Cepep suspends Cro Cro after offensive video

Ca­lyp­son­ian We­st­on Rawl­ins, bet­ter known as Cro Cro, has been sus­pend­ed from the State-run Com­mu­ni­ty-Based En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion and En­hance­ment Pro­gramme (Cepep) af­ter an ob­scene out­burst while dri­ving a com­pa­ny ve­hi­cle.

Rawl­ins served as the Cepep South­ern Re­gion­al Co­or­di­na­tor and was sus­pend­ed with im­me­di­ate ef­fect ear­li­er to­day af­ter a video was shared on so­cial me­dia of Rawl­ins dri­ving a Cepep pick-up and curs­ing an­oth­er dri­ver.

In an in­ter­view yes­ter­day Rur­al De­vel­op­ment and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Min­is­ter Kaz­im Ho­sein con­firmed that Rawl­ins had been sus­pend­ed and his Cepep-as­signed ve­hi­cle was tak­en away.

"I was in Sen­ate (yes­ter­day) when I was alert­ed to the video, it was sent to me by sev­er­al peo­ple," Ho­sein said.

"I con­tact­ed the chair­man of Cepep (Ash­ton Ford) and asked him to look in­to it," Ho­sein said.

Ho­sein said Ford, a for­mer gen­er­al sec­re­tary of Peo­ple's Na­tion­al Move­ment gen­er­al sec­re­tary, met with Rawl­ins at 8 am to­day and just af­ter lunch, he was in­formed of the sus­pen­sion and a pend­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

In the 42-sec­ond video, a pas­sen­ger in an­oth­er ve­hi­cle can be heard ad­mon­ish­ing Rawl­ins for dri­ving while on his cell­phone, telling him he would "kill some­body".

Rawl­ins re­spond­ed with ex­ple­tives, ask­ing the pas­sen­ger if he was the po­lice.

The pas­sen­ger then prods Rawl­ins to use his phone again, to which Rawl­ins re­sponds "it's my phone".

The record­ing pas­sen­ger then yells at Rawl­ins that it is against the law to dri­ve while on the phone and calls him a fool.

He al­so tells him he was "dri­ving the peo­ple" ve­hi­cle, re­fer­ring to the Cepep pick-up, to which Rawl­ins replies that he drove a Mer­cedes Benz.

"I is Cro Cro, with your lil small car," Rawl­ins says as he drove away.

Just last year at the Ca­lyp­so tents, the vo­cal Peo­ple's Na­tion­al Move­ment (PNM) sup­port­er bashed the par­ty. In that ca­lyp­so, Rawl­ins crit­i­cised Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley and mem­bers of his gov­ern­ment. He ac­cused them of not an­swer­ing his calls and cast­ing him aside af­ter he helped them to win the elec­tion.

When he was slammed by PNM sup­port­ers for turn­ing against the par­ty, Cro Cro was un­apolo­getic.

In me­dia re­ports then he said that when the Unit­ed Na­tion­al Con­gress (UNC) was in pow­er, the po­lit­i­cal leader "fixed up she peo­ple" but crit­i­cised the PNM for leav­ing the "black man" to suf­fer.

Guardian Me­dia learned that Rawl­ins got the job of re­gion­al co­or­di­na­tor af­ter Car­ni­val last year. The post comes with a $10,000 per month salary and the use of a com­pa­ny ve­hi­cle.

Guardian Me­dia reached out to Ford but was told he was un­avail­able at the time. Guardian Me­dia al­so at­tempt­ed to reach Rawl­ins but was un­suc­cess­ful.

A state­ment from Cepep said the views, in­for­ma­tion or opin­ions ex­pressed in the re­cent video of an em­ploy­ee us­ing of­fen­sive lan­guage be­long sole­ly to the in­di­vid­ual and does not in any way what­so­ev­er rep­re­sent those of the com­pa­ny.

"The po­si­tion of The Cepep Com­pa­ny Lim­it­ed is straight-for­ward and un­com­pro­mis­ing – we do not and will not tol­er­ate any kind of bel­liger­ent lan­guage or be­hav­iour.

The com­pa­ny sin­cere­ly apol­o­gis­es for any dis­tress caused by the in­di­vid­ual’s ut­ter­ances and wish­es to as­sure the pub­lic that nec­es­sary mea­sures would be put in place to avoid any sim­i­lar oc­cur­rences," it added.

Reporter: R

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