Letters

Indian lives do not matter – violent incitement against Indians

On her Facebook page, well-known ruling People’s National Movement’s (PNM’s) political activist, Juliet Davy, of Trinidad and Tobago, created and shared a blood-curdling video recently.

No one in the mainstream media even made reference to it except for an Afro Opposition United National Congress (UNC) radio talk show host, Barrington “Skippy” Thomas.

The video was captured for posterity by a UNC activist, Garth Christopher, who is racially-mixed (25/6/20).

Not even a single Indo-Trinidadian made a public comment, except for journalist Niala Maharaj who has been living in the Netherlands for the past 40 years.

On her blog (30/6/20), Maharaj wrote: Between the BLM [Black Lives Matter] movement and electioneering in Trinidad, Indian-bashing is getting to be the new normal on Facebook. No one blinked an eye last week when a video repeatedly made the rounds with a PNM activist urging ‘Africans’ to jump over the walls of Indian-owned properties, rush into their houses, and ‘deal with them’”.

The majority of Afros (Africans) support the PNM while mainly Indos (Indians) back the UNC.

Are Indians really docile and afraid to speak out, even those in the UNC against whom the threat was made specifically? No leader in the PNM distanced the party from, and denounced the violent incitement of Davy.

I instantly reported the matter to Commissioner of Police, Gary Griffith via his Facebook page but I did not even receive the courtesy and comfort of an acknowledgement. He is known to scan and respond to every shadow that jumps at him on social media. Beyond a shadow of doubt, Davy has committed a seditious act and she should have been investigated, arrested and charged.

The Sedition Act (1920, last amended in 1976) states that a seditious intention is a plan to engender or promote (i) feelings of ill-will or hostility between one or more sections of the community on the one hand and any other section or sections of the community on the other hand; or (ii) feelings of ill-will towards, hostility to or contempt for any class of inhabitants of Trinidad and Tobago distinguished by race, colour, religion, profession, calling or employment (Section 3).

A person is guilty of an offence who has been found to have communicated any statement having a seditious intention. Subject to Subsection (3), a person guilty of an offence under this section is liable (a) on summary conviction to a fine of three thousand dollars AND to imprisonment for two years; or (b) on conviction on indictment to a fine of twenty thousand dollars AND to imprisonment for five years.

Is the Black-dominated Police Service (TTPS) racially and politically biased? In April last year, the police, led by Inspector Wayne Stanley, executed a search warrant at Radio and TV Jaagriti for an audio-visual clip. In the clip, the late Hindu and Indian civil rights leader, Sat Maharaj, is reported to have said that Tobagonians are lazy and the men are rapists. The matter went to court.

Sat’s stereotypical description pales in comparison to that of Davy’s violent instigation: “Is many of you holding it back; many of you holding back. … What we really need to tell them is how they mother really make them. That is what we really need to tell them … We suppose to jump over they fence, run up inside they house, hold them, and deal with them seriously.”

In August last year, Opposition Minority Leader in Tobago, Watson Duke, was arrested for a speech he had made in 2018. As part of the speech, Duke reportedly said: “I am sending the message clear. Let [PNM leader] Rowley them know that the day they come for us in WASA, we are prepared to die and the morgue would be picking up people.”

Duke was arrested, charged for sedition and released on TT$250,000 bail while Davy remains unscathed.

On a political platform in Mafeking Junction, Mayaro, on November 16, 2016, PNM Minister Fitzgerald Hinds urged his mainly Afro audience supporters: “I said to my colleagues, as a younger parliamentarian then, I said the UNC is badly wounded. We need to finish them out. Kill them dead. I want you to understand that on November 28 [local elections day], you have the opportunity to drive a PNM balisier deep into the hearts of the wicked UNC vampires. Take a stake with a balisier on top and drive it deep within their heart and finish them off once and for all.”

His audience howled: “RAYYY!”

Hinds has never been questioned by the police, arrested or charged for sedition for having publicly expressed “feelings of ill-will or hostility” against a section of the community (The Sedition Act, Section 3 (i) and (ii)).

As with Davy, no leader in the PNM has distanced the party from, and denounced his hateful and violent racial and political instigation.

Dr Kumar Mahabir

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