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Homeless man: I was paid to carry racist placard

Thursday, May 29, 2014
Norbert Cupid, left, poses for a photo with a senior police officer during the JTUM march last Friday along Independence Square, Port-of-Spain. PHOTO: MICHAEL BRUCE

A 41-year-old man, now at the centre of a fiery public debate and possible police investigation, for his involvement in a racist placard demonstration last week, yesterday said he was paid to do so. In an exclusive interview with CNC3 last night, Norbert Cupid, who admitted to being homeless, said he was at Woodford Square, Port-of-Spain, as people assembled for JTUM’s protest march last Friday when he was approached by a man in a red jersey.


He said the man rounded up some other men and told them all that he had a job for them and would pay them $50 if they agreed to do it. He said the man then took them down tothe  waterfront, gave them red T-shirts and placards and told them to march in front of Parliament. Cupid said the group complied but while there a United National Congress supporter confronted one of them, hitting him in the face. 


He said after they protested outside Parliament, they then joined the JTUM march before dumping the placards in a dumpster near the Customs and Excise Building. The men then went back to Woodford Square and collected their $50. Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley has called on the police to charge the group involved in the protest with sedition. But Cupid said when he heard that and realised the police might be looking for them, he went to the police and was told they could not deal with him immediately. 


He made it clear he was not racist but a man who accepted an offer because he was desperate for something to eat. He still had the red T-shirt he was given to march but said he had no political preference. 


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