strong, bright, beautiful, committed patriotic black woman who emphatically does not bleach her skin,” Dr. Gonsalves said about Senator Peters.
Ms. Peters is set to be instituted as the full minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, this week, PM Gonsalves said.
It is not clear how exactly the skin bleaching allegation about the Senator began, but a post on July 26, 2022, on the Facebook page of journalist Kenton Chance with the caption, “Senator Peters should try harder to protect her fingers from sunburns” gained notoriety on social media.
Some people on social media interpreted Mr. Chance’s post to mean that the Senator bleaches, but it was a comment on radio by lawyer, former Unity Labour Party candidate and House Speaker – Jomo Thomas that spurred much discussion on the issue.
On the August 17 edition of the OMG morning program on BOOM 106.9 FM, Mr. Thomas, who was at the time discussing ministerial changes and other matters, said:
“…Keisal is 36-years-old I saw some place in the media. She is now minister of foreign affairs; she is the first female minister of foreign affairs we have had; but how is she going to stand up in the United Nations or in any other international fora and talk about reparations when she’s bleaching her skin? How is she gonna do that especially today – the anniversary of the birth of Marcus Moziah Garvey?”
One of the hosts of the morning show, Ms. Danielle Veira, interjected and said: “Counsel, I don’t think that’s fair,” to which Mr. Thomas replied: “It is fair,” to which Veira replied: “no… if you think that’s what she’s doing”.
Mr. Thomas replied, “if I think?,” to which Ms. Veira answered, “yeah, I said if you think,” to which Mr. Thomas replied: “watch her over the last two years, watch her complexion over the last two years…”.
Ms. Veira accused Mr. Thomas of bringing his personal opinion on the matter.
“It is not a personal attack. It is a question of consciousness,” Mr. Thomas said.
In response to Mr. Thomas’ remarks about Senator Peters, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said on WEFM in August 21 that Mr. Thomas “doesn’t know one single thing about her dermatology. He doesn’t know anything about her skin, so he must just shut up and not degenerate in this kind of a nasty puerile manner simply because she belongs to the Unity Labour Party which he left because he couldn’t sustain himself in a party with the aims and objectives of our party, the obligations of a party member, and his ambition ran ahead of him; his ego ran ahead of him…”.
The prime minister said Senator Peters “comes from the bowels of the working class,” and “she is a child of the education revolution”.
He accused Mr. Thomas of “petite bourgeois” behaviour and going to the gutter with the issue.
Senator Peters herself has not cleared the air on the issue.