Peace, people —for T&T’s sake.
This was the call from the Opposition UNC and Independent Senator Paul Richards after yesterday’s riots.
The rash of riots erupted following the killing of three Morvant men last weekend allegedly by police.
Yesterday groups of protestors set tyres and debris alight in several areas including Morvant, Maloney, Malick/Barataria, Malabar, Belmont Circular, Cocorite, Petit Valley, Four Roads, Diego Martin, Sea Lots, Beetham, John John, Duncan/Nelson Streets, Carenage, Corinth Hills in South Trinidad, Gunshots were also fired off in parts of East PoS.
Police sought help from the army and both arms of the security forces advanced on protest points. But skirmishes continued into the afternoon.
Apart from disrupting business and other operations, the chaos also affected yesterday’s Parliamentary sitting of the Senate which was postponed due to non-attendance of most members.
At the start of the sitting Senate President Christine Kangaloo noted the absence of senators. That number included most of the Government and Independent senators and all Opposition senators also.
Shortly after, Leader of Government Senate benches Franklin Khan announced the Senate would be adjourned to tomorrow.
UNC public relations officer Anita Haynes and other Opposition senators were en route to the Parliament in PoS when they were alerted to the Senate’s postponement.
Haynes added, “We’d initially received a message from the Leader of Government bench that the sitting would be on and the three UNC senators from South Trinidad—myself, Sean Sobers and Taharqa Obika decided to carpool to Port-of-Spain. Our colleague Kadijah Ameen who lives in the East was also on her way to Port-of-Spain, but was advised by security along the way that people were turning around and couldn’t enter Port of Spain.“
“At around 1.15 pm we also got a message that the Senate sitting would be adjourned to another date. People were unable to get into Port-of-Spain at that point so we turned around. We were also concerned for Parliament staff if the sitting had continued.”
On the violence that hit areas, Haynes said, “It’s clear there is a level of anger in communities,” she said noting the UNC has spoken of plans to improve areas and what it could mean for communities, “It’s something that must be dealt with,” Haynes said.
UNC’s Suruj Rambachan said, “The police matters at issue with the communities should be probed by independent investigators. People are clearly upset. The police should also have consultations with them.“
On the fact that issues occurred in PNM strongholds particularly, Rambachan said he couldn’t necessarily say “the political tide was turning there.”
Head of the Independent bench Paul Richards said, “(Today) was a very, very disturbing and unfortunate day for T&T.”
“I’m not condoning any of the riotings, protesting and looting - that should never have happened. But we have to be careful in T&T as people are on edge. People in leadership positions must be careful what they say. I hope people understand what can happen in T&T,” he said. —Gail Alexander
What happened in T&T yesterday cannot be allowed to escalate to become an ideology, Port-of-Spain People’s Movement (PPM) leader Louis Lee Sing said.
Lee Sing who went to Morvant Junction and surrounding areas yesterday, added, “The recent shootings that prompted the protest should have urgent detailed professional probe. But I cannot subscribe to the conflict as a way to solve our challenges, we in PPM and the Better United group (of parties) will have no part of people involved in that.”
He said Monday’s meeting with the MSJ and Kirth Waithe’s NOW resulted in agreement that while MSJ won’t work under Better United, the BU entities and MSJ won’t compete against each other when fielding candidates.
But he said Waithe has to return to his group to decided on any involvement.