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Jack, George jeered during Sea Lots visit (with CNC3 video)
Two government ministers had to beat a hasty retreat from Sea Lots, Port-of-Spain, yesterday after they were jeered by residents. The ministers had returned to the community to continue talks about a walkover across the Beetham Highway.
The angry residents also turned on the media, demanding that reporters leave the area.
National Security Minister Jack Warner and Works and Infrastructure Minister Emmanuel George went to the community to meet with residents who have called for the walkover after the deaths on Sunday of 28-year-old Haydee Paul and her daughters Ruthie, eight, and Shakira, seven.
The three were knocked down and killed on the Beetham Highway near Pioneer Drive, where they lived. Both ministers were heckled shortly after their arrival. While the ministers were speaking with the director of the Programme for Upgrading Roads Efficiency (PURE), residents began shouting: “Promise is a comfort to a fool. Is a ploy to fool people.” As the ministers got into their vehicles to leave, the residents continued to criticise them for their short visit to the community
Warner and George first visited on Monday after residents mounted protests over the tragedy. During Monday’s meeting the ministers promised a walkover would be built and said they would return to Sea Lots yesterday for further discussions. Before leaving yesterday Warner said police and traffic wardens would be deployed in Sea Lots to help residents cross the highway.
He said the Ministry of the People and Social Development would provide counselling to family members of Paul and her two daughters. Deputy Police Commissioner Mervyn Richardson, who stayed in the area for several hours, appealed to people who might have seen the accident or have information on it to come forward.
He denied the police officer who struck Paul and her two daughters had been suspended. However, up to late yesterday, there were reports that the officer involved in the accident had been suspended with pay. The residents claimed a bottle of alcohol was found in the policeman’s car after the accident.
But Richardson said: “They found no alcohol, no bottle or anything like that. I am appealing to anyone that they can come to us and we will take statements.The residents then turned on the media, saying: “We don’t want all you here. Move, leave.” Kenroy Dopwell, one of the residents, said they felt disrespected by the ministers.
“He added: The Government disrespected us this morning and they were supposed to speak with us, not the media. The media is not crying out and they are not in pain. They came and spoke with the media and as far as I am concerned they disrespected us. “We are not protesting, we are preserving lives. We don’t want nobody to play us a fool.”
The three survivors of the accident, Amanda Lalla, Abigail Assing and Ryan “Dahl” Ramnarine, also of Pioneer Drive, remained at the Port-of-Spain General Hospital in a critical condition in the Intensive Care Unit up to late yesterday. The funeral for Paul and her daughters takes place at the Open Bible Church, Laventille, this morning.
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