Demming: #TTBLM protesters suggest bright future for T&T, but TTPS was provocative

When the crowd took a knee and held it in silence for nine minutes, I knew I was amidst a sea of young persons who were sending a message that the time for change is now.

The #ttblm movement gathered peacefully in the Queen’s Park Savannah, chanted and spoke their truth. For three and a half hours, the young campaigners shared stories with the crowd while drivers popped their horns in solidarity as they drove past the US Embassy.

Photo: Demonstrators make their point for the value of black lives outside the US Embassy on 8 June 2020.

I have nothing but admiration for these young people who dared to uncover the pus-filled lesion which their parents and grandparents have plastered over for many years. Looking around the crowd, the variation in the hue of the campaigners gave me a peek into what the future of Trinidad and Tobago will look like.

As an older person, I felt proud of their bravery. The only low point to the demonstration was the absolute show of force by the TTPS who lined the pavement opposite the US Embassy with their guns and horses on display, clearly intending to show off their power.

One cannot help but feel intimidated in the presence of such a show of weapons. This was aggravated by the ‘Gayelle-styled’ movie crew who began videotaping the crowd. The speaker on the megahorn asked the videographers to stop but this request was ignored. The videotaping continued albeit appearing to take low shots so that faces may not have been identified.

There was no attempt to de-escalate the situation. As a matter of fact, I felt that the actions of the TTPS were unfortunate and could have infuriated the crowd. The presence of the commissioner of police made no difference.

Photo: A black lives matter demonstration outside the US Embassy in Port of Spain.

I have learned from other situations that protests and demonstrations can be quickly become volatile. I commend the young people for their exemplary behaviour and hope that, in the future, the TTPS will respect their wishes not to be documented and dial back on this need to show force. Peace and non-violence were recurrent themes of the demonstration and every effort should be made to keep it peaceful.

I noted that not one piece of garbage was left in the area. Our future is looking bright.

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About Dennise Demming

Dennise Demming
Dennise Demming grew up in East Dry River, Port of Spain and has more than 30 years experience as a Communication Strategist, Political Commentator and Event Planner. She has 15 years experience lecturing Business Communications at UWI and is the co-licensee for TEDxPortofSpain. Dennise holds an MBA, a B.Sc. in Political Science & Public Administration and a certificate Mass Communications from UWI.

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  1. Why don’t you try to get a peek into how Trinidad and Tobago would look like in the future after you see those black youths responding to your vehement plea for them to protest against criminal activities and the genocidal black gang warfare? At your age anti-police rhetoric is not for you, or is it you’re are reminiscing of times gone by when you had nothing else to do but be anti-establishment? Use your whole big long list of academic achievements on paper to see how you can mend fences between the police and the communities. That protest is so indicative of copying everything from outside –dance, clothes, music, fashion–and not protesting and being vocal for local issues.

  2. I cannot help but feel the writer is living too much inside her head.

    When people apply for a permit to protest, it is sensible that the protest should be overseen by the police, for the primary purpose of preventing a breach of the peace. This seems to be the purpose of the police presence, not as an aggravating factor, but as a deterrent one. The writer chose her words to purposely mislead the readers that the police presence was for the former purpose, not the latter.

    One only has to raise one’s eyes to what is happening around the world to see how peaceful ‘protests’ soon go awry, with damage to persons and property following.

    The writer also shows ignorance of the law, displayed by the ‘speaker on the megahorn’ as well. There is, as far as I am aware, no law to prevent filming in a public space. This applies equally to citizens as well as the police. Where an individual is in a public place, there is no legal requirement that the individual’s permission should be obtained prior to taking a photograph or filming. []

    The police filming is well within their mandate. And of course, as a balanced measure, more appropriate for security purposes.

    • Mohan Ramcharran a typical brahmin-ist Gaslighter of African voices. Why hide behind dis-ingenuous interpretarions of UK Law, why not tell us about Manu Smirti (The Laws Of Manu) a.k.a. The Brahmin-ist (“Hindu”) Legal Text a.k.a. The rules of the Brahmin-ist “Hindu” racist apartheid scheme. “Caste” simply means “race” based on skin colour and facial features…The “caste system”= the oppressive racial hierarchy of brahmin-ist (incorrectly termed “Hindu”) theology. Is this the reasoh for mohan gleefully agreeing with police occupation of African triniddian protest?

  3. “…a peek into what the future of Trinidad and Tobago will look like.”

    Hmmmm. Don’t you think that that conclusion may be at the very least premature?

    True the couple hundred young people were demonstrating peacefully. True too that they were non-violent. And that they may have taken away all their garbage. But do you really think a couple hundred young people constitute a representative sample?

    And can we completely ignore the fact that, although they were not breaking the law, there was no respect for the eminently reasonable social distancing guidelines?

    • Optimist that I am I offer the following quote from Maya Angelou: “I go forth alone, I stand as ten thousand.” 1988. Peek is a very subjective word so for me it was just a small, quick look but I daresay, I felt energized amongst those young people. For the 3 1/2 hours, social distancing was observed except when the Police intervened.

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