Thursday 5 December, 2019

Hinds under fire for ‘callous’ comments after fishermen's tragedy

Minister in the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs Fitzgerald Hinds has found himself in hot water following comments he made in relation to the manner in which government treated with the families of Orange Valley fishermen who went missing at sea.  

Hinds on a morning television talk show said if there was a request by families of the murdered and still-missing fishermen, the government security patrol would have intervened.

Further, he said as there was no Member of Parliament for Couva in government, there was no need for a government representative to go to the wake or funeral.

Describing the remarks as callous and insensitive, Couva North MP Ramona Ramdial called for an apology from the Junior Minister.

She noted that since the unfortunate incident on Monday, there have been no visits or communication between the Minister of National Security, Minister of Agriculture, Chief of Coast Guard and families of the dead and missing fishermen.

Ramdial reminded Hinds that as elected public officers and a sitting government Minister, he has a duty and responsibility to all the people of Trinidad & Tobago.

She labelled his comments as “rather unfortunate” and indicate his political bias toward the people of Couva.

In response to Ramdial’s call for an apology, National Security Minister Stuart Young accused the MP of continuing to use the “sad and painful tragedy that a number of families have been, and are being, put through by the criminal elements as a political grandstand”.

Young chastised the Couva North MP for what he said was engaging in cheap politics capitalising on the pain, grief, and trauma of victims of crime.

 “I refuse to use the loss and trauma that victims of crime suffer as a political tool or moment of political opportunity,” he said.

He said that he was in contact with the relevant heads of security from the time I was alerted to the attack on the fishermen last week, and requested that air and sea assets be deployed to join the search for the missing men.

Minister Young expressed his condolences to the families whose relatives’ lives were lost “at the hands of heinous criminals”.

“We, in the National Security apparatus, will not rest in our continued fight against criminality,” Young concluded.

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