Beetham residents need compassion not contempt
I want to sincerely thank DOMA (Downtown Owners and Merchants Association) and the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce. DOMA has articulated the views of many persons of African descent who feel marginalised in certain communities. They are constantly being stereotyped and judged on the colour of their skin, the way they dress, the clothes they wear and the way they plait or grow their hair, and not by the content of their character.
DOMA’s views were balanced and fair to all parties involved in the latest fracas in the Beetham. How many times have we witnessed these types of police killings in these communities and the Police Service handling the whole affair by applying more force and even violence. When such an incident occurs, the police’s top brass should have been there to speak on behalf of the service, giving persons reassurance.
How would you feel to see your loved one bleeding to death on the ground and not being able to render assistance? Does anyone remember the Sea Lots road fatalities—a mother and two daughters died, one man left paralysed—just to name the most recent as there are countless incidents of police force and brutality.
On another note, a daily newspaper putting on the front page an 81-year-old woman with her dress raised is totally appalling, another further attempt to stigmatise these people and communities.
Why do people act as if the subject is so taboo? There is always a hands-off approach to deal and treat with this issue, which is rearing its ugly head more and more. We would have expected to hear from the Emancipation Support Committee, NJAC (National Joint Action Committee) and other civil society groups within T&T; instead what you hear is a deafening silence.
For far too long, in the so-called poor neighbourhoods of the East-West Corridor, claims of injustice and brutality are left unanswered and unabated. Why is it the Police Service doesn’t treat people of these communities with respect? It’s a pity that most of them come from the same communities. I also condemn the hurling of missiles at passing motorists.
In 2011, the United Nations General Assembly declared that year the International Year for People of African Descent. What we witnessed was a Government having a State of Emergency, picking up young African males from hotspot areas. You witness an Attorney General not being impartial and becoming agitated when news commentators put pertinent questions to him about this fiasco. On one hand, you have a Housing Minister stating he is the landlord of criminals and another saying he is not racial as his helper at home is black.
While the police have a job to do, they took an oath to protect and serve. This high-handed approach will yield no good results, and animosity and distrust will continue to build. The police need to reach the people, rogue elements also need to be weeded out of the service. How come the police don’t report the rogue elements within themselves?
You have a deputy commissioner slamming the media for doing their work and stating it looks like anarchy. The protective services apparently don’t know how to deal and treat with an unarmed, unruly crowd. They have no empathy. In 2010, these
so-called, hotspot communities had police posts, all were removed after May 2010.
People of Trinbago, today for the East-West Corridor and other so-called, hotspot communities. Tomorrow will definitely be for you.