Abdulah slams Hinds over Rose Hill gunfire comments

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

David Abdulah. – Photo by Roger Jacob

MOVEMENT for Social Justice political leader David Abdulah slammed National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds for what he said were inappropriate statements that Hinds made about a shooting incident near Rose Hill Primary School last week.

Responding to questions on the matter from Opposition MPs in the House of Representatives on November 4, Hinds said, “The actual shooting incident took place about 200 metres from the school.”

School administrators, Hinds continued, told him in the presence of the police that “they were satisfied that at no stage in that event, were the children at peril, or any physical harm.”

He accepted that the sound of gunfire was traumatising and troubling for everyone.

Hinds said the school is overseen by the Catholic School Board and the board has ensured that the students have been taught certain safety practices over the years.

“The children reacted accordingly.”

Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal asked Hinds if he was the author of a Facebook post which claimed that a video which showed students lying on the floor of their classroom while gunshots were heard, was misleading and the students “were not in any imminent danger.”

Hinds did not answer the question.

He said the police will increase the number of static patrols in the area around the school.

“In other words, they remain on that and surrounding locations far more permanently.”

Hinds said the police will also offer counselling sessions for staff and students.

During a virtual news conference on Sunday, Abdulah described Hinds’ statement as totally inappropriate and totally disgusting.

Regardless of where the shooting incident happened, he said the students would have been traumatised.

Abdulah said MSJ members from different parts of TT, told him there are some places where people discharging firearms is a regular occurrence.

He added that a bullet fired from a high-powered assault weapon could travel considerable distances.

Abdulah said Hinds’ statement provides further evidence that he is not fit to serve as national security minister.

On moves by police and other law enforcement agencies to stem the flow of illegal firearms into TT, Abdulah said the MSJ had long advocated a solution for this.

“Fix the damn scanners.”

Abdulah reiterated that once scanners at the airports and seaports are working properly, it will stem the flow of illegal guns into TT.

He said the MSJ will issue a statement this week to reiterate all of the policies it has with respect to dealing with crime.

Abdulah added that no other political party in TT would ever do that.