Last update: 12-Dec-2013 4:50 am
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Warner: Beetham protests will spread throughout country
Predicting that social upheaval similar to what occurred in Beetham Gardens will soon break out throughout T&T, Jack Warner says urgent action is needed to deal with crime. Speaking to reporters after opening an office at Southern Main Road, Cunupia, on Monday, Warner said he was not surprised by the protests which exploded at Beetham on Sunday and continued into Monday in response to the police shooting of Christopher Greaves. Warner is interim leader of the Independent Liberal Party.
Greaves, 23, of Fifth Street, Beetham, was shot on Sunday while walking to a parlour. The police, who were on patrol in the area, claimed he was armed and shot at them after they challenged him. However, residents said he was unarmed and was attacked by the police. The residents also claimed the police did not allow them to attend to Greaves as he remained on the ground after being shot.
Saying the matter was not handled well on Monday, Warner said all politicians should stay out of Beetham and let an independent person like acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams deal with it. “We have become reactive rather than pro-active. People believe you have to run from Beetham and if you give the people money, fun and games, they will be OK. This is not so,” Warner said.
“Beetham needs understanding, empathy, love and mutual respect. Politicians have done enough damage already. Let others go in and get them to understand what is being done.” He added: “What is happening in Beetham will spread throughout the country. There is a lot of anger, hurt, suffering and pain. It has reached boiling point.”
Asked whether any benefit would come out of the crime talks currently under way between Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley, Warner said, “Nothing at all. That is all a gimmick.” Warner also said he had no intentions of turning away St Joseph MP Herbert Volney, who has expressed an interest in joining the ILP. He accused Persad-Bissessar of destroying Volney’s career.
“Volney was used and abused and now they spit him out. We encouraged Volney to leave his job. Why is he the scapegoat?” Warner said. He said he, Persad-Bissessar and Tabaquite MP Dr Suruj Rambachan had wooed Volney away from his “cushy job” as a judge and begged him to join the United National Congress (UNC).
Saying Volney should not have been blamed for the Section 34 fiasco, Warner said: “The Prime Minister chose to take Volney as a scapegoat and to damage his career forever. Volney is not to blame for Section 34, it is the entire government to blame. It is the entire Parliament. Why is Volney treated with such discourtesy?” He said he planned to hold a meeting with ILP executives to discuss Volney’s position in the ILP.
“Volney will not be turned away. This party is an all-inclusive party. to this date we have not rejected a single application and I don’t see why we should reject Volney,” Warner said. He added that he would work with Volney to ensure that the UNC never retained the St Joseph seat again.
Leader of Government Business in the House Dr Roodal Moonilal criticised Warner for saying the Beetham protests will spread. “I am sure he will like that to happen in several parts of the country,” Moonilal said. “Warner is a remarkable character. All the problems that he described apparently happened from July 29, because when he was in the Government these were not problems that he saw or even tried to fix.
He added, “Regrettably, we have reached a stage where any time there is a shooting incident involving the police, you usually have a road blockage the next day. You don’t have any protests when a gangster kills another gangster, but you have this protest.” Moonilal also commended the police and the Defence Force for handling the Beetham crisis in a swift and effective way.
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