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'Padders' Deadlier Than Robbers

By Raffique Shah

SO Sadiq Baksh believes that the police were being too harsh when they handcuffed his niece and three other women charged with elections-related offences! Well, welcome to the real world of crime, Trinidad-style policing, and the proverbial wages of sin, Mr Baksh. Maybe he and his political leader, Basdeo Panday, who is also kicking up a storm over the arrest of "that poor girl", do not look at the pages of the daily newspapers. Over the past two weeks, almost on a daily basis, victims of "Operation Anaconda" were paraded for media cameras, face down on dusty sidewalks, or hands up against grimy walls.

What Baksh and Panday must ask is whether the offence for which "that poor girl" was arrested is any different to what poor people who feel the brunt of Howard Chin Lee's "big snake" are suspected of. Because most of the young men from urban Port of Spain who have been searched, and in instances arrested and charged, could be as innocent as "that poor girl" and the scores of other UNC supporters who today face "vote padding" charges are presumed to be. If, given the crime surge, we agree that the police need to use desperate measures in dangerous times, then we must also agree that those who have perverted the electoral process should be treated no differently to suspected bandits, robbers and murderers. MORE

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