FOLLOWING two days of intense protest action by Sea Lots residents in Port of Spain over the vehicular deaths of a mother and her two children, the residents yesterday held a peaceful demonstration calling for "the preservation of life" in the area.
The demonstration was in stark contrast to what had transpired on Monday and Sunday along the Beetham Highway when residents blocked traffic from flowing along one of the main arteries into the city through fiery protest action, causing traffic gridlock for thousands.
Yesterday saw a smooth flow of traffic along both the east- and west-bound lanes of the highway.
Just before 7 a.m., residents gathered at the corner of Pioneer Drive and the west-bound lane of the highway with placards in hand.
Also present were several police officers who were seen assisting residents who needed to cross the highway.
On Sunday, the residents had faced off with police officers following the death of Hady Paul, 28, and her two daughters, Akasha, eight, and Shakira, seven. All three were killed instantly after a vehicle being driven by an off-duty police officer mounted the pavement and slammed into them.
Three other people, Abbigail Assing, Amanda Lalla and a man identified only as Ryan Rampersad, also known as "Dhal", were also struck and are currently warded at the Port of Spain General Hospital.
The clash took place when residents accused the police of taking the side of the officer involved in the accident after they allegedly removed and hid a bottle of alcohol from his vehicle following the incident.
The residents said following a visit from National Security Minister Jack Warner, acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams and Deputy Commissioner Mervyn Richardson on Monday, they had come to an agreement to not carry out any further blockage of the highway once Warner keeps his promise to meet with them this morning.
On Monday, Warner assured the residents that a walkover, which they demanded, would be constructed close to where the incident occurred in order to facilitate them in crossing the highway.
"We are not asking for anything more than preservation of life. Minister Warner gave us his word that he would meet with us tomorrow (today). We have kept our side of the agreement so we are hoping that he will keep his," said resident Kenroy Dopwell.
Dopwell added that Warner also assured that the three surviving victims would be given the best health care possible, but questioned how this would be done if they are kept warded at the Port of Spain Hospital.
"How can they be given the best health care if they are at Port of Spain? That is a killing hole. If they want to provide the best health care then they should have been transferred to a private health facility like West Shore (Medical) or the St Clair Hospital," Dopwell said.