“[…] 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:
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.
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.
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.