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.