PM decries PoS protests but recognises people’s pain

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A policeman tries to put out a fire on Nelson Street, Port of Spain during protests by residents over the killing of three men by police at Independence Square, Port of Spain on Saturday. Photo by Ayanna Kinsale

THE Prime Minister said fiery protests such as those in east Port of Spain on Monday, could make everyone’s lives harder, even as he also acknowledged that people were pained by the circumstances that led to the protests.

He made the comment at the post-Cabinet briefing on Thursday at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s in response to the protests which followed the police-involved shooting deaths of three young men in Port of Spain on Saturday.

The victims, Isaiah Roberts, 17, Leonardo Niko Williams, 17, and Fabien Richards, 21, were shot on Independence Square by police following a chase which started in Diego Martin.

Dr Rowley said he witnessed lawlessness on Monday which could affect the economy. He said some people believed that was how to talk to the Government or get into political office.

“Heaping more coals on our head, denying us a drink of water, or making it difficult for us to move lawfully from one place to another, in no way improves our circumstance.

“What we are required to do now as a people is to do what is sensible, what is useful, what is helpful, to reduce the amount of weight, the pressure that is on our shoulders. Every country in the world today is under some kind of pressure, much of it unanticipated, at this time. We are required to put our best foot forward.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley. –

“So those kind of disturbances, we’re better than that.”

He elaborated in reply to a query from a reporter.

“There are things that happen that we expect not to happen, that we hope will not happen and circumstances don’t develop when these things happen.

“There is an investigation taking place and I would not want to comment too widely on it, but I would rather if that did not happen. We await the investigation and those investigations will tell us the extent to which it was an action that was avoidable, reasonable, illegal or legal.”

He said that was how a civilised society handled these things.

“I know that emotions are high. The loss of life, the loss of friends, the loss of family, the loss of community members, it brings pain.

“People feel that pain but we need to not create more pain for the wider society. Let us handle it in a civilised way, get to the bottom of it.

“We have instruments in place for dealing with that. Let us deal with that. We don’t encourage wrongdoing.”

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