FORMER Emancipation Support Committee (ESC) chairman Khafra Kambon said there are some people in society who are in support of police committing extrajudicial killings.
He was speaking Sunday at the ESC virtual launch of the Kwame Ture Memorial Lecture Series.
He said the criminal justice system has always been an apparatus of control in TT and suppression dates way back to the historical experience. He added that one of the problems has to do with the mindset created by institutions, including the media, where certain populations are seen as almost outside the ambit of humanity.
“They can be killed by the police without producing any kind of reaction.”
Kambon pointed out that, in the US, the reaction to the police killing of George Floyd has been seen.
“In TT when you have extrajudicial killings some sections of the population congratulate the police who do it.”
He said that was owing to a sense of insecurity for the crime in society.
“If police can’t bring criminals to justice (those in society) are prepared to settle for anybody in a community paying, even with their lives.”
He said citizens need to examine themselves and look at class biases towards these communities on the edge and face the highest levels of discrimination.
“All of our communities are communities of human beings and we cannot push some communities to the edge of society. Our attitude is part of the problem.”
There were protests last week in East Port of Spain and other areas after three men were killed by police last week Saturday in Morvant. The police and the Police Complaints Authority have launched separate investigations.
Dr Olabisi Kuboni, educator and one of the leaders of the 1970 Black Power Movement in TT, said a factor contributing to the underdevelopment of communities was the way the State deployed resources via handouts. She added this was an intergenerational issue that has been happening for decades and a revolution of the mind was necessary.
Kuboni said in TT there were some former slave communities that have not been developed and some of those people “running in the streets” during the protests in the wake of police killings were from these communities. She said the issue of reparations there should be a demand of government to pay attention to the development of these urban communities from a reparations point of view.
“These have to be brought back to full development and not just through handouts. They need to link to the rise of the quality of life of people in communities which we ourselves have begun to turn our backs on.”
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