Saturday 5 December, 2020

MP knocks 'unprecedented violence' under Rowley-led gov't

The assault of a Guardian Newspaper photojournalist during the execution of his official duties is just another example of the “unprecedented lawlessness and violence prevalent under the Rowley regime”.

That’s according to Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal who condemned the attack on Kristian De Silva, who was beaten by two men, as he attempted to get photos of the compound of A&V Drilling, the company at the centre of the Petrotrin oil fraud scandal, from the roadway.

De Silva was hit in the face, his camera smashed and his eyeglasses damaged during the assault.

One of his attackers is believed to be a senior police officer.

“The vicious assault of a working journalist on public property near to the business operation of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley’s declared friend Nazim Baksh is a frontal attack on freedom of the press.

I roundly condemn the brutal attack on Kristian de Silva, a Guardian staff photographer and an Oropouche East constituent.”

Moonilal said the attack on De Silva during the course of his professional duties reveals the dark side of the alleged use of the police to oppress citizens and the free press.

The MP called upon the Acting Police Commissioner to launch an investigation into the alleged use of police officers to harass and assault citizens. 

Moonilal noted that that this assault is not the first at the particular area targeting media workers, as another media house reported that two of its personnel had beer bottles hurled at them as they attempted to get footage of the compound earlier this week. 

He is of the view that the attack likens the country to that of rogue dictatorial countries under authoritarian rule, in which journalists are routinely assaulted, and even murdered while at work.

Calling on the Prime Minister to “denounce the attack on the free press and to distance himself from any lawless associate no matter how much they financially contribute to the PNM,” Moonilal suggested that De Silva’s attackers may have felt emboldened by Dr. Rowley’s declaration of his friendship with the A&V owner, Nizam Baksh.

The MP also urged the media fraternity and the Media Association (MATT) to stand in defence of its colleague who was physically assaulted while seeking to update the nation on one of the major news stories of the day.

“Media practitioners must assert that they will not be intimidated in the course of their professional duties, no matter how politically connected their assailants may be,” he concluded.

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