Roger Alexander

meeting: ASP Roger Alexander speaks with Morvant residents last Monday after they protested over the deaths of three persons who were allegedly killed by police just over one week ago. —Photo: ISHMAEL SALANDY

“MY Israel?”

That is the question Israel Clinton’s big sister posed to her sister-in-law after she heard the incredulous and devastating news that he had been killed last Saturday by police.

Two other Morvant residents — Joel Jacob and Noel Diamond — were also killed.

Clinton’s big sister, who lives in Barataria, wanted to remain nameless but she told the Sunday Express she welcomed Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s Community Recovery Programme to assist East Port of Spain and other depressed communities.

She also felt the protest had deviated from its original intent to highlight police injustice, brutality and neglect among the communities.

Asked how she felt about the loss of her brother, she said: “It’s confusing. A big loss. It’s something that we have not come to terms with yet. I am still baffled as it relates to the situation. My cousin Afeisha Jack and I had to identify his body at Forensics.”

Reflecting upon the day she got the news, she said: “I went to purchase a blender in Courts when I got a call. They told me Israel was killed. I said ‘it must be another Israel from another area.’ But other calls came in, and I saw the video on social media. My heart sank. I knew it was my Israel gone.”

Clinton, 27, was living at Leon Street with a cousin.

“That’s how he ended up on the Caledonia side,” she said.

Clinton was the father of three children — six years, two years and a baby who will soon turn one.

His big sister has had to comfort his daughter who keeps asking for her father.

She said: “(Clinton) was supposed to pick her up that evening. She has been asking a lot of questions. She senses something is wrong. She is not seeing her daddy.”

She has another task to keep a suicide watch on his younger brother, who is an outpatient of the St Ann’s Hospital.

She said: “His younger brother became mentally ill after their elder brother died in an accident. He took it really bad. He could not cope. We are monitoring him. We don’t want him to be suicidal. He realises he has no father.

“Their mother died when they were young children. And his brother who was close to him and supported him has died. Friends and family are chipping in to give him that support. He is taking it really hard.”

‘Police are not judge, jury and executioner’ 

Sharing her sentiments on the protest, she said: “We were at (Forensic Science Centre) when we heard people were protesting. I understand and empathise with the Caledonia people on the first day.

“I don’t support the extended protest in terms of getting justice. I think the message about injustice and police brutality could have been lost.

“I don’t want to be misquoted. I could understand people had a right to protest. We had a large number of people for the year who were killed by the police. How can the police appoint themselves judge, jury and executioner?”

She added: “I am a firm believer in God and I believe ‘Vengeance is mine. I will repay it sayeth the Lord.’ I am not going to condone violence and mayhem. I am a law abiding citizen. I think the protest shifted from the original ideal. People started using it as an excuse to pelt big boulders and enter people’s stores and rob them.”

Asked about PM Rowley’s recovery programme initiative, she said: “It’s a good idea. We need to look at the approach. Approach is the key in policing and reforming communities.

“For so many years, Morvant and Laventille have been stigmatised areas. When I lived here, I had to ask about five taxis if they would take me home.

“You can’t blame the drivers if they were scared about being robbed or killed. It does not mean every resident is bad. It does not mean you are going to label every person as horrible.

“How long will you classify them in a particular manner? There are adults who work hard. There are pupils who want a sound education to get out of poverty, and it will be a passport from the community,” she added.

She said there should be focus on promoting literacy and skills training for arrogant police officers, with special focus on their interaction with young people.

She advised parents to hold on to their children.

“Teach them values; especially the difference between right from wrong.

“We are losing too many young people. Some are ending up in jail. Some are ending up in the graves prematurely. Teach them some level of spiritual values that they would cling to throughout their life’s journey.”

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