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Dealing with bombs

Newsday Editorial

Yesterday, an explosive device was planted at the side of a pole on George Street. Nearby was a heap of garbage. When the device exploded concrete and garbage were scattered across the street.

It was extremely lucky that no one was injured this time. But we must bear in mind that this was pure chance, and nothing else. It was only because the rain was falling heavily and the area where the bomb was planted had no shelter, that no one was injured. But this, obviously, was not the intent of the persons who placed the explosive device.

The timing of the bomb that exploded yesterday in Port-of- Spain may not have been random. It came the day after Yvonne McIvor, who lost her leg in the blast on Frederick Street on July 11, was discharged from hospital.

That may have sent a signal to the bomber or bombers that the authorities had made no headway in their investigations. It is also possible that the George Street bomb was a response to Ms McIvor’s public forgiveness to the perpetrator. "I would ask him why he did it. I hold no animosity," she said. And, as if to throw her words back in her face, the act has been repeated.

Clearly, the perpetrators saw little risk in doing so. After all, here it was, almost exactly a month later, and our top honchos had nothing of substance to offer. They had claimed to have some leads, but it seems that the perpetrators knew better. The contrast between the British police detectives’ rapid action in London and the mere gallerying of our own top officers, who landed almost on top the crime scene in a helicopter, assured the criminal elements that they have the upper hand.

Anyone who plants a bomb is a psychopath. Even if they have political motives, they are still psychopaths, since they do not care who they maim or kill. And these person or persons are clearly pure psychopaths, since they do not even have the thin excuse of a political agenda. That the bomb was planted in George Street also tells us that the perpetrator isn’t even angered at the better-off persons in our society. George Street, after all, is frequented by working-class persons who live and shop there. These were the people who, save for fortuitous timing, would most likely have been hurt by the explosion, the second in a month.

The question now is, what will the authorities do? Our political leaders cannot provide us with any comfort in the wake of this new incident. Prime Minister Patrick Manning’s mishandling of the first incident has not faded from people’s minds - he waited three days before making any comment and, when he did so, tried to aggrandise himself by claiming that threats had been made "to the life of the Prime Minister." Nor has Opposition leader Basdeo Panday’s pathetic attempt to blame the Government been forgotten. Our two political leaders’ inability to put country before selves will not now be compensated by more measured words. National Security Minister Martin Joseph may be more efficient this time, since the Information Division will be open to write his statement. But citizens aren’t likely to place much credence in anything he says, either.

What matters now is that the investigators use every means at their disposal to track down the perpetrators. If the means at their disposal are not sufficient, then they must be acquired in short order — and we are not talking about more blimps. Bombs, even home-made ones, leave a trail that can be tracked. The investigators should know how to do such tracking. Unless they make headway this time around, it is likely that we will see a repeat of this kind of incident within the near future.

Trinidad and Tobago News

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