George Ashby

George Ashby

I note with more than passing inte­rest the protests that have erupted over the killing of three men in the Morvant area. While I may not be in total agreement with the methods adopted by the protesters, I can un­­­derstand the sense of helplessness they feel.

The term “extrajudicial killing” was used some time ago with reference to questionable killings by members of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS), of which there have been too many, dating back many years.

In many instances, citizens have lost their lives at the hands of law enforcement. In the aftermath of the vast majority of these killings, there has been a lack of action by the autho­rities aimed at unearthing the truth. The end result is a multiplicity of unanswered questions.

A case in point is the killing of George “Ozzie” Ashby which occurred 11 long, painful years ago. To date, not even an inquest has been called to ascertain the facts surrounding his killing. Where officers have exceeded their authority, with no attendant consequences, they could well become emboldened, leading to more loss of life.

The Police Complaints Autho­rity (PCA) is supposed to provide checks and balances for our Police Service, but for all intents and purposes it is a “tooth­less bulldog”. Investigations are conducted and upon completion, files are submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions who then determines the way forward.

In the case of Mr Ashby, there has been no way forward. To the best of my knowledge, the file is collecting dust in that office. In my humble view, the PCA should be vested with the authority to press charges where warranted.

Additionally, there is the Profes­sion­­al Standards Bureau of the TTPS; however impartial that body may be, there will always be the perception that it is a case of himself investigating himself. When people are made to believe that their voices are not being heard, they will resort to other means.

I must however hasten to add that I do not condone the violence, but I am mindful of the words of the late civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. He is quoted as having said, “Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest”.

To avoid recurrence of the distur­bing events seen recently, justice must be swift and seen to be done in a manner which leads to the belief that it is indeed for all.

Elias Lewis



Official recognition of the historical importance of the location where the Treasury Building now stands is long overdue. As the place that marks the spot where British Governor Sir George Fitzgerald Hill publicly read out the Proclamation of Emancipation on August 1, 1834, the site is of immeasurable significance to the history of Trinidad and Tobago.

WE celebrated Emancipation Day on August 1, but to my mind, we have not yet fully grasped the broader concept of freedom. In other words we have not, through our education system, formulated a critical pedagogy across our curricula; to foster a knowledge of self, to move beyond who we are, to transform the what- and how, to break with debilitating norms and to name our world. Inherent in all of this is the development of critical thinking skills in the learner and the learning culture.

IN the early 1970s, the Mighty Composer (Fred Mitchell) composed and sang a calypso entitled “Black Fallacy” in which he showed that many persons today and “from since in the Beginning” continue to use the word “black with a degrading twist,” to denote racism, prejudice and bigotry in their dealings with Africans and African descendants.

AS a civic-minded citizen, one piece of legislation I would like to see passed in the Parliament is one that regulates the conduct of political parties and their supporters during an election.

The insistence of the ruling party to hold the general election on August 10 in the midst of a new or second phase of the Covid-19 pandemic leaves many raised eyebrows and even more questions. Since many restrictions or “protocols” have been put in place to prevent the spread of the virus or “flatten the curve” of infections, two pertinent issues must be questioned here

I remember my deceased uncle telling me that, in the early 1960s, it was the people and religious leaders who went to Dr Eric Williams to persuade him to put the name of God into our Constitution.