PORT of Spain South MP Marlene McDonald said yesterday she was taken aback that police had to use tear gas and rubber bullets to quell protesting residents of Sea Lots, Port of Spain, after a tragic accident which claimed the lives of a woman and her two daughters.
Speaking to reporters during her visit at Production Drive, Sea Lots, hours after the incident, McDonald said, "I'm kind of taken back that the police threw tear gas and fired rubber bullets and whatnot because this accident really brought out the emotions in people, and what they have to realise is that different people react differently in the face of tragedy.
"This thing concerned the people and agitated them, and in the middle of their grief this is what is going to happen?" she asked, as she openly questioned the actions of the police. "I am not blaming the police for what they did, but they need to understand emotions are a hell of a thing," she said.
Minister of National Security Jack Warner also yesterday expressed condolences to the relatives of those who lost their lives in the accident.
He was speaking with reporters yesterday just before addressing an audience at the 2013 Opening and Awards ceremony of the Trinidad and Tobago Fire Service Morvant Youth Club at the Morvant Fire Station.
Saying he was briefed about the accident, Warner said he hopes those who are injured are able to recover in the shortest possible time.
"It is a tragedy of immense proportions and I am advised by the police that they are investigating all aspects of it," Warner said.
"The investigations are ongoing (and) until I have a report from the police I would not say much more."
Commenting on the protest which erupted following the accident, Warner said an incident, such as the accident which occurred, could cause any community to be angry.
"But at the end of the day, we have to understand that an accident is an accident. Therefore, I hope that nerves are less frayed and that tempers have cooled and common sense has prevailed. We have put some security in the area to beef up the area and I really don't foresee a problem.
"I am not too perturbed by their threats of (further) action because I know that there may be one or two persons there who might be hard-headed but, by and large, the rank and file of the people in Sea Lots are still law-abiding citizens and I would expect that common sense will prevail."
Warner also extended condolences to the relatives and colleagues of fire officer Anand Seepersad, who succumbed yesterday to injuries he sustained in a vehicular accident while on his way to work in Arima on February 7.
Planning Minister Dr Bhoe Tewarie, in a brief telephone interview yesterday afternoon, sent his condolences to the families of the victims and urged protesting residents to try not to overreact. He added that if the driver of the car was indeed intoxicated, he should be brought to justice.
—Gyasi Gonzales, Keino Swamber
and Carla Bridglal