Movement for Social Justice on Police Violence

2020 June 28

Media Release

MSJ stands in solidarity with the people of Morvant and call for the immediate arrest and suspension of all officers involved in this cowardly act.

The Movement for Social Justice condemns the killing of the three men by police in Morvant on Saturday last and is hereby calling for the immediate arrest and suspension of the police officers involved in the killing of the three young men from the community, the lives of whom from particular communities, as the MSJ have always said, appear to do not count for much in Trinidad and Tobago.

The Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) is also calling for an immediate independent investigation into the conduct of the police on the said day, and to request that the Commissioner of Police produce the footage from the body cameras or from the cameras deployed in the police vehicles which were on the scene of this questionable act by these police officers.

We are also calling on the government to mandate that police officers are equipped with body cameras when going about each and every police intervention in pursuit of upholding the law. Further we are calling for the resourcing of the Police Complaints Authority with the necessary resources and powers to efficiently conduct the required investigations into the hundreds of police killings which have happened over the last few years and for which there seems to be no determination.

By failing to properly resource the PCA, successive governments, both the PNM and the UNC have failed to address this injustice to which the family members of working-class communities are frequently subjected. Most of these matters go on for many years without any determination. Justice delayed is justice denied. In general, persons from these communities, their lives do not matter, do not count for much, except maybe for votes at election time.

Only on June 14th we had said “there continues to be an escalation of police killings in Trinidad and Tobago” and since that time to today there have been several new police killings, including this one. 43 in six months according to the PCA. It seems as though members of the police force have taken the commissioner’s use of force policy and his incendiary remarks about ‘cockroaches’ as a license to kill. This is not the first time that this has happened under the watch of Gary Griffith, as we had a similar spike when he was National Security Minister, and for which he was called out by the MSJ.

The MSJ have always said there is a section of the population who seem not to matter, who are voiceless, and who face the brunt of the inequities and injustice in the society.

The previous commissioner of police always used to say that the society wanted him to fix a social problem for which he was not responsible. He was clearly much more astute and perceptive than the current holder of that position, who obviously seems to feel the way to fix this problem is through the barrel of a gun, a position which the MSJ rejects.

The MSJ stands in solidarity with these communities and the families of those who have lost ones in these tragic circumstances. Their lives also matter and we call on Commissioner Griffith to once again address this outrageous and vexing situation about which he cannot deny some responsibility.

GREGORY FERNANDEZ

CHAIRMAN, Movement for Social Justice (MSJ)

“Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.” ― Haile Selassie I

We call on all right-thinking citizens to speak up!

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