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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.