IN her Independence Day message, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar laments that the government was no different from “our colonial oppressors” using archaic laws to torment a political opponent.
She said, “It is the greatest irony that on the occasion of our 57th Independence Anniversary that our own Government has been doing the same as our colonial oppressors by using the archaic charge of sedition to torment a political opponent. Clearly massa day is not done!”
Quoting Dr Martin Luther King, she said, “We all came in on different ships, but we’re all in the same boat now.”
She said this statement rings so true after 57 years of independence, adding, “we are Trinidadians and Tobagonians; we cannot be and should not try to be anyone else.
“While we must never forget our ancestral lineages, customs and cultures, we must strive to build a society that is distinct to our unique circumstances.”
Referring to Public Services Association President Watson Duke sedition charge arising out of his statements last November when he urged TSTT, TTEC and WASA workers to be prepared to die, she quoted Duke: “This is your belief folks, this is your family and I am sending the message clear, let 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.”
Persad-Bissessar also quoted PNM MP Fitzgerald Hinds at a party meeting: “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, 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.”
The Opposition Leader added, “One speaker says be prepared to die for his union members while the other invokes his supporters to kill them dead. Which is worse? Yet there was no investigation, no charge, no protest from the government for one while the other is being prosecuted and persecuted.
“What exactly is the specific criteria that is being used to determine what is free speech and what is seditious after 57 years of independence? What are the criteria to determine who is charged and who is not? I do my duty as Opposition leader and ask these questions so as to protect all patriotic citizens from running afoul of this archaic law and an ever-increasing oppressive Government.”
She said the standard of living of our citizens continued to decrease and “the dreams of many of citizens are being shattered and their true potential ignored by this Government’s failure to equitably address the needs of the population.
“Many of the policies, acts and even inaction in some circumstances by this Government have led to this nation’s image being tarnished and the way of life we once knew is constantly being eroded.”
Persad-Bissessar called on the government to remember their constitutional responsibilities and suspend the modus operandi of the last four years which has seen them operate as a government for “the few and not the many.”
She said, “I call on the government to be inspired by the accomplishments, dynamism as well as the world-class talents of our people and do all in their power to ensure that each citizen is empowered to be part of nation-building.”