• Trinidad & Tobago
  • Trinidad & Tobago

    Election 2020

August 10,2020
  • DAYS
  • HRS
  • MINS
  • SECS
Monday 3 August, 2020

UNC leader concerned over ‘violent unrest’, urges calm

Police and members of the Defence Force were called in on Tuesday to quell protests across the capital city.

Police and members of the Defence Force were called in on Tuesday to quell protests across the capital city.

Resorting to violence is not the answer.

The advice comes from United National Congress (UNC) leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar in light of city-wide protests in Port-of-Spain on Tuesday.

The protests followed the extrajudicial killing of three men in Morvant last Saturday.

In a statement on Wednesday, Persad-Bissessar expressed concern over the “violent unrest” as she called for respect and urged calm while an investigation into the killing by the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) is carried out.

She noted that the protests saw disruptions to business operations and the free flow of traffic, while police came under fire and a pregnant woman was killed.

She said Tuesday’s events are a direct consequence of punitive policies by the Dr Keith Rowley-led administration’s which have impoverished vulnerable communities.

“Naturally, the people from the most neglected, vulnerable communities—unironically the PNM’s long standing urban strongholds—have suffered the most.”

She chastised the Government for its response in the face of these happenings, stating that they have failed to represent the citizens who have “faithfully given their votes to form Government for over 40 years”.

“Even Prime Minister Rowley is nowhere to be found to provide urgent, decisive leadership to a traumatised, despairing nation, which is now falling apart at its very social and economic seams.”

Persad-Bissessar accused Government of playing the blame game.

Taking note of National Security Minister Stuart Young’s statement that people were being paid to protest, the UNC leader said it reinforced a “painful, historical and damaging stereotype”.

She said the law-abiding citizens in communities so branded should not be labelled as criminals based on the actions a “few rogue individuals”.

Persad-Bissessar expressed the view that the situation will improve and peace would be restored.

“Resorting to violence is not the answer.  At this time, it is my hope that good sense will prevail, and law enforcement officials are able to quickly restore peace in our capital city.”

Below is the full statement from the UNC leader:

I encourage respect and calm amid widespread protests in the capital city 

I am deeply concerned about the violent unrest in our nation’s capital. I encourage all to respect each other and for peace and calm while we await the independent investigation by the Police Complaints Authority into the shooting incident over the weekend which reportedly sparked yesterday's protests.

Many of you may have seen the videos circulating on social and other media of a few rogue individuals who have been assaulting and disrespecting our officers.

Businesses were forced to close early while public servants at the AG’s office had to duck bullets. Thousands of innocent citizens were caught in the dangerous crossfire.

Gridlocked traffic jams prevailed as police barred people from entering the city. Police officers were shot at while a pregnant mother was killed.

This is the direct consequence of the failed Rowley Government’s cruel, punitive and destructive policies which have impoverished and pauperized citizens in the past five years.

 Naturally, the people from the most neglected, vulnerable communities—unironically the PNM’s long standing urban strongholds—have suffered the most.

For too long, they have been trapped in never-ending cycles of poverty, neglect and alleged abuse at the behest of the State. These are the same citizens who have faithfully given their votes to form Government for over 40 years.

No Cabinet Minister or PNM MP has offered to do their duty and represent their desperate, legitimate concerns in the wake of this latest,‘tipping point’ incident.

Instead, Minister Young contemptuously and dismissively branded them ‘paid criminals’, reinforcing a painful, historical and damaging stereotype.

Even Prime Minister Rowley is nowhere to be found to provide urgent, decisive leadership to a traumatized, despairing nation, which is now falling apart at its very social and economic seams

I continue to hold the belief that there are many good, kind, and law-abiding citizens in these communities and they should not be all labelled as criminals because of the actions of some.

Resorting to violence is not the answer.  At this time, it is my hope that good sense will prevail, and law enforcement officials are able to quickly restore peace in our capital city.

 The Minister of National Security using mantras of “The Blame Game” is also not the solution. The country will completely collapse if they are ever given another term in office. They must truly never see the corridors of Government again.

Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: