“Burn Douglas Burn!” This was the chant of a large group of constituents from the Lopinot/Bon Air West community yesterday afternoon as they assaulted an effigy of their Member of Parliament (MP) Dr Lincoln Douglas who voted in support of the Constitutional (Amendment) Bill (2014).
Residents of the area called for Douglas to resign from his position as MP for the role he played in passing the controversial bill, saying he did not vote with the interest of his constituents in mind. Douglas is a member of the Congress of the People (COP) and he expressed concern about the Bill during his contribution to the debate.
The COP had met August 10 and voted for a delay on debate in the House of Representatives. Members had asked for it to be sent to a Joint Select Committee of Parliament. Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said MPs could vote according to conscience.
When the vote was taken the following day at the end of the debate, Douglas voted in favour of the bill which was passed in the House of Representatives. To demonstrate their displeasure with this decision, yesterday constituents of Douglas—beat, kicked, punched, threw and even burnt an effigy of the MP.
“We came out here in defence of our nation. This Bill is going to take away our right to democracy, it is going to take away right for freedom and we need the Government and our MP to understand when we say no we mean no. We don’t mean you say no, then talk against the bill in Parliament, and then when the time comes you vote for it,” explained a female protestor.
The group promised that this protest was not a one-off action and that it would be repeated in the immediate future, saying that they will join other groups outside of Parliament and throughout the country as they protest the Bill.