Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Rights Action Group condemns police action in Chatham

For Immediate Release

The members of the Rights Action Group strongly condemn the arrest of members of a non-violent protest in Chatham by officers of the Trinidad and Tobago police service on Tuesday September 12, 2006.
As citizens of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, we would like to remind those officers and the seniors they report to, of the motto of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, which is “To Protect and Serve”.
We are deeply concerned that officers who are also nationals are being used against the people of these communities.
We see this is as a further indication that this form of forced helter smelter industrialization is invasive and a wholly inappropriate way forward for Trinidad and Tobago.
We urge the Police Service to take a more proactive role in mediating this serious and stressful situation. As yet, this community has been given neither the technical support nor the emotional support to process the possibility of large multi-national corporations - goaded by the state coming into their backyards with an industry that we daresay the state does not understand the implications of.
The communities of Chatham and Cap de Ville are exercising their right to free speech, as enshrined in this nation’s Constitution. Their protest continues to be non-violent and the Rights Action Group will continue to support the communities in their efforts to bring attention to their concerns by internationally tried and tested non-violent direct action means.
While the protesters were released without charge, we would like to urge the officers of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service to put these continued protests in the context of a community's intervention against a project they see as a crime against them.
We urge the Police Service to seek out the real criminals in this matter and protect the residents of Chatham and those who stand in solidarity with them.


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