Where was Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s leadership presence amid Tuesday’s chaos which occurred in parts of T&T?
That’s the question Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has raised as she called for calm following Tuesday’s events.
Yesterday Persad-Bissessar said, “I encourage respect and calm amid widespread protests in the capital city. I’m deeply concerned about the violent unrest in our nation’s capital. I encourage all to respect each other for peace and calm while we await the independent investigation by the Police Complaints Authority into (last weekend’s) shooting incident which reportedly sparked Tuesday’s protests.
“Even Prime Minister Rowley is nowhere to be found to provide urgent, decisive leadership to a traumatised, despairing nation, which is now falling apart at its very social and economic seams.”
Rowley heads the National Security Council.
National Security Minister Stuart Young held a media briefing on Tuesday soon after protests erupted and other PNM MPs spoke about the protests. But there was no word from Rowley. Protests occurred in PNM strongholds including Carenage location in his Diego Martin West constituency.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister’s Office stated Rowley will hold a media briefing at 1 pm today.
Meanwhile, in her statement, Persad-Bissessar said, “Many of you may have seen the videos circulating on social and other media of a few rogue individuals who have been assaulting and disrespecting our officers. Businesses were forced to close early while public servants at the AG’s office had to duck bullets. Thousands of innocent citizens were caught in the dangerous crossfire.”
“Gridlocked traffic jams prevailed as police barred people from entering the city. Police officers were shot at while a pregnant mother was killed.’’
Persad- Bissessar added, “This is the direct consequence of the failed Rowley Government’s cruel, punitive, destructive policies which have impoverished and pauperised citizens.
“Naturally, the people from the most neglected, vulnerable communities — unironically the PNM’s long-standing urban strongholds — have suffered the most. For too long, they’ve been trapped in never-ending cycles of poverty, neglect and alleged abuse at the state’s behest. These are the same citizens who’ve faithfully given their votes to form Government for over 40 years, now being labelled.
“No Cabinet Minister or PNM MP has offered to do their duty and represent their desperate, legitimate concerns in the wake of this latest, ‘tipping point’ incident.
“Instead, Minister (Stuart) Young contemptuously and dismissively branded them ‘paid criminals’, reinforcing a painful, historical and damaging stereotype. I continue to hold the belief there are many good, kind, and law-abiding citizens in these communities and they shouldn’t be all labelled as criminals because of the actions of some.’’
“Resorting to violence isn’t the answer. At this time, it is my hope good sense will prevail, and law enforcement officials are able to quickly restore peace in our capital. The minister’s using mantras of ‘The Blame Game’ is also not the solution. The country will completely collapse if they’re ever given another term.” (GA)