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Jack gets worldwide play on Debe demolition
From Washington to Indonesia and throughout the Caribbean, media houses all over the world reported that National Security Minister Jack Warner led troops to demolish the Highway Re-route protesters’ camp at Debe. ABC, CBS News, the New York Times, the Miami Herald, the Washington Post, the Jakarta Post, Sonora News World, National World News, the Jamaica Observer, Stabroek News in Guyana, Dominican News, and a variety of print and electronic media carried the story.
The story was circulated by the syndicated Associated Press. It said former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner, in his first move as National Security Minister, called in troops and riot police to remove a protest camp built by environmentalists. “Dozens of soldiers and police razed the three-month-old camp built to protest construction of a highway critics say will damage a watershed,” the story said.
The Stabroek News’ story said Warner’s action and role in the demolition of the camp elicited shock, disappointment, anger and consternation from many quarters. It added that the demolition exercise came less than 48 hours after Warner, portrayed as the “action” minister, assumed control of his new portfolio. “But his first salvo drew criticism for his alleged role in directing the police and the army in the demolition activity.”
Back home, Port-of-Spain mayor Louis Lee Sing, well known for his intolerance of lawlessness around the city and his drastic methods of dealing with it, warned that the Debe demolition exercise is likely to be the first of many such incidents. “I did say at his appointment that Warner had become the Government’s crime plan. “And I am very convinced that this is likely to be the first of many incidents of this nature.”
Lee Sing said the population will have to decide what its wishes are in this regard. He said the incident reminded him of the blocking of the construction of the Uriah Butler Highway by former UNC MP Hulsie Bhaggan and other Guayamare residents several years ago. “I see this in the context of a similar incident many years ago with Hulsie.
“I remember well the Guayamare stretch of road could not be built for decades and more. “At that time, the boot was on the other foot,” Lee Sing recalled. The UNC was in Opposition and the PNM was in power at the time. The mayor said the removal of the protesters at Debe has to be seen in a wider context.
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