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Dear Editor: Murder?! Not even the Venezuelan authorities went as far as T&T’s Opposition Leader

“[…] It is no secret that the officers in the Coast Guard are traumatised by the continued accusations from her and the other Opposition members who have already found them guilty of the most heinous crime: MURDER—without the completion of an official investigation.

“What is even more significant is the fact that neither the President nor the Opposition Leader of Venezuela ever uttered such disparaging and dangerous remarks about our Coast Guard…”

The following Letter to the Editor, discussing Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s classification of the shooting death of Venezuelan infant Yaelvis Santoyo Sarabia by the T&T Coast Guard as ‘murder’, was submitted to Wired868 by former Arima MP and PNM general secretary Ashton Ford:

Photo: Leader of the Opposition Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
(Copyright Office of the Parliament 2021)

It is a historical fact that the protective services played a major role in defending our beloved country, Trinidad and Tobago, when it came under attack in 1970 and 1990.

In 1970, it was the Coast Guard, under the command of their leaders, that foiled the threat from then rebel soldiers who were prepared to invade the capital city, Port-of-Spain, armed with the powerful artillery lodged at the Chaguaramas Headquarters.

During that period, the City of Port-of-Spain was under siege following massive protests by young people against claims of racism towards Trinidad and Tobago national students in Canada, which escalated to social issues at home.

The demonstrators gained support from leading politicians, including high-ranking officials in the then People’s National Movement (PNM) administration.

Due to the timely intervention of the Coast Guard, our country was saved from anarchy and the possible deaths of innocent citizens.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard, Air Guard and Regiment officers on parade.
(Copyright T&T Defence Force)

In 1990, the situation was far worse and even more destructive. Once again, it was the skilful tactical move from the military personnel in the Defence Force that came to the defence of our democracy.  

On this occasion, several citizens lost their lives and the Red House—where the elected Members of Parliament were held hostage—was severely damaged by the insurrectionists.

The crisis was short-lived and, after a traumatic one-week experience, the country gradually returned to normalcy under the state of emergency.

I make reference to these two historic events to remind my fellow citizens of the important and critical role of the Coast Guard when called upon to discharge their patriotic responsibility in defence of Trinidad and Tobago.

So when a former prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago launched the most vitriolic condemnation of the Coast Guard with respect to the unfortunate death of a Venezuelan infant, there must be a stand from all patriotic citizens to repudiate this outrageous attack on our protective services.

Photo: UNC political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar (centre) joins activist Victor Roberts in a ‘March for Democracy’ on 27 November 2021, as part of protests against the government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
(via UNC)

It is no secret that the officers in the Coast Guard are traumatised by the continued accusations from her and the other Opposition members who have already found them guilty of the most heinous crime: MURDER—without the completion of an official investigation.

What is even more significant is the fact that neither the President nor the Opposition Leader of Venezuela ever uttered such disparaging and dangerous remarks about our Coast Guard.

It begs the question, why would the former Prime Minister and Opposition Leader seek to destroy an important military institution in T&T? Why can’t she wait for the outcome of the official investigation into the matter instead of stooping so low as to attempt to gain political points from a very sad and unfortunate incident?

In the circumstances, she has automatically disqualified herself from ever holding high office in this country.   

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12 comments

  1. “Ford’s manure” is de name ah dis piece, Mr Live Wire?

  2. Ashton drink too much balisier juice. He got blind. A PNM apologist.

  3. The way our local politics goes, for this ‘lady’ to ever feel any repercussions/dissent for her misbehaviour (in or out of office) these will have to come from deep within her party and from that unshakeable UNC base that continues to be her chief enabler. Otherwise, buckle up for the ride.
    If you think this bad, I am predicting far worse as we get deeper into the Rowley term. These actions seem so desperate at times (almost personal) makes you wonder what else in the mortar besides the pestle.
    Who knows? The AG office may know…

    • Jaill, what are your thoughts on our PM’s comments that the Coast Guard did no wrong, and were correct in their procedure and actions, even though an investigation into the incident has not even started?

      • I would think that, as head of the NSC, he will be privy to a lot more details of what transpired and therefore in a position to speak in the way he did.
        In cases like thi,s there are procedures and practices to follow and once it is determined that these were followed, the ‘investigation’ that is being called for (at least what you expect… it will not be played out in the public) is not going to happen.