VETERAN calypsonian Weston “Cro Cro” Rawlins has been suspended from his job at the Community-Based Environmental Protection and Enhancement Programme (CEPEP).
This came after a video posted to social media on Tuesday showed him shouting and cursing another driver while driving a CEPEP pick-up van.
In a release issued yesterday, CEPEP chairman Ashton Ford sought to distance the state-run company from Cro Cro.
“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 CEPEP Company Ltd,” he wrote.
“The position of the CEPEP Company Ltd is straightforward 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.”
Speaking yesterday on local radio station I95.5 FM, Ford confirmed that Cro Cro was suspended with immediate effect pending an investigation.
Contacted for comment, Cro Cro was unrepentant and insisted he was defending himself, claiming the driver who recorded the video used racial slurs against him.
Cro Cro told Newsday he was defending his ethnicity, as the other driver called him a stupid n—-r. He said the racial slur aroused his anger and caused him to defend himself robustly.
Cro Cro said he had already written a calypso about the issue and was on his way to record it at a studio when Newsday called him.
“That video that is being shown (on social media) is one-sided. It does not show his racist attack against me.
“The man used racial slurs and I could not take that. In the United States, people kill and get killed for racial hatred and using racial slurs,” Cro Cro said.
He added that he deliberately identified himself to the driver of the other vehicle, “because I wanted him to know who I am and that I am not afraid of standing up for my rights. I always stand up for black people.” While not apologetic for his utterances as captured in the video, Cro Cro said he was sorry if he had brought CEPEP into disrepute.
“If it was Lent and I was in the Pope-mobile or I was driving my own private vehicle, I would have done the same thing! Unfortunately, I was in a CEPEP vehicle at the time and I apologise for that.”
On being suspended, Cro Cro said: “Before CEPEP, I was alive and kicking, so with all due respect, if that is what they have to do, that is what they have to do. When they investigate, I hope they get to the truth, that somebody riled me up from a racial point of view and made me respond in that manner.”