|High Commissioner Gavin Nicholas meeting with anti-government group in London|
The High Commissioner invited the nine persons to come out of the cold to discuss their concerns.
Nicholas said, "The strength and sincerity of any democracy is only put to the test during periods of great adversity. This government has always sought to preserve the fundamental democratic principles of free speech and the freedom of assembly. "As High Commissioner I must respect the rights of all citizens, regardless of political affiliation and I intend to do just that. I will not turn back the clock on our democracy.”
High Commissioner recalled events in Trinidad during the Manning PNM regime. “As recently as 2009, riot police with dogs were called in to quash peaceful gatherings during the CHOGM and the Summit of Americas in an effort to prevent dissenting voices being heard beyond our shores. Labour leaders and opposition politicians were dragged away by police during peaceful demonstrations around the Parliament.”
He said the government he represents does not act in that manner. "We will listen to the genuine concerns of the population, weed out the political rhetoric and act on the genuine concerns. We believe that to be the right approach to good governance.”
The group headed by Pearce Robinson voiced their concerns about the state of Trinidad and Tobago’s democracy; the Minister of National Security, The Honourable Jack Warner, the Attorney General, The Honourable Anand Ramlogan and Section 34.
The High Commissioner said he would pass the concerns to the Government in Port of Spain.
In Toronto, Canada, a PNM backed group had planned a protest oustide the Trinidad & Tobago consulate, where local security officials were on high alert. However the promised mass protest did not happen.
Reports from Toronto say the PNM Abroad organisers called off the event for lack of participation; no one turned up for the demonstration.