How to make a bad situation worse: Step one. Find a desperate and alienated group on the fringes of society. Step two. Insult the group and threaten them with State-sponsored violence.
Beetham residents upset at a shortage of employment opportunities and perceived neglect by the Government reacted on Wednesday by burning tyres. There were no reported robberies, attacks or even threats to motorists in the 30 minutes it took for a meaningful police presence to get to the area or in the hour or so before the roadway was cleared.
Judging from the number of tyres being burnt all around the country, including in the Prime Minister’s Siparia constituency, one might think that such action is almost clichéd and as commonplace in Trinidad and Tobago’s democracy as rum and roti.
Not when Beetham residents are the ones with the matches, though.
“This Government will not buckle to this gangsterism at any level,” said National Security Minister Jack Warner, in a Trinidad Guardian report.
Warner advised citizens—translation: the rest of the country—that the Guard and Emergency Branch would be camped outside the Beetham from 4 am; so they would have nothing to worry about as they whizz past the depressed area en route to work.
Some voters are apparently more important than others.
“If you look on Duncan Street it have work going on, Nelson Street work going on and nothing happening in the Beetham,” Beetham resident Anderson Wilson told the Trinidad Express. “… When (union leaders) Ancel Roget and Watson Duke say they would shut down the country, we in Beetham could do it. We are situated near four deluxe highways. It takes us nothing (to shut down the country)… We don’t have to fast or nothing, we could shut down the country…
“If they send the whole Police Force to come and lock up youths as they accustomed doing they would have to come and kill some too.”
Warner, who has promised $1.75 million to the 12 young amateur basketballers who win the Hoops of Life competition, offered the Government’s iron fist to the Beetham instead.
During Wayne Kublalsingh’s hunger fast for transparency in the Point Fortin Highway project, Warner advised the activist to hurry up and die. Mr Live Wire hopes he spares Beetham from such diplomacy.
If DOMA president Gregory Aboud thinks Port of Spain businesses have problems now due to exuberant wreckers; wait until a poor, angry and neglected nearby community gets backed against the wall.
Editor’s Note: What do you think should be done regarding the Beetham’s concerns?