Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Permission to protest

...warning against blocking road

Protesters assembled at the Preysal Recreation ground. Photo: TREVOR WATSON


UNITED National Congress (UNC) supporters have been granted permission to protest outside the Couva Children's Hospital. They can engage in civil disobedience between 11.30a.m. and 12.30p.m. according to the police.

The protest group, numbering about 200, will be led by Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar. They will not be allowed to drive to the location. They will have to walk from Preysal Village to the hospital site located near Indian Trail Village.

The protesters have been told they will must comply with the directions of police officers and will be allowed to walked along the highway's south-bound shoulder to the lay-by leading to the hospital where the march will end.

Among the protesters are Barataria Member of Parliament Dr Fuad Khan, Senator Wade Mark, and Caroni East MP Dr Tim Gopeesingh.

THE police prepared for the protest by placing no-parking signs and barriers along the south-bound lane of the Solomon Hochoy Highway in the vicinity of the hospital entrance to prevent vehicles from stopping or parking in this area.

Last Friday, there was traffic mayhem along the highway after United National Congress (UNC) supporters and politicians suddenly showed up on the shoulder of the highway and staged a placard protest.

The protesters called for the opening of the hospital, and criticised the decision of the State to spend $90 million to open the Brian Lara Cricket Academy and Stadium.

It took commutes hours to get to their homes, and even longer for people headed to the opening of the Brian Lara stadium in Tarouba, to get to that location.

The Ministry of National Security responded with a statement that law enforcement was investigating whether any of the protesters could be held criminally liable in the protest, and accused the group of putting the lives of motorists in jeopardy, while trying to score cheap political points.

The Ministry's position was criticised by many who pointed out that similar protests across the country were never met with such a response.

The UNC's political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar responded with a call for today's protest, asking supporters to assemble at the Preysal Recreation Ground before heading to the highway.

On Wednesday during a press briefing in Port of Spain, ASP Michael Pierre said that anyone who broke the law by blocking the road would be arrested.