Thursday, February 22, 2018

Cops were protecting themselves


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It is impossible for me not to be aggravated by comments by Senator Pennelope Beckles on Tuesday in Senate when she remarked that the scene at Sea Lots on Sunday and Monday were similar to that of a war zone that we would see in other countries or perhaps movies.

She made reference to the similarities of riot gear used in war zones and what the police were equipped with (rubber bullets, guns, tear gas, helmets) while fending off the irate residents at Sea Lots on Sunday.

Perhaps it slipped Ms Beckles's mind that when some citizens were displeased with on-goings at the 2009 Summit of the Americas they held a "Drummit 2 Summit" protest which saw police dressed in similar riot gear. This was just for some drummers and citizens protesting.

What her statements imply (at least to me) is that all of the above was unnecessary and the residents should have been dealt with in a more civilised manner.

She even subtly condemned the police officers for their "approach", citing that often such areas are subjected to prejudiced approaches by the police.

I think Ms Beckles failed to understand the realism of the situation that occurred in Sea Lots last Sunday, perhaps because she was not in the presence of these rambunctious residents who did in fact hurl rocks and odious profanities at the officers who were struggling to keep them off the scene while attending to the victims (and that included the driver).

It is very easy for us to talk from the comfort of our couches when we are oblivious to what actually occurred.

What we saw on television was portrayed differently to the rest of the nation. The residents captured the spotlight as distraught and heartbroken, and rightly so, but no one decided to show the brutality the authorities were faced from some merciless residents. They were not seen as human beings possessing lives that were in potential danger as well.

Ms Beckles failed to realise that these officers were also somebody's husband, brother, son or father. She failed to consider the agitated families at home praying for the safe return of their men, given the amplification of the accident.

What if some of us were subjected to the similar grief of the Manwaring family on Sunday? Sadly, no one spared a minute for such a thought, for the girl's father who sacrifices his life every day, for the daughter who may not have seen her father again. Yes, it could have been a reality.

I am disappointed not only in Ms Beckles but all the others who have constantly slammed our officers since Sunday for the lack of sympathy, understanding and recognition given to these brave soldiers. There was blatant disregard for the importance of protocol and procedure.

What happened on Sunday was unacceptable of a police officer, who is supposed to set an example or "practise what he preaches". The loss of those young, innocent lives was painstaking and my heart goes out to the family and the community for this monstrosity. The entire nation prays for the community in these harrowing times.

Sapphire Mohan