Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 24th 2014 Contents Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
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While union leaders, civil-
society groups and People s
National Movement (PNM) sup-
porters made their way in a dis-
ciplined march through the
streets of Port-of-Spain, a few
men wearing red T-shirts pick-
eted the Parliament on Wright-
son Road with blatantly racist
"No More Indian Prime Min-
ister, PNM must rule."
"Power to the African with
"Jail for this Indian Gov't with
Dr Rowley in charge."
The picketers were the only
people wearing red among a few
hundred People's Partnership
supporters wearing yellow United
National Congress T-shirts.
But Opposition Leader Dr
Keith Rowley was quick to dis-
miss implications that the men
were PNM supporters, and
attributed the rogue protesters
to the People's Partnership Gov-
"We understand that people
dressed in red and carrying plac-
ards with racist statements have
been planted throughout the
march," Rowley said in a release
to the media.
"Clearly, those who wish this
march had never happened
would stop at nothing to discredit
it and distract from our real pur-
pose, which is to highlight the
gross mismanagement of our
nation's affairs and the wanton
and unabated corruption being
presided over by the Prime Min-
Rowley said the PNM rejected
out of hand what he described
as an "underhanded" attempt to
change the conversation sur-
rounding the march.
"We distance ourselves from
the divisive statements, born out
of the deceptive and dirty tactics
of those who wish to continue
to rape our treasury and continue
doing wrong against the will of
The incident, which spread
wildly across social media, was
the only one to mar a nearly
three-hour march through the
The march, which saw people
of all ages, ethnicities and social
backgrounds walking, singing
and chanting on the city streets,
focused on what protesters
described as poor governance by
the PP coalition Government.
While the march had a large
presence of union members,
politicians such as Independent
Liberal Party leader Jack Warner,
former Attorney General Ramesh
Lawrence Maharaj, interim ILP
deputy leader Lyndira Oudit and
United National Congress mem-
ber Mikela Panday were present.
PNM from 'plants'
Racist rants irk PP supporters
The main talking points protesters focussed on
were alcohol and marijuana.
Shouts of "stop smoking weed," were laughingly
repeated by union members, while a few individuals
carried signs calling for the decriminalisation of
Other men rolling pieces of white paper and
stuffing them with green plants mocked an online
video recently uploaded showing a man who
resembles a government minister, in a T-shirt with a
logo that appeared to be that of the Sport
Company, discussing rolling a substance.
Protesters also expressed their desire for the
removal of Anil Roberts as a minister as well as
Attorney General Anand Ramlogan and Planning
Minister Bhoe Tewarie.
One man said Tewarie had done nothing for the
people of east Port-of-Spain.
Police gave an estimate of 9,000 people for the
large crowds. This was less than the estimate of
between 11,000 and 15,000 which they gave for the
Section 34 protest in the city in 2012. However, it
appeared to be a much larger crowd than on that
While there were popular themes and grievances,
stemming from as far back as the People's
Partnership's election in 2010, several individuals,
who said they did not belong to any of the marching
groups, were protesting for different reasons.
One man, Aaron Bedoe, who was in a wheelchair,
said he felt the Government was doing a poor job of
managing the country.
"They say a lot but I am differently-abled and I am
not benefiting. Only a few benefit, and I am not
talking about financially or in terms of welfare, I
mean things like access to education for the
differently-abled," he said.
Verna St Rose-Greaves, former PP gender
minister, wore white, with dolls and puppets
attached to her clothing, as she called out
Government for its neglect of issues affecting
The reasons were varied but the crowd all agreed
that the current administration was not doing a
good job of running the country.
Police reported no incidents of violence during
either the protest or among the government
A large contingent, including two police buses,
nine police SUVs and over 100 officers on the
ground, as well as helicopters overhead, monitored
GANJA VIDEO A FOCUS
Govt supporters came out too
The People's Partnership supporters at the
Parliament building wore yellow UNC T-
Women and men, mostly aged 40 to 50,
sang out a chorus of "We love Kamla," while
pro-highway protesters held placards high
and cheered for government MPs.
They insisted that their show of support
had nothing to do with the JTUM march that
was being conducted simultaneously
through the streets of Port-of-Spain.
One woman, while talking to reporters,
shouted that she was there to support the
"We don't want change. Rowley only
talking about bringing change. We don't
want change. We want our Prime Minister."
Shouts of "Kamla! (pronounced Kam-ay-la)
Kamla! Kamla!" filled the air.
PP SUPPORTERS CAME OUT TOO
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar greets Richard Thomas as she meets United National Congress
supporters on her arrival at Parliament in Port-of-Spain yesterday.Thomas, a retired port worker, was
protesting his lack of payment from previous governments for disability. PHOTO: MARYANN AUGUSTE
A supporter of the Joint Trade Union Movement
recreates his own version of a video which purported
to show a government minister allegedly rolling
marijuana in a hotel room during yesterday's march
in Port-of-Spain. PHOTO: MICHEAL BRUCE
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