Jacobs, Clinton, Diamond, the TTPS, Chee Mooke and the REAL Morvant victims

Morvant residents faced a swift reprisal for alleged misdeeds yesterday. But on this occasion, the judge, jury and executioner was not the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS).

It was Chee Mooke Bakery Limited, which revealed that it will no longer serve that community after its driver was robbed—in the midst of a protest over the extra-judicial slaying of three residents: Joel Jacobs, Israel Clinton and Noel Diamond.

Photo: Lawmen move in on residents Joel Jacobs, Israel Clinton and Noel Diamond on 27 June 2020.
All three men were shot dead.

“To the fellas who robbed our driver this afternoon, in the name of JUSTICE for their fallen brethren, thanks for not injuring our employee,” stated the company, on its official Facebook page. “However, please inform ALL the shop owners that THIS bakery will no longer be delivering in your area. Let them know why too eh.”

The robbery allegedly occurred while residents were blocking the roads and tension was high. In the midst of the chaos, some ‘fellas’ apparently saw a chance to make a bit of ‘extra bread’; or simply decided that the laws of the land were temporarily suspended. (They appear not to have been the only ones.)

The Chee Mooke management was understandably shaken up by the supposed robbery and it is well within the company’s rights to decide whether a particular neighbourhood is hazardous to the wellbeing of its staff.

But when they said ‘fallen brethren’, they do understand that the Morvant community was not upset about three young men who tripped over a speed bump, right? Rather they were gunned down by a gang of men who are paid by the state to ‘protect and serve’. Perspective might be needed here.

It bears repeating: the police are paid to ensure that the laws of the land are upheld; and, in the course of their duties, are often required to apprehend suspects for trial by a judge and jury.

Photo: Some spectators enjoy their evening out at the Morvant Recreation Ground for Pro League football action between Morvant Caledonia United and San Juan Jabloteh on 16 October 2016.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

There are no walking cockroaches in Morvant or anywhere else, just men and women who should have the same right to due process and a fair trial as does Minister of National Security Stuart Young’s former stepdaughter or the former former former Minister of National Security Jack Warner, who is out on bail at present.

“We want to know if it’s a war dey fighting, against we—Morvant people,” said resident Steve Griffiths, as he spoke to CNC3. “They killing we by the numbers; innocent people. Why they doing that?

“We run, they kill we. We put up we hand, dey still killing we…”

Is there a written or unwritten law that certain lives matter less than others? That people from certain communities are walking targets?

It is not only white racists who believe that black lives count less. Blacks were forced to drink that same Kool-Aid for centuries. It is why the black lives matter movement is not only relevant in countries with white-majorities or white leadership—but any land touched by the racially divisive colonial experience.

Photo: A mural to George Floyd, who was killed by police officer Derek Chauvin on 25 May 2020 in Minneapolis.

So you think it is not a big deal once the slain black men aren’t big shots? Well, so do racist American police officers. Don’t believe me? Tell me how many black celebrities—athletes, singers, movie stars, etc—were killed by the police in dubious circumstances over the last decade or so?

Go ahead then; I will wait.

Trinidad and Tobago social media commentators think they are left-leaning. Yet they support naked capitalism and extra-judicial killings in poor areas and hate immigrants, ‘gays’ and trade unions.

If black Republican poster girl, Candace Owens, ever suffers for burn-out, Donald Trump would have no trouble finding a replacement in the twin island republic—instead of the Christopher Columbus statue, they can instead protect the ‘history’ of the confederate flag.

George Floyd was not killed just because he was black; but because he was a ‘black nobody’. You won’t see a white officer with his knee on the neck of Denzil Washington or Lebron James anytime soon. Floyd was considered expendable. And there are people who feel the same way about their brothers and sisters right here in ‘sweet, sweet T&T’.

Over the past year, according to the Trinidad Guardian, there was an 86 per cent rise in police killings. That is not justice. And it creates a cycle of hate and distrust that negatively affects all sides—including an innocent, industrious bakery.

Photo: Chee Mooke Bakery responds to the apparent robbery of its driver on 29 June 2020.

The people of Morvant have a right to know if their tax dollars are funding their own death squads; and if they are at the mercy of a state-sponsored killing machine.

Gripped by such hurt, confusion and anger, sometimes emotions are channeled negatively, as evidenced too during recent riots in the United States.

Or maybe some young men manipulated the chaos towards their ends. That is not a ‘poor people vice’. Right now, there are companies who are snatching at Covid-19 related interest-free loans from the government, even as they plot staff lay-offs.

In the heat of the moment, it is easy to miss the woods for the trees. Chee Mooke should remember that. And they should be mindful of who the real victims in Morvant were over the last few days—and almost certainly for much, much longer than that.

Photo: Morvant resident Joel Jacobs, 37, (background) holds his hands up as do other passengers in the car.
It was not enough to save their lives as they were gunned down moments later by the TTPS.
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About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd is the managing director and chief editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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  1. so in trinidad there is racism?even though govt black ,police black,everybody black but it have racism?Every country in the world racist against blacks?are you sure that is racism when it is black mostly killing black?is every country in the world wrong?SO the blacks in trinidadvoting for pnm only for 57 years even though they remain in poverty and crime!that is not racism that they vote for a party that making them suffer only because they think the party is a black party?are blacks causing all the violent crime and is the first one to call racism when they get shot? time for a no holds barred debate and bring out the trust.

    • Robert Singh\Ramgoolam\Snow White,
      Although you wouldn’t even be able to handle it if it were to take place, there will never be any “No Holds Barred” “debate” about race on this platform, because the very “moderator” that continues to ALLOW your vile, antagonistic comments about “blacks” (Africans), CENSURES any unapologetic critiques of racism regarding Indians!

    • Bobby Singh\Ramgoolam,
      Of course there isn’t any racism in trinidad!. As long as there is hinduism and indian culture, racism cannot possibly exist! Mohandas Gandhi is irrefutable proof of this fact!

  2. Chee Mooke Bakery have served these communities for over 50 plus years. Many of us who grow up in these areas have our own personal favorite stories of Chee Mooke Bakery. In most cases they are stories that end with a smile on our faces.

    There are always an argument to be made that more can and need to be done to uplift the communities.

    “ Just get off our neck and give a chance to breathe “

    If only the masses doing the oppression would only listen. Social injustice and inequalities has a reckoning day.

    Here is what we know as fact, many of the employees employed by Chee Mooke Bakeries reside in the same communities, similar to one where the driver alleged attack occurred. In fact this driver is likely one of the employee in reference.

    There are a lot to protest about regarding social inequality, high crimes, police abuse to name a few. The civil unrest chain reactions spurred by the horrific death of George Floyd; Will only be measured as a win, if real changes come about to eradicated these inequalities and injustice in the underserved communities all over the world.

    If the citizens of this Republic are serious about stopping these ongoing protests, then real changes must be realize in fixing the systemic problems of racism and inequality.

    Stopping bread from going to the communities desperately needing it, definitely is not the kind of changes needed.

    One thing that is clear at this juncture since George Floyd death, it’s despite all the looting and lawlessness that have occurred in the communities. Businesses are not fleeing from the communities, instead we are seeing many acting and committing to doing more to fix the problems.

    In the good times and bad times Morvant residences stayed loyal to Chee Mooke Bakery because they value them as family.

    We need to have good plans in place to protect the law abiding citizens in all our communities. There must be partnership between police, community leaders, businesses and government.

    Not many businesses have stayed or survived in these communities over the years, Chee Mooke be proud of what you have accomplished.

    The BLM movement comprise of a multitude of races taking to the street to protest systemic inequality, injustice and blatant racism. When you see the protests in T&T the vision is of one race of people. So while many will be quick to claim it’s not about inequalities, injustice and yes racism.

    Just allow yourself to dig deeper and you will see why it’s indeed all of the above. The real oppressors are expert in hiding their faces.

    Our people and communities just want better.

    Bowing out is not the solution…So Kudos to Chee Mooke and Community Leaders for coming together and quickly fixing the errors….could we get more of that from others?

    Our children need Bread too.

    We just want Better!

  3. Dear Lasana, BLACK LIVES MATTER! I agree… however do you really expect me to believe that righteous social protest was being done in Morvant yesterday when our Driver was physicaly threatened with guns and cutlass. That these young criminals had anything other than mischief in mind when they stole our bins of bread, hit our Porter about his body with the same bread, and laughed after they stole our employees’ cellphones?! THAT is not peaceful protesting, that is just petty crime. I like your other articles but what was so wrong that you needed to respond to our own painfull response to black-on-black crime?

    • Simone, that you tag the incident as ‘black on black’ crime is unfortunate. We don’t say ‘white on white’ crime or ‘indian on black’ or any other sort of racial breakdown like that. ‘Black and black’ has a particular undertone.
      What happened to your driver is awful and should not have happened. I sympathise. But a few things: I don’t think your driver was robbed by the ‘community of Morvant’. He was robbed by a few violent individuals there. And I also think Chee Mooke should understand that lives were lost and there is an emotional response to that which is taking place; so it may be difficult to treat the robbery as a stand-alone incident in this instance. Or at least you could understand that something even bigger than that is happening.
      Chee Mooke Bakery is right to be upset and I think most people are upset that your company and driver suffered in that way. But I’d just like you to remember that you were not the only ones suffering in Morvant of late and maybe frame your message with that mind.
      None of us are perfect and I understand the company’s anger and frustration. So I’m just gently suggesting that, even in that pain, you don’t lose sight of the big picture. And that same appeal goes out to the community of Morvant.

      • Robbing a bakery is not protest, it is crime. If you want to protest get cardboard and write a message on it and stand by the road side, no need for violence, burning tyres and garbage or blocking highways. Surely the guns and cutlass are not only used during ”protest”, surely they are also put to use during other days.

        • First of all, the bakery was never robbed. Start there…

          • News reports state that the bakery truck/van was robbed, in TT people by bread from stores, trucks etc. so again robbing a bakery is not protest. Mr Liburd that you would even try some bs comment like that shows the problem. You defend violent criminals who would rob and kill at any moment rather than stand up for the truck driver, taxi driver etc. who they coming to rob and kill. I support protests against police brutality and abuse, but I cannot support criminal behaviour by civilians. I hope your logic is not ”well the police kill some youths so now is payback time, come fellas let’s rob this truck, that’s right show them!”.

  4. Luckily for Wired868, there is no law requiring photo credits; the Protect-and-Serve bunch might have been visiting your offices with the same warrant they used to drop in on Sat.

    But when righteous indignation drives you to put finger to keyboard, you normally put on your Live Wire hat. Have we reached a new phase in the struggle to give voice to the voiceless or has the paradigm now shifted to the point where humour simply won’t cut it?

    Either way, keep up the good work.

  5. “George Floyd was not killed just because he was black; but because he was a ‘black nobody’”. “So you think it is not a big deal once the slain black men aren’t big shots? Well, so do racist American police officers.”

    This police killing appears to be similar to the police killing of George Floyd. Yes?

    If so, I am puzzled that in one case the police is described as racist American police officers but in the TT case, the racist label, for obvious reason, is not applied but reference instead is made to “people from certain communities are walking targets” and “land touched by the racially divisive colonial experience”.

    Both incidents involve the use of excessive force by police officers and it leaves one to wonder what really is the true motivating factor.

  6. There is so much more here than is being said, 12 months ago a person in the USA went to a gun store and bought a gun under the 2nd amendment laws, they lied when they said they buying it for themselves, this gun was then trafficked in barrels and other shipping and reached TT. Once here it ended up in willing hands who then sold it on, eventually the gun ended up in the hands of young men in some community. These young men are drug dealers, gang members or just young and dumb. After a dose of hardcore gangster rap and dancehall and the use of cocaine, alcohol etc. they go out and commit such acts like robbery, murder etc. Without that gun those perpetrators would be cowards, they would be humble and anybody they try to rob would atleast have a fighting chance. The gun is the go to tool for criminals to advantage would be victims, it is about control, and about taking whatever they want. I call them land pirates because this is their mentality. In my opinion we need capital punishment for persons who traffic guns and ammunition into and within TT. They need to die so those of us who are law abiding can live in peace. A citizen who imports weapons that kill fellow citizens is a traitor, so give them the traitors reward.

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