Riot Squad Provoked The Picketing Fracas

By Stephen Kangal
December 20, 2009

ProtestAs a participant in the peaceful, legal and orderly picket conducted on the northern precincts of Parliament on Friday 18 during the debate on the controversial property tax bills I can say categorically that these armed to the teeth riot squad policemen acted on pre-meditated decisions and intentions to arrest Comrade David Abdullah. They in fact indulged in an act of unnecessary provocation while the picket was proceeding smoothly and being conducted in a most orderly, peaceful and legal manner to create a basis to arrest him.

The pavement was still passable to pedestrians although there was none in sight. When a riot squad policeman is trained to fight and you arm him to the teeth with an automatic weapon he feels that he is a superhuman. He is ready for the kill.

There was no need for any police intervention in the picket. Their ill-timed and foolish action created a huge media event that was immediately beamed to Copenhagen where PM Manning was seeing Danish marchers and demonstrators. The stocks of the PNM have been severely damaged by this savage unleashing of police brutality on innocent protesting citizens. The front of our Parliament has now assumed the notorious status of a Caribbean Tiannamen Square.

Their unprovoked brutal wielding of their batons shown on the television screens intent on inflicting injuries to innocent people must be condemned in the strongest of terms. It was an over-kill response to a non-existent, imaginary threat to law and order. Contrary to Minister Imbert there were no mega-phones. In the marches of Copenhagen yes–but not in POS on Friday last.

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18 thoughts on “Riot Squad Provoked The Picketing Fracas”

  1. While the country is being overun by murders and other crimes, the police, an arm of the PNM can attack peaceful picketers protesting increases in property taxes. Maybe the Police Service will better serve the population by finding the criminals and bringing them to justice.

  2. My predictions have come true to a point, for I have always felt that David Abdullah et al were inviting police to further augment their sense of martrydom. The police officer made it clear to the protesters that thier efforts were not a problem, but it was the noise level which was affecting the debate in the House of Representatives. It was the refusal to curtail the noise which made the police action necessary.

  3. Roger has me a bit worried here, are you serious sir? The day we can’t stand up for what we believe to be right, that’s the day we lose our freedom. I have indicated in another place that I am beginning to have some support for this tax, if it means that the rich would pay their just due, businessmen in this country cheat on taxes and that’s a fact, and from what I have heard during the debate, their liability relating to property tax is very unfair considering the value of their properties. However I need to be convinced that this tax would be used to improve the lives of the citizens. Now back to the protest, the police used a force that must NOT be condoned by anyone, they advance toward the protestors, not the other way around, a RIOT squad’s presence is to prevent “rioters” from violent protests and at no time were these protesters intending to become violent. I would wait a bit for the other responses.

  4. Dear Herbert
    From investigations that I conducted post-brutality with Hansard reporters, media personnel and Opposition MP’s who were in the House at the time it was said to me that because the Chamber is so well-insulated and a/conditioned there was absolutely no disturbance to the proceedings of the House from the legal picket taking place on the northern pavement

  5. Shades of Tubal Uriah Butler and the British government in south in 1937! When will goernments learn that nailing unionists is a sure way to electrify their cause.
    Bradshaw, Marryshow, Bustamante and others must be laughing at we Trinis who learn nothing from History

  6. Trinis did not necessarily need this futile , political distraction to be laughed at Ms. L . Every Caribbean leader since Alexander Bustamente, along with their citizens have secretly made fun of a people whose politicians while in office took on this ingrain cultural norm to the grand stage ,as they choose to ” cut their nose to spoil their face.”
    Interestingly enough, more global coup d’état has taken place as 3rd World countries attempts to repay IMF and World Bank loans, yet to this day most of the neighboring vultures that made strides at Trini expense, are still flipping us the bird when we ask about their debts to us, before we write more checks – go figure.
    Seriously, the Labor movement as a whole in our country is dead , but either cannot recognize it, or better yet due to dishonesty ,will not publicly admit so, as most of their global friends did. As for Labor leaders -com politicians that historically rode the backs of workers to assume power , handed them a few useless crumbs , then continue to blame others for all assumed woes that accrue ? They too would be taken seriously, when they can develop some semblance of understanding of the words solidarity, and empathy – particularly for the non tribe.

  7. Mr.James Philbert and the top brass in the police service are all aligned with the PNM,it’s their duty to protect and serve their master Mr.Manning.The only people that should be paying the property taxes should be staunch supporters of the PNM such as those in Laventille,Port-of-Spain,Beetham Gardens,Morvant etc.Supporters of the PNM have voted for Mr.Manning and hence would support his policies,it should be mandatory that they pay these taxes or even double the amount.Mr.Philbert and his cohorts have no choice but to ‘play along’ and obey their master like dogs.Roger(above) should be made to pay double the value of the property tax in his area,because he likes it so.

  8. Oh but I wish our thoughtful raging Pitbull ,with the Chewawa brains ,would see the irony or rather fully comprehend his own twisted logic. Please be informed cousin Pit ,that folks “in Lavantille, POS, Beetham Gardens , Movant,” you referred to,possess no land or property to call their own , and therefore should not be forced to pay anything.
    Ah , how sad for pit and similar misguided ,fringe lunatics, for unfortunately they’ll have to wait until 2095 when a likely change in political fortunes might occur when certain unmentionable divided political parties might come close to reclaiming power.
    I wish you well.

  9. We have a “buss head” mentality in TnT that is totally the antitheses of peaceful protest. We seem to have purchased it lock, stock and barrel for aparthied South Africa.(those wanting to jump into the fray on this comment are first asked to read Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton, in the scenes where he describes the union meeting to discuss the government’s brutality. They should also watch the film Ghandi, where again, protesters have their heads busted. While the right to peacefully protest is enshrined in many constitutions, there is a “How dare they…” attitide that is more the reality.
    I see in my minds’s eye, a public speaking session in the village of Cumuto some time before August of 1955. Butler is released from prison, and is going around the country speaking to the people. My mother wants very much to go with my father, but this is at night, in 1954 or so. He eventually concedes, and she dreses in two pairs of his pants, with a pillow at her back under her /his shirt. When I ask why- that was my nature, even then- I was told it was because the police might beat people who come to hear him. It was therefore better, that my mother be percieved as a man rather than a woman. Being a woman in a dress could be particularly bad if you tried to run at night under those conditions. By the time she had tucked her long hair up into a net, and put my father’s hat on, we did not know that person. All went well. There were no beatings. Thus began our tortuous road to democracy.I was living in TnT when police beat anti-aparthied protesters at the Oval, because they were protesting a South African playing for England. That was covered by the BBC and people elewhere, African originated people, questioned how could this be.

    As we approach 2020 we may want to consider what role should police play in protesting. I have seen a protest of about ten thousand Hispanics in Houston, many of them illegal immigrants, protesting for better treatment by the employers that exploit them. They risked deportation, but the job of the police was to see to it that they were not assaulted by others, that the line kept moving, and that no one ws hurt. For the same reason, police protect Klu Klux Klansmen when, hooded, they dare to get into the streets to preach their brand of hate. They too, are Americans.Sometimes a protest is accompanied by an anti-protest. The police keep them apart.

    Now that is democracy in action.

  10. “mramps December 22, 2009 at 9:34 am Roger has me a bit worried here, are you serious si The day we can’t stand up for what we believe to b right, that’s the day we lose our freedom. ”

    Please forgive me… I meant to type, ‘Wished they had beaten the hell out of you’.

  11. Thank for the “correction” Roger, but I am still at a lost, what do you mean, who should they have beaten and why. Linda, at the end of your post you mentioned some very important examples of how the “riot squad” should in fact operate. A Riot Squad is there to maintain order, to prevent unlawful action in terms of violence to person or property. But anyone who has seen the protest in question must agree that at no time were the protesters engaging in any violent behaviour, the Police actually were the ones who confronted the protesters and, in my view, provoked the ensuing hostility. Compared to another protest during the Summit, you can see why I say that there was a sense of provocation.

  12. Roger
    In all my interface with anyone any where in the world I have never been confronted with such a most inhumane, cruel and savage statement that reflects you own insensitivity and callousness. You will he in your natural habitat in Zimbabwe and in T&T’s riot squad.

  13. Let’s see, those ‘good Negros’ would participate in a protest with Stevie need to get a beating also.
    Here is a sample.. Now go tell him how Ras Shorty fused Indian Rhythms to come up with Soca…. He so smart.

    “Racism As a Marginalisation Strategy Posted: Sunday, February 19, 2006 By Stephen Kangal Throughout my 66 years of life spent in mother T&T I have frequently agonised and became depressed at the extent to which Indo- Trinbagonians have had to conduct an uphil struggle and a demoralising, bruising and losing battle to be accorded the constitutional and nternationally recognised human right to equality internationally recognised human right to equality and fairness Believe me when I say that I have moved in every facet of both national and international life. I therefore I speak from actual experiences, keen observations and careful…….”,61869,.shtml

  14. Roger, I followed your link above and I would like to really sit back and soak in what Steven has written, today is xmas and I would not be doing this today, except to say that I have a serious issues with this second class citizens bull shit that indians always claim, more when I get time, that would be very soon.

  15. I am always at a lost to understand the regular claims of marginalisation, treated as second class citizens etc. We hear of these claims and the other group would counter that the Indians were not interested in “govnt jobs” that they were more interested in business for example. I don’t want to get into that dotishness right now, what I want to address is that, let’s say if the claims of marginalisation is in fact true, then please, I would like to point out a couple of things for discussions.

    • Why can’t we address also a fact that this group who is marginalised, exploits employees of their businesses.
    • Why can’t we address also a fact that this group that is marginalised, pay bribes to govnt institutions in the course of their business activities.
    • Why can’t we address also a fact that this group that is marginalised, cheat on taxes due to the govn’t.

    These are just a couple of things we need to address, listen from the article I am willing to agree with the points raised but I am not going to agree that this is a one sided thing. It is absolutely necessary for us all to start looking at a system of meritocracy, if we fail this and another party is elected into power, the very said claims would be coming from the other group.

  16. Just 3 generations ago or 20, 0000 miles away, the Kangal’s (poor and destitute ) duty was to collect the night soil from his upper caste villagers homes and feed it to the pigs.
    Now one can psychoanalyse Stevie as he wears such a name as ‘Kangal’….
    I am not your oppressor Stevie.. Trinidad have been GOOD to Indians.

    “I do not want the Indian community to continue to subscribe to the con job foisted on us by the caste-based ruling Brahmin and priestly class of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. These opportunists pundit gave my paternal grandfather the name Kangal. It means poor and bankrupt. It was ntended I must remain poor and destitute in intended I must remain poor and destitute in India because both my name and the environmental and cultural norms and standards would have conditioned me to accept being down trodden, mendicant, second class citizen”.,4234,.shtml

  17. Thank ‘god’ for Kangal’s logical approach. It must be noted that the speaker(barry) was the one who called the police, according to philbert. Now, which one of you supporters of police brutality will explain which law was broken?

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