Thursday, January 23, 2014


Dear Mr. Maharaj,

Today, Thursday 23rd January 2014, you are featured in a couple daily newspapers, namely the Trinidad Express, the Trinidad Guardian, assuring the trade unions and the population at large that you will once again be taking up the mantle as defender to those whom you choose. 

In this case, the poor, hapless and oppressed souls just so happen to be trade union activists, who are intending to protest for whatever reasons they may find. As noble and laudable a cause as this may be there are some key issues with your statements that I would like to clarify for the sake of all parties involved, and for the freedoms and rights enshrined in our constitution to reign.

As I understand it, and as was reported in the daily newspapers following the event, on Tuesday 20th August 2013, when Mr. Ancel Roget was detained by then Deputy Commissioner Mervyn Richardson and other TTPS officers, his initial capture and detainment was based on the infringement upon The Public Holidays and Festivals Act 19:05 of the constitution, which states:

Subsection 2 - The President may make Regulations for the conduct and management of public festivals or any particular public festival and for the proper behaviour of persons and the preservation of the peace at such festivals; and, without prejudice to the generality of this provision, Regulations made under this subsection may permit persons to celebrate such festivals in the streets and other public places with parades, processions, music and fireworks, and may permit them to throw specified substances at other persons, to appear masked or otherwise disguised and generally to celebrate the festivals in any manner that may be prescribed.
Subsection 5 - Any person who appears in public masked or otherwise disguised except during a public festival at which he is authorised to do so by Regulations under subsection (2) is liable to a fine of $1,000 or to imprisonment for six months.

Mr. Roget was informed of the law and the punishment it entailed however, just prior to him being released, Mr. Roget indicated his intention to rejoin his comrades and continue his previous action (whatever term you choose to call it). 

It was then that Deputy Commissioner Richardson informed him that no request for permission for either a public march or meeting and warned Mr. Roget about resuming his previous action, but those words went unheeded. However, no further action was taken by the police to interfere with the action subsequent to that. 

So to say definitively that Mr. Roget was arrested for protest action is in my humble opinion incorrect and highlights bold liberties with the truth. As I mentioned earlier, neither Mr. Roget nor his colleagues made any application for any action to be taken that warm summer's morning. So the question plaguing me is why was no permission sought? 

Was it that Mr. Roget has had past experiences in which permission was requested and subsequently denied? Or was it that Mr. Roget simply woke up one morning and decided to discard with the laws of the land in favor of his own moral and ethical code of conduct? These are all questions I hope you may be able to answer. 

Also, even though the last time there had been an insurrection in Trinidad, you and your family flew to Grenada for safety (no one blames you) many persons who were at ground zero, including me, remember the terror and horror of it all (and I'm sure you must have been keeping a keen eye of it on the television). So even though I wasn't at the trade union's action last August, by the way it was described, I understand how reminiscent feelings can be revisited at that time and in that scenario. 

I can also tell you that should there be a recurrence of that scenario in the future, I would much rather prefer the police that the police intervene and assess the situation as they did than hang back and allow a repetition of the 1990 insurrection.

That aside, in the reports being made in the daily newspapers today (mentioned above) it is implicated that you have suggested to the trade unions that they can plan and practice further such action without having the insignificant annoyance of requesting permission from the police. 

If true, this is very serious action and warrants explanation. My first question to you would simply be: Why do you think this is necessay? Have the police indicated any intention to refuse any request made in the future? Have there been any mass refusals in the past to condone this disregard for the police service? Is this because of the fact that neither you nor the trade unions believe that this intended action bares no merit other than to systematically destabilize and remove the government?

I hope that you can enlighten me on this situation and for that I look forward to your response.

Best regards,
Ravi Maharaj
Mob: (868) 476-6181
Skype: ravibmaharaj

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai