In T&T, it is one’s constitutional right to protest, but it should be done peacefully and not infringe on the rights of others, as their rights to peace and quiet will be affected.
It is all part of freedom of speech in this country, but approval from the Police Service is a prerequisite. Granted that a protest is a public expression of disapproval, objection or dissent towards an idea or action, but it should not interfere with basic human rights such as right to life, security and freedom.
Regrettably, current protests are supposedly against the Police Service for alleged police brutality, but the manner in which they are being done do not augur well for a win-win outcome. It seems confrontational, and will most likely result in strong positions being taken by both police and protesters.
Such posturing will naturally lead to the majority of citizens siding with the police, as they are considered on the side of law and order, and are geared towards protecting the citizens, especially those who are not protesting. There are many issues which suggest injustice in T&T, and protests should be focused on these in order to get buy-in from others.
• The issue of police brutality should be directed to the judiciary, political directorate and the Police Complaints Authority for the untenable length of time it takes for matters to be heard and investigations completed.
Despite changes in government and uncountable commentaries on the slowness of justice, they seem to be falling on deaf ears.
• The unfortunate stigma attached to Afro-Trinis must be addressed with alacrity. There seem to be too many instances of single parents and multiple fathers. The family unit is an extremely important part of a child’s life because ethical and moral principles are communicated or passed on within the family, most usually inculcating laudable values such as truth, honesty and fidelity in positive systems. Adherence to these principles will typically lead to a good family life, which will redound to the benefit and strengthening of society.
• The unjustifiable killing of innocents, especially young people, with particular emphasis on the two-year-old whose life was unduly snuffed out. Why should honest, law-abiding citizens be killed because they spoke out on malfeasance or perceived wrongdoing in their community? Why should people be killed because they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time?
• Protest against the drug blocks and perceived police involvement in maintaining and protecting these. The small man does not have the necessary resources to finance the types and quantity of drugs that are coming into the country. This clearly suggests influential persons may be involved in drugs and that some entities may be complicit.
• Domestic violence is rearing its ugly head, especially during this pandemic. While there are some entities, including the Government, addressing it, greater voices and better legislation seem to be needed to contain its spread.
Protests can take many different forms, but who or which entity has been championing the root cause of it? The manifestation of protests is seen in a stand-off between protesters and police, but why are others—such as university lecturers, criminologists, religious institutions, non-governmental organisations, judiciary, attorneys and media houses—not encouraging more dialogue regarding seeking justice rather than revenge?
Unfortunately, each of the two main political parties is blaming the other, but not working together for the benefit of the country. Each can continue to blame the other, but success and failure in progressing justice and obviating revenge will always remain the responsibility of the politicians who can create, implement and monitor plans and policies to propagate justice.
Without concerted efforts and action, no number of laws and theses will mitigate protests.