KAMLA PERSAD-BISSESSAR HAS NOTHING TO APOLOGISE FOR. THE ROWLEY REGIME HAS CROSSED ANOTHER LINE TOWARD FURTHER BARBARISM
The United National Congress disagrees strongly with the Express and Guardian editorials of 10 February 2022, which notably were almost identical in content and attitude.
The Leader of the Opposition, Mrs. Kamla Persad-Bissessar, SC, has nothing to apologise for, and the political debate surrounding the tragic killing of baby Yaelvis Santoyo Sarabia is far from “pointless” or a “distraction”.
In case the editorialists have not noticed, yet another line has been crossed toward barbarism by the Rowley regime with this seemingly unjustifiable use of deadly force by our national security services.
The explanation offered by the Coast Guard strains credibility, resembling stories of other extra-judicial killings by the State which simply do not add up.
It is our duty as the Opposition to denounce this in the strongest possible terms, to prevent the normalisation of such occurrences.
Our major media, like too many others in the society, appears fearful of condemning the Rowley Government, so they gratuitously attack Mrs. Persad-Bissessar to try to appear “balanced”.
This mealy-mouthed approach is the result of the terror and fear that so many citizens feel when they wish to speak out against the Government, panicked about being victimised, having contracts, advertising or jobs taken away, or otherwise targeted by the PNM, which keeps reaching for more and more ways to control our daily lives and livelihoods.
As tragic as this individual killing is, this is about something larger, which the editorialists do not call out or recognise.
Rowley is dragging Trinidad and Tobago down a spiral of death by covid, death by homicide and now normalising the killing of a baby. The Opposition is not only entitled to raise the necessary alarm about this, it is our duty. This is not a “distraction” or “pointless”.
That the Guardian cannot, or refuses to, see the larger issue is also part of the problem.
That the Express editorial minimises this killing as merely a “personal tragedy” is also woefully far from fitting. The Express is either purposefully minimising or not understanding the magnitude of this incident.
The treatment of refugees and migrants is globally one of the most important issues of our time. The world is watching how Trinidad and Tobago is going to deal with this apparently unjustified tragedy.
In Venezuela, both the Government and Opposition are demanding answers from us, for killing one of their most innocent citizens.
At the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), Geoff Ramsey, director for Venezuela, has observed, “Opening fire on fleeing migrants and asylum seekers that have identified themselves as such would be an atrocity. This needs a thorough investigation into not only the circumstances around the child’s death but also a migration system that apparently allows the use of deadly force and routinely violates Venezuelans’ right to seek asylum.”
Indeed, the use of deadly force by our national security apparatus needs to be strictly regulated, monitored and controlled.
This is especially necessary in our context where Keith Rowley has unconstitutionally interfered in the Police Service Commission to choose a Commissioner of Police – resulting in its collapse through the resignation of every single one of its members – and where our police have been authorised since 2019 to use tear gas against peaceful protesters, including women and children. These lines into tyranny have already been crossed in Trinidad and Tobago.
The Opposition will raise its voice without fear or favour and call a spade a spade whenever necessary. We will not sit back and betray our patriotic and constitutional duty to protect our democratic republic from the Rowley-led descent into barbarism.
This is why the Leader of Opposition has called for a comprehensive inquiry into the killing.
We will take the lead in ensuring that the good international name of Trinidad and Tobago is upheld, and that justice is done. We thank our Political Leader, the Hon. Kamla Persad-Bissessar for her outspokenness and bravery in defending our republic.