Daly Bread: Does minister really think Trinis would face armed police for a few dollars?

The government has called the election for 10 August, plainly in order to have it before the unrest which gripped us last week gets worse and erases the goodwill earned through the management of the Covid-19 pandemic.

On Tuesday last, there was widespread unrest in or near several disadvantaged communities. These are communities that PNM administrations have routinely neglected in terms of sustainable social development, despite their steadfast voting loyalty to that party.

Photo: Morvant residents remonstrate with TTPS Inspector Alexander, after the police killing of Morvant residents Joel Jacobs, Israel Clinton and Noel Diamond on 27 June 2020.
(via Stabroeknews)

As it was put in a voice note circulating on social media, they ‘playing political games wid we all we life’.

These are some of the same communities whose residents were roughed-up and oppressively imprisoned during the UNC-dominated People’s Partnership government state of emergency, declared in August 2011.

Before nightfall on Tuesday, the Police Service issued a verbose media release, claiming in paragraph three of twenty-five as follows: ‘Intelligence has revealed that this was an orchestrated plot that was led by several gang members, whereby the intention was to use the shooting of the three young men a few days ago, as a front to cover the planned plot to shut down the country.’

At least the Police Service did not join in the fantasy of the Minister of National Security that the protestors were paid. Does the minister really think that Trinis are so dunce that for a few dollars they will face armed policemen and run the risk of apparently dying from a police bullet like pregnant Ornella Greaves, aged 30, in the course of one of last Tuesday’s protests?

“Who stands to gain?” asked the Minister of National Security on Tuesday morning, repeating a prior refrain about violent crime.

Photo: Minister of National Security Stuart Young prepares to face journalists at a virtual media conference on 7 May 2020.
(Copyright Ghansham Mohammed/GhanShyam Photography/Wired868)

He was driven by the partisan need to insinuate that the people—even if they have a valid cause to protest—only respond to incitement and were not themselves passionately motivated by the police involved killings.

In 2011, then Attorney General Anand Ramlogan was quoted in the UK Guardian newspaper as follows: “When the State of Emergency was declared by His Excellency, it was in response to intelligence received from the security agencies which we cannot share with the population but I can assure you we averted a crisis.”

The ‘intelligence’ revealed an ‘immediate threat and endangerment of public safety in Trinidad and Tobago’.

I put these statements side by side to illustrate a mindset, common to both major political parties, public officials and the bourgeoisie alike. That mindset does not permit any admission that the deplorable social conditions are a significant contributor to the recurring criminality and unrest present in so many areas of Trinidad.

It is politically expedient to ignore the fact that successive governments have nonchalantly allowed guns and drugs to pass into those communities—no doubt to the considerable profit of financiers and rogue politicians and other public officials.

Photo: Swim coach and former minister of sport Anil Roberts, implemented the controversial Life Sport programme that paid millions to alleged gang members.

That mindset is also fixated on insistence that the protests are not driven simply by angry reactions on the part of residents, fuelled by the injustices and systemic inequalities under which they live, currently exacerbated by Covid economic pressure.

Another fact that is stubbornly deflected is that recent community protests have been genuinely triggered by the death of residents in those communities in police involved killings believed to be executions. The protests are said to be incited or plotted either by criminals who want to use the residents as cover for criminality or by politicians who are lusting for government office and believe that tactics of destabilisation will lower the ratings of those holding office.

My disgust at the scorn with which these communities are described is well known. The passions of these communities have been made more intense by inflammatory language directed at them, which incidentally would go to motive—if policemen involved in one of these killings were put on trial.

As vividly expressed in the voice note circulating on Tuesday last: “We poor people, allyuh don’t recognise us as people. We is insects to allyuh, cockroaches.  When sometimes cockroach does land, everybody does run outside.”

For this socio-economic breakdown, significant civic culpability is attributable to our indifference. The political culpability rests on both major political parties.  How will this change?

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About Martin Daly

Martin Daly
Martin G Daly SC is a prominent attorney-at-law. He is a former Independent Senator and past president of the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago. He is chairman of the Pat Bishop Foundation and a steelpan music enthusiast.

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  1. you make it appear that Anil paid millions to gang members as per your headline-did you llisten th Anil rebuttal of that rumour?Why was he not charged of any crime?You all know that this is all pnm emailgate all over again.its only lies.They have nothing else.

  2. Can Young state how much each demonstrator received or the total money they got from the UNC?

    • Sam Saroop,
      Ask Christopher Wylie and Cambridge Analytica!

      Or Ask your Auntie Kamla, how much was for T&T’s first ever COUNTER-PROTESTERS in 2014, BUSSED from Penal to outside the Hyatt, when citizens were justifiably protesting the “Runoff” bill!! Remember that mess??? Again, the then anti-government corruption protests by the Hyatt were met with BUSSED COUNTER-PROTESTERS who waved UNC FLAGS…Ask Kamla who or if anyone paid THEM! What about the 2014 fake ‘pnm’ protesters that were surreptitiously placed during the PNM’S protests holding up racist placards? homeless men, admittedly paid to wear pnm T-shirts with racist placards that even raffique shah and others had to point them out as UNC Provocateurs.

      But sam, who you foolin’?…would you let something as silly as proof or integrity get between you and political expediency?

      Pick someone else!

  3. The issue of paid protesters does not negate the fact that the initial protest or protesters are justified. It simply means that there are people with malicious/ ulterior motive hidden within the mob or leading it. Trinidad is not unique, it is widely known in the U.S. , that busisnesses for example, PAY mobs to infiltrate the BLM movement to thrash their storefronts, in order to claim the insurance money needed to deal with covid-19 crashing their business. Also, white supremacist groups ,have been also using the BLM protests to destroy african neighbourhoods.The venezuelan protests, were peppered with paid protesters trying to provoke violence from the state to destroy maduro’s image. In the case of trinidad, the paid protesters infiltrate the legitimate ones to promote ANARCHY, not positive, transformational change. Do you see this behaviour in caroni? During UNC reign? No… as “The Great Hack” exposes to the world, african trinidad has no real structure or LOYALTY, comparable to other ethnic groups, who have communities! It is especially east to get african youth to go against the wishes of their group!…in exchange for mony of socia acceptance by other ethnic groups.

  4. Martin Daly,
    Are you a member of the National Security Council?? Do you have opposing, credible intel to the goverment’s? What amazes me, is that an attorney provides speculation AS proof! Did anyone ELSE see “The Great Hack” documentary, whereby, a former employee and whistleblower exposes how cambridge analytica, at the behest of the then UNC, ORCHESTRATED Nationwide protests against the then PM Patrick Manning PNM in 2010. It was so DISGUSTING, to hear that recording of a top cambridge analytica executive use their success in manipulating Trinidad’s african youth with the “DO SO” campaign, as a SALES PITCH to other political parties around the world :
    “…in Trinidad…We were working with the indians…indian children, they do (vote) what their parents tell them…we told them (UNC) we wanted (our intended strategy) to target the black (African) youth…”INCREASE APATHY” towards voting…”
    This was the UNC with Kamla at the helm being implicated for this despicable, dangerous politics, and Kamla is still at the helm with the same party and Martin Daly says, without any compelling evidence, that the idea of (UNC) paying protesters and africans protesting for money against the PNM is “Fantasy” !!!!
    Also Mr. Daly implies as well, without ANY COMPELLING EVIDENCE, that “Trinis” (African Youth), would not protest “for a few dollars”… how does attorney daly know how much was allegedly paid? If there was a least an amount accused of being paid, it would be fair to critique the alleged figure BUT AGAIN Attorney Daly, is ASSUMING and DISSMISSING the goverment’s claim WITHOUT ALL OF THE INFO!!


    • Lasana Liburd

      You finished? You do realise that the point Daly made was that the Commissioner of Police did NOT support the claim of the Minister of National Security? It is perfectly fair comment for anyone to speculate on what that may or may not mean.

  5. I for one cannot say i recall the MOST recent, but, i can recall one of THE MOST DANGEROUS abuses of state power in Trinidad history, because of paranioa. During the mass dissaffection with the the government of Kamla and the PP/UNC/COP/TOP/NJAC/, just 15 months in office in 2011, called a State Of Emergency was called just before the date of a well publicized mass protest from labour unions, the then PNM opposition, and other citizen groups, horrified at then government corruption scandals, were about to begin. 9,000 African Trinidadians were unlawfully detained.
    The 2011 S.O.E, was so infamously relegated to african/PNM constituencies, that TV host Ian Alleyne did an entire episode dedicated to highlighting the glaring contrast in how the S.O.E. was unevenly apllied across the nation. Among those unlawfully detained in horrid conditions for months, a national footballer, a popular radio sho host of opposing political party, fathers, sons..MANY for dubious reasons unrelated to a specific crime.

    Paranoia Mohan…THAT was paranoia. However, unlike your anecdote with then pre-2010 PM patrick manning’s alleged paranoia, that admittedly had you and othees laughing, my recallection of a more recent case of Paranoia by PM kamla et al culiminated in an State Of Emergency, that left tens of thousands in fear and tears!

  6. It seems those who are in power soon begin to get paranoid.

    A classic example was when Patrick Manning’s police escort was pulled over for driving erratically, which was soon escalated by Manning himself to become an assassination plot. Still makes me laugh to this day.

    • Mohan Wrote :
      “It seems those who are in power soon begin to get paranoid. A classic example was when Patrick Manning….” …Oh Mohan…What a bastion of integrity you are!! You critique those who are in power in mid 2020 as being paranoid, and in order to present another example of paranoia with those in power, mohan the honest, reaches from the PNM’s 5th year, ALLLLLLLLLLLL the way AROUND Kamla Persad-Bissessar and the PP/UNC/COP/TOP/MSJ/NJAC’s 2010-2015 term in office to use deceased Patrick Manning as the most recent (implied) case he could recall for example! WOW!!

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