Family members of the shooting victims supported by neighbors and other relatives La Retreat Ext Road Guanapo Thursday September 21, 2023. – Photo by Roger Jacob
Opposition MP and UNC deputy political leader Dr Roodal Moonilal is “outraged that there is no outrage” over last Thursday’s shooting in the Heights of Guanapo.
The attack left three children and a teen dead and five others injured.
Moonilal commented during a UNC press conference on Tuesday at the Port of Spain office of the Leader of the Opposition.
“What is the business community saying about this? What are the different civil organisations, the faith-based organisations (saying)? I can’t help but feel, is it because these children were in a particular community? Is it because they are in a lower-income, working-class community?” Moonilal asked.
“Had it been elsewhere…groups in this country would have been calling for citizens to drive on the road with their lights on during the day. They may have been calling for us to lie down in front of the Parliament and circle the Parliament with us lying on the ground.”
Since the shootings, he said, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has been the only one to express outrage. However, organisations like the Children’s Authority, the Council of Evangelical Churches, the Prime Minister, PEP leader Phillip Alexander and others have since spoken about it.
Moonilal also slammed Commissioner of Police Erla Harewood-Christopher for a mention of the incident at the foot of an otherwise unrelated press release.
Moonilal argued that if crime continued unabated, come Christmas, bandits would be stealing gifts from under people’s trees.
With budget day less than a week away Moonilal, says the party hopes to hear plans to address joblessness and crime.
“The crisis that confronts us is really of crime, infrastructure, utilities, poverty and joblessness. Any serious government will have a strategic programme to create jobs,” he said. “This country has a crisis of joblessness and they must have a programme to create jobs and ignite the economy.”
He added the UNC also hoped to see “fresh policy initiatives” in dealing with crime. However, he said, the party was not optimistic.
“We may want that but, quite frankly, I don’t expect that,” he said. “I may want the government to have a plan to create jobs, to fight crime, to ensure water is delivered to our population, fix the roads- but I don’t expect that.”
Asked by reporters if he expected to see national security getting the largest allocation come Monday’s budget, Moonilal said: “If you go in the treasury with a backhoe, and take out all the money, and drop it into national security, nothing will change.”
He believed the better option was to remove the Minister of National Security, Fitzgerald Hinds, and subsequently the Prime Minister and his administration.