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Dear Editor: Don’t condone law-breaking, Fazeer! TTPS have to enforce law in Barrackpore

“[…] Based on the video images provided by the local news media, it would appear that the actions of some of the protesters were illegal… The police officers have a duty to enforce the law.

“[…] Mr Fazeer Mohammed unleashed a tirade of abuse against the police… The police officers were doing their job, and a prominent member of the local news media was condoning law-breaking?”

 The following Letter to the Editor on TV6 Morning Edition host Fazeer Mohammed’s alleged view of the policing of recent Barrackpore protests, was submitted to Wired868 by Louis Williams of St Augustine:

Photo: Police officers monitor protest action in Barrackpore.

I was stupefied when on at least two different occasions in the last few days on TV6’s Morning Edition programme, I heard the host, Fazeer Mohammed, express the view that police officers were harassing members of the public in Barrackpore who were taking protest action as a result of the poor road conditions there.

My concern is not with the right to protest. I support that right as legitimate. My concern is that all such protests must be done within the confines of the law.

Based on the video images provided by the local news media, it would appear that the actions of some of the protesters were illegal. However, the police officers were very tolerant and sought to defuse the situation by employing strategies/tactics to de-escalate what was potentially a very volatile situation.

Nevertheless, the police officers have a duty to enforce the law. In this regard, therefore, they sought to retrieve, on a voluntary basis, the video footage from households with CCTV cameras in the immediate vicinity of the protest.

Some of these residents refused to comply with the request of the officers, who then sought and obtained the relevant search warrants to compel the residents to submit the video recordings to them.

Photo: A woman responds to the fiery atmosphere during protests in Barrackpore last week.

Mr Mohammed unleashed a tirade of abuse against the police. He accused them of being driven by political motives as, in his view, they would not have pursued action against the protesters and the home owners if such an incident had taken place in Laventille or in some other area of the country that traditionally supported the PNM. To him this was an example of political victimisation.

I could hardly believe what I was hearing. The police officers were doing their job, and a prominent member of the local news media was condoning law-breaking? We have to be more responsible than that!

What is perhaps worse is that I have not heard any senior member of the journalistic fraternity, whether active or retired, condemn his recklessness.

We must never take the law into our own hands or condone such actions. That is a very dangerous path to embark upon. It leads to anarchy, inclusive of the lynch mob type of activities so prevalent in the USA in the 19th and first half of the 20th Century.

Photo: TV6 Morning Edition host Fazeer Mohammed.

But we do not have to go that far back in time. Currently, there are enclaves, in some countries, that are administered by drug barons who operate outside of the established rule of law. These drug barons have their own system of justice. If you are a law-abiding citizen your life is in constant peril.

Some may argue that we are already on that road. However, law-abiding citizens must always support those in law enforcement who, in the battle with law-breakers, are risking their lives on our behalf on a daily basis. It is the least that we can do.

Those among us who hold prominent positions in our communities must recognise that others look up to us; we must exercise extreme caution in what we say and do.

Remember, those who look up to us often take the view that if the priest could play, who is me?

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2 comments

  1. Mr. Fawkes, the name of our country is Trinidad and Tobago, not Trinidad. My maternal grandparents were from Tobago. Nuff said!

    I am glad that Mr. Fawkes has conceded that there was some ‘level of lawlessness’, although he has sought to justify such actions. He is correct, no citizen was injured or killed as a result of the incident. But public property was damaged. That is against the law. Moreover, it puts a strain on the financial resources of the country, especially at a time when we are facing both an economic and a health crisis. As a patriotic citizen, Mr. Fawkes must realise that he is part owner of this property, as are the protesters. We all have a stake in our blessed nation. Surely, the protesters could have found more creative ways to voice their concerns without breaking the law. To equate the actions of the police with ‘Nazis’ is ludicrous!

    For the record, even when I was a teenager, I never supported any person or cause blindly. In fact, one of my pet peeves is the growing tendency, in T&T, and around the globe to view religious and political leaders as gods, or demi-gods. I will have none of that. Blood flows through the veins of these leaders, and they will fall into error, sometimes very serious error, from time totime. Therefore, it behoves us to be eternally vigilant, and examine all of their actions critically. Some of the errors are inadvertent, and are not done with any malevolent intent. However, we suffer the negative consequences of their actions, regardless.

    Where will the lawlessness end? Today we damage public property. What happens when we feel aggrieved because a neighbour has allegedly encroached on our personal property. Do we take the law into our own hands then?

    We must all endeavour to maintain certain high standards of behaviour. Remember, our children are observing us, and patterning their behaviour after us.

    In this regard, I wish to remind our fellow citizens that ‘They that sow the wind shall reap the whirlwind’.

    Louis W. Williams

  2. Just another boot-licker and slave to the authoritarian Trinidad government. Which should be expected.
    I assume the writer is in their 30s-40s. This means they are indoctrinated into the blind belief of anyone in any form of power. Furthermore, I am positive that said person was in support of BLM when they burnt down local businesses in the US in the name of justice. Our situation is not on that level of lawlessness as it did not attack any citizen. Our protests attack the systems and those in power who use it to oppress the working class. Members of the inteligensia such as this writer are a symptom of a larger disease in Trinidad, and a little bit of introspection would awaken that. This person would be the first to call out injustices outside the country yet finds way to justify it within their own.
    “The police are doing their jobs”,
    I agree. So were the Nazis