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UNC women’s arm: Rowley not elected to tear-gas citizens – Trinidad and Tobago Newsday


Phillip Bourne, centre, drinks a bottle of water as tear gas flows out of a cannister near him during a confrontation between protesters and police at a
Phillip Bourne, centre, drinks a bottle of water as tear gas flows out of a cannister near him during a confrontation between protesters and police at a “Push Back” demonstration at the Queen’s Park Savannah on Sunday. – ROGER JACOB

THE women’s arm of the United National Congress (UNC) says Government is taking the country along a dangerous path from which there may be no return.

It is accusing the Prime Minister of oppressing and provoking citizens.

In a statement to the media on Sunday, the group said no one elected the Prime Minister to tear-gas them.

Referring to the Push Back event on January 16 at the Queen’s Park Savannah where several participants were tear-gassed by police after refusing instructions to disperse, the women’s arm said the scenes resembled something happening in Venezuela.

“The UNC had been in government twice – 1995 – 2001. The Basdeo Panday administration faced many demonstrations, some led by Errol McLeod, former president-general of the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU), and Jennifer Baptiste-Primus, former president of the Public Services Association (PSA) who famously said she would hot up the place ‘hotter than ah chulha.’

“Likewise, Mrs Persad-Bissessar’s administration (from) 2010 – 2015 faced many demonstrations, some led by Keith Rowley himself: they dragged mannequins, blocked roads, burned tyres, led a hunger strike in front of the PM’s office for months, demonstrated in front of Mrs Persad- Bissessar’s home. You name it, they did it, and at no point in time (was) tear gas used against protesters.”

The group also referred to a video clip of a crying woman who spoke about how her family was affected by the tear gas which seeped into her car as she was driving around the Savannah going about her private business. It said another video clip showed a young woman walking on the pavement with her two children when they also came in the line of fire of the tear gas.

“What is even more frightening is the callous response by PM Keith Rowley when asked about the authorisation and use of tear gas. PM Rowley chooses to blame parents rather than caution the (police service).

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