The law-abiding will strike back some day

By Raffique Shah
February 19, 2011

Raffique ShahI AM so blasted vex as I write this column (Friday morning), I am seething with anger. The newspapers featured a story complete with photographs showing a group of thugs attacking some farmers and other residents of a farming community in Lopinot. The violent, brazen attack occurred in full view of journalists who had gone to cover the story. In fact, the thugs threatened and attacked media workers who escaped blows only because one of their colleagues knew one of the attackers.

Then I receive news that Norris Deonarine, a man who campaigned for food security for the nation and for farmers’ rights, was found dead at his home. Norris was at the scene of the mayhem at Lopinot, and knowing him as I did, his blood must have boiled, as Trinis would say, seeing this gross injustice, not to add criminal act, meted out to people whose crime, if any, was to grow more food that consumers desperately need.

The cause of Deonarine’s death is yet to be determined. But whether it was from a heart attack or heartbreak, I am sure last Thursday’s incident contributed directly to his untimely demise. Norris campaigned for the People’s Partnership during the last elections, no doubt expecting a Partnership government to deliver on food production where previous regimes failed. It must have pained him to see the lip service all governments give to food producers continues unabated, for all the glib talk and promises that emanate from the mouths of ministers.

How could such an assault on farmers go unnoticed by the police and the relevant authorities? Where were the police? If the media were alerted to the story, how could the police not know of that volatile situation? Or were certain rogue cops part of the gang, as some spokespersons for the beaten farmers allege?

Which brings me to just how defenceless we law-abiding citizens are, and why more beleaguered citizens are retaliating against criminals, prepared to face the consequences of their actions. When the Government and the Police Service fail to stem the tide of crime, people like those villagers in Penal would take action to protect themselves.

I am writing this 24 hours after the Lopinot mayhem. I am sure the police have not yet intervened. Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs must know of it: if he does not, he should pack his bags and board a flight to Canada! Why are the men who launched that violent attack not stewing in police custody, grilled about their assault, then hauled before the courts on Monday, having spent a weekend in police cells? Why, Mr Gibbs? The country demands and deserves answers from you. That is why you are paid so handsomely from my tax dollars and those of other law-abiding citizens.

To add to our woes, two Friday nights ago, the Beasts of Beetham struck for the umpteenth time, brazenly attacking motorists on the Beetham Highway. Several people came close to death, many vehicles were damaged with no hope of compensation to their owners, and the police offered no protection or relief to the victims. Mr Gibbs, that highway is a main entry point to the capital city of this country. If people cannot enter or exit Port of Spain freely, where are we living? In the jungle where survival of the “baddest” is supreme?

Ten days ago, my very peaceful neighbourhood was rocked by gunfire. A neighbour returned home around 8 p.m. and was confronted by a gun-wielding bandit who almost killed him, then made off with his vehicle. He immediately reported the incident to the nearest police station in St Margaret’s (find out where that is, Mr Gibbs), just a mile away from where the incident happened.

You know what, Commissioner? The officer there told him he needed to report the incident to the Couva station. This man could have been killed. The bandit must have driven the car not far from the crime scene when he reported the matter. Common sense suggests the officers should have sent out an APB and started the hunt for the bandit while their colleagues in whose precinct the crime occurred had time to mobilise and respond. The Couva police came 90 minutes later, took a statement…and that was it!

Now, if I were driving out of my street when that robbery was taking place and I saw a chance to run over the bandit, I would have done it. But I would have ended up in a cell—guess where? In the St Margaret’s station! Meanwhile, policemen on duty at the Prime Minister’s private residence leave their posts unmanned for a few hours and arrangements are made for soldiers to replace them.

Where is the justice, the equality in the eyes of the law? All over the country the wealthy are subjecting the less fortunate to their money-driven strong-arms. I know of numerous cases in which rich people are riding roughshod over the poor, especially in land matters. If the police intervene, it’s invariably to add muscle to the perpetrators’ illicit acts because they are bribed.

The truth may be unpalatable, Mr Gibbs, Madam Prime Minister. But it’s what’s happening on the ground. Law-abiding citizens are under siege, from the law and the lawless. Some day they will muster the courage to strike back—at the criminals, rich or poor, at the police who have abdicated their responsibility to protect and serve, and at the politicians who make only empty promises. Some day.

11 Responses to “The law-abiding will strike back some day”


  • Apart from ‘playing games’ with cane farmers over the years what did Shah do whilst in parliament to foster agricultural growth? Does this compare with the efforts of minister Bharat over less than 9 months?
    Did Shah’s years of criticising Panday help agriculture in any way?

    • Those cutlass unlawful animals should pay the ultimate price for their intimidating, bullying, demonic ways. They got bail? is just an example of how the protective service, lax legal players & system is not working and how uncivilized TT is.
      These criminals are so boldfaced and lawless, demanding that they should nnot be filmed etc? That’s hard cold evidence caught in the act.
      The Arima Court with its corrupt members etc, will only force this case to be dismissed as usual after long, frustating, overbearing cat & mouse, between the attorneys, police,postponed, draw out court matters. Criminals have all day to be unproductive.
      The Sad Victims are really the Farmers,they are suffering the lost of lively–hood, income and problems attached to this> all around with this fear looming in their work space, the lost of work time for legalmatters,
      Please, givethese farmers strenght to ply their trade and feed the nation, contribute to our productivity by efforts. These lawless animals should be held sternly accountable.
      Those elements aare not clean & white as snow,dig deeper. Mr. Gibbs is only one man in an already corrupt system. He’s trying his very best. Even Scottland yard said it, the crime perpetuates because of the corrupt system TT has. It’s a very undisciplined mentality without consequence.Mr. Barrat,Mr.AG, Mr. Security, Mr. Finance, Their should be detramental consequence for these bullying cutlass animals. Thank You.

  • We should stop criticizing serious inputs and offer suggestions. If you were in this situation what would you do?? There is a serious problem in this country and we need to understand the problem and start working to get it under control. Why is it that intimidation is the only way laws can be enforced?? Why is the court system not being updated to deal with the rising criminal elements in the population?? What needs to be done?? Where are the legal minds needed to correct our course??

  • “Common sense” and Trinidad and Tobago, you used that as though they are one of the same.. You have lived you live in Trinidad mostly and you seem to think that apart from having a good time and liming is what Trinidadians don’t want… For my 46 years I will never understand why we don’t march like the North Africans and Middle Easterns over the Crime and Punishment aspect of life.. If I have to return to my dwelling before dark.. That is no kind of life but a punishment.

  • Steve -Orlando,Florida

    Trinbago’s its time to wake and smell the coffee, no one will help you unlest you help your self. You are spending millons of dollars on foreign law enforcment to protect you and what are you benefiting? I know there have to be some Intelligent people in Trinbago. Its time to have a national march against crime, air your frustrations, let them know that you are tired with all these foreign experts and there crime plans. you want results and you want it now. if they dont have some imediate solutions. Then there will really be Vigilantism. If the powers that be can’t protect me and my family what choices do I have? My friends In the mean time form block associatons and insitute you own crime awareness programs, you dont have to have a gun to protect your selves every thing in you house and yard is a possible weapon be creative protect your self’s By any means necessary.

  • Tonight, CBS’s “60 Minutes” went into detail about what went right or wrong, in Tunisia, that set fire to the Middle East. It began with a seller of oranges, at a fruit stand deep in the country of Tunisia, a small town where no tourists go. A woman official challenged the man because his scale was not stapmped with the year’s license. She confiscated it. Now he could not work. He protested. She publicly slapped him. He went to the police station to get his scale back and to complain, but was chased away. He walked across the street to a gas station, purchased a litre of petrol, poured it over himself and set himself on fire, right outside the police station. Facebook picked up the story. The President, who has since fled, went to the hospital to visit the man, wrapped like a mummy from head to toe, and is seen in his suit, with his bodyguards standing at the man’s bed. The picture inflamed the other oppressed people, and protests started. When the man died a couple of weeks later, the protests intensified. Pictures of the dead shot down by the police were all over the social media. The result was that the president and his lootocracy of a family fled. That single man, burning himself to death because he could not make a living, has brought down two goernments- Tunisia and Eqypt, and has the others on the ropes_ Morocco, ALgeria, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Jordan and Syria. No news is coming out of Saudi Arabia except that they sent troops to help kill Bahrini protesters. A 30 mile causeway connects Bahrain and Saudi.

    One person, who decided to die for something, will allow a lot of others to lie a better life. I know only two arab poeple well, both women. I salute them for the change they are seeig in their homelands.
    We in TnT talk, and occsionally get violent, but mostly, we talk.

    • In addition to the self-immolation by the student fruit-vendor bringing down the Tunisia despot was the information provided by Wikileaks showing the billions the criminal regime had salted overseas and also the extent to which the government of Britain and Barclays bank had facilitated the thievery.

      One must also commend the youth today who, using technologies like Facebook, Twitter and their other internation social networks are changing the face of the planet for better.

      May Yeshua Hamaschia lift up His countenance upon them and grant them peace and prosperity.

  • Crime is like a cancer, it spreads and will continue to spread, soon a nation descends into lawlessness. I was wondering why those criminals who attacked defenseless people in full view of cameras are still prancing around free??? There has got to be a really good explanation from the Commissioner of Police since he said citizens must wait for the police (lol).

    The police did the regular thing when people come to them, take a report and go back to work doing nothing. That is life in sweet T&T.

    • What you need to keep in mind is that in no country or place does crime begin at the bottom of the social ladder.

      It is most reported on there, because to be accused of crime either as a culture or social class demonstrates not so much one’s level of morality and criminality as it does the levels of one’s social and financial vulnerability.

      Crime does pay, and has done so for millenia and will into the future, unfortunately.

      Hence the territorial successes earlier of Roman, British, and American imperialisms, and today the financial successes of narco imperialism.

      In a society, respect or disrespect for the law begins, not at the bottom of the social ladder, but at the top.

      Disrespect and/or respect then becomes the preferred practice of the lower masses who, seeing judges, politicians, police, prison officers, business elites et al breaking the law, join in the practice.

      But while the lower classes can break the law, unlike the upper class elites, they cannot ever become above the law; the worst form of law-breaking.

      Unfortunately, without the means to hire expensive lawyers, sometimes to fight extradition and to finance political parties into government, these lower masses then fill up the courts and occupy the prisons, further providing employment and profits to those who run the society.

      Crime in T&T will truly begin to be fought when officials like CoP Gibbs get enough cojones to lockdown and do mansion to mansion searches of the gated communities in addition to those segregated by poverty in vulnerable places like Morvant & Laventille.

      Crime pays, for sure, and until a population gets beyond the official propaganda against the poorer masses being the instigators of crime, crime will continue to pay well, and the true criminals, those segregated into the gated communities and insulated from the eyes of the police–except for some occasions when by sheer accident police enter their homes and find millions lying around and high-powered weapons–will continue to cast the proverbial stone while hiding the hand that throws it.

  • BArclays was also a major financier of the Slave Trade in Africans and a banker of loot stolen from the Jews by the NAziz. That they are stillin businss is because they are the whores of the world. Swiss banks and the BAnk of New York are running close seconds.

  • Hello Raffique Shah,
    I was just browsing around on the computer and I saw that you are still trying to keep the politicians in line .Anyway, just wanted to say hello to you from an old friend. From Carapichaima E.C. School. I know that you will remember me. RAM RAGOO.
    You look very good, keep up the good works. Hope to see you one of these days.

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