Hinds should have stood his ground

By Raffique Shah
August 22, 2018

Raffique ShahFitzgerald Hinds made several fundamental errors in judgment that could have turned fatal when he ventured into the flooded Beetham Gardens last week Monday.

The first was to have gone there as the Member of Parliament for the area when there was nothing he could have done for residents whose homes were flooded out, except perhaps commiserate with them. I don’t understand why politicians believe their presence in such situations is obligatory. What the victims require is relief as far as that is practical, which means attention from the relevant regional corporations and disaster-management agencies.

They do not need to see their MPs’ faces pasted with sorrow, which they know is rank politicking rather than genuine concern—especially when the touring party includes media personnel.

Secondly, knowing Beetham as well as he does, he should have requested support from the security forces, mindful of the miscreants who infest that community. I doubt the police would have accompanied him during the floods, but since he was acting Attorney-General, soldiers might have been dispatched to protect him. In any event, he should have carried his personal firearm and been prepared to use it if the need arose.

And the third and most fundamental error he made was to have run from the rather small pack of “pot-hounds” whose barking was manifestly more dangerous than their bites. In my view, had he stood his ground, the worst that might have happened was a few more splashes of flood-water. I don’t believe they would have physically assaulted him, or worse.

Now, I know Hinds and many readers would say it’s easy for me to pontificate from the safety of my computer keyboard, that I was not on the ground facing the attack. That’s why I prefaced my comments by saying that Hinds should not have gone there, and certainly not unaccompanied.

From what I saw and heard in the video-clip, though, I sensed no mortal danger. The pot-hounds behaved like any canine pack, and appeared to be emboldened only when the MP started retreating, then running away. If they’d had sinister intent, they would have first shut down the television news camera and crew, although today’s criminals seem to care little about starring in videos as they commit heinous crimes.

My main concern over Hinds’ choice of flight over fight is this: it gave the Beetham thugs bragging-rights, they having already hounded out a squad of heavily-armed soldiers and police officers some time ago, a most shameful retreat of the military as I wrote then. They have repeatedly chased the police while they were on their lawful duties. Electricity and other utility workers have been robbed and flogged, and contractors who are hired to do any kind of remedial work have to pay the thugs money for “protection” of their equipment and employees.

In other words, the Beetham is a lawless state within a state that apologists for its criminal elements argue that we, the law-abiding citizens, must coddle rather than riddle…with fire.

I cannot and will not accept that, which makes no difference now that I am a Parkinson’s-stricken old geezer, not the daring young, fit and highly-trained army officer I was decades ago.

The irony of the Hinds’ debacle is that he is paying today for the sins of the Father of the Nation, Dr Eric Williams, who, almost with his bare hands, carved out Beetham Estate from the cardboard-and-rusting-galvanize Shanty Town, an eyesore at the gateway to the capital city.

The imps who attacked Hinds have no idea that their forebears, mostly small-islanders, once lived in abject squalor, and post-1970, Eric decided to back-fill the murky swamp and build bricks-and-mortar hovels to house them. As a young MP in 1978, when the Government kept extending Beetham closer to the massive garbage dump then called “The Labasse”, I pleaded with the PNM to not put human beings next to the corbeaux-ridden mountains of garbage. I warned that those people would morph into “human-cobos”.

Cuthbert Joseph, a senior attack-dog for Dr Williams, responded: You go and tell the people that, Shah! He knew the would-be residents would have torn me apart.

Today, indeed for many years now, the black hen chickens have come home to roost and plunder. That gateway to Port of Spain is the nesting ground for the sickest criminals in the country. Other citizens travel through the three arteries that traverse that death-zone in fear.

The politicians have harnessed the greed of Beetham residents, their mercenary instincts, to suit their political ambitions and goals. Mostly, it’s PNM-country, a bank of votes that can be bought for trinkets, with the lion’s share of the handouts going into the hands of the “baddest” gangsters.

The UNC would not be excluded from the flesh-feast: many people forget that in 2012, Jack Warner and Kamla Persad-Bissessar launched the $10 million “Hoops of Life” basketball programme—where else?—in the Beetham. NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal hoisted Kamla to dunk the first ball, and it was the last we heard of that anti-crime initiative.

Sociologists and bleeding-hearts apologists tell us what the deviants (as distinct from the decent residents) want is employment. I insist they want money, the easier the merrier. I also argue that these “badjohns” are no “badder” than you or I.

All it takes is a few courageous men to stand up, to be prepared not to die for what you believe is right, but to ensure the other fella dies for doing what you know is wrong.

8 thoughts on “Hinds should have stood his ground”

  1. Your recommendations for dealing with Beetham will lead to a massacre which will go down in history as the greatest mistake made by law enforcement in the history of T&T.
    There are better ways to deal with Beetham.

  2. Lt. Shah all that you said here is true except that Hinds(a jellyfish rasta) has no testicular fortitude to stand his ground. Those same pothounds would have chewed him up like piranhas. I think he did the right thing, put his tail(dreadlocks) behind him an run fuh he life. As much as I don’t condone violence and thuggery, politicians like him deserve some of dat. The “rockheaded” leader need some of dat.

    1. +What an Ass you are. Respect is a foreign word to you. and these Creations from the land of Garbage. I have to be this hash. Because You and these people are –WRONG, WRONG WRONG. Look at the Farmers, how the performed with the Minister, with some respect. They should get help, just because they knew it was Mother Nature. Its the Minister,Woman/man, they should be respected, like them, or not. If he have/came with GIMMIN GOODS on his head, everyone would of praise him. Why do he/she always have things for you? Look at INDIA. WATER, WATER WATER. Covering their House. everything washed away/Soaked. HAITI. Two/three Disasters , plus NGOs Mess. Who the Hell are these people.?? YOU, and folks like you, who Maybe DON’T live in the Country, are always pushing, undisciplined folks,with US and THEM, and its catching. What do these Folks DO?? pay taxes? Help their Community.?? Think Country?? Ps, Seems, if you are Not always agreeing to folks Crap, and FREE GIVEAWAYS, ONE is not doing one’s job.???

  3. Very coarse in your characterization of the dissatisfied Bro Shah, you fail to realize, representatives are suppose to be SERVANTS to the masses who voted he/she into Parliament. Some of your prior postings, have shown a level of bitterness that comes with aging +. Trinidad Society, have never come to terms with BEHIND the BRIDGE, HISTORY continues. I totally agree with you, that Mr Hinds should have stood his ground, but there was no ground to stand on, it was wet, the people have lost confidence, running shows a sign of weakness, where was the “TOWN MAN” attitude Mr Hinds?, Mr Hinds should have been a power broker politician, a strong one with his constituency supporting his every move, but he has lost his way, his previous portfolios have been taken away, relegating him to junior and acting status, you see my point? “DE MAN CHAH DELIVER”. As for the UNC, their MOUTH MAN WADE MARK, ran in the first Panday election, representing this very same constituency, defeated soundly then, he never came back, didn’t start anything. Sometimes,one have to run, to come back again, hope this scenario brings out some semblance of leadership in Mr Hinds.

  4. “He who fights and runs away lives to fight another day.”
    Trinidadians love freeness, Mr. Hinds – next time walk with a few boxes of groceries and make yourself a hero.

  5. Beetham is the quintessential society established by the PNM. They have always voted PNM. Hinds was fortunate to escape with his life. I was expecting them to grab him and cut his dread locks off. It would have been a moment sealed in history much like VS Naipaul mimic men.

    But Hinds did the right thing, get out of “Dodge” as fast as possible. He saw and sensed the danger of trying to reason with these drunk youths who were up to no good.

    Yes, the police would have come in van loads had anything happened to the area rep and assaulted the youths creating more bad blood. Beetham was flooded with islanders who became the PNM voter bank. And despite the event with Hinds will still vote PNM.

  6. If only we knew of the history of T&T, we would see this ‘development’ as the natural reaction of the Trinbagonian…

    Our history of ‘resistance’ is rooted in Bladensburg MD. 204 years ago (to today’s date, August 24, 1814) with the Burning of Washington DC. and the White House.
    These ‘Soldiers’ settled in Trinidad and we now know them as ‘The Merikens’… (They never taught yuh dat at Sandhurst, Shah?)

    We were NEVER ‘a passive’ people… ‘We’ went on to make the Red House ‘glow’ about 100 years later.

    In the abundance of water… The FOOL is Thirsty…

    *Fighting with the British that night were former American slaves:
    “The British brilliantly exposed a real weak side in American society, and that was slavery and our dependence on slaves,” said historian Steve Vogel, author of “Through the Perilous Fight,” a blow-by-blow account of Washington’s capture. “They offered freedom to slaves in this region, the Chesapeake. Said, you know, ‘Come over to our side. We promise you freedom. And if you want to, by the way, you can fight against your former masters.'”*


    Allyuh, take it easy on we… The ancestors are still yearning to be FREE.

  7. Lt. Shah are you saying the honourable rastaman Hinds should have committed suicide? I think he’s smarter than that.

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