Daaga: Jack nearly made jail
Friday, August 3 2012
NATIONAL Security Minister Jack Warner came close to being imprisoned during the Black Power riots of the 1970s in Trinidad.
This was the claim made by National Joint Action Committee (NJAC) Chief Servant, Makandal Daaga, when he addressed an Emancipation luncheon at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s.
As he related to his audience how he and other members of NJAC were imprisoned at that time under the then People’s National Movement (PNM) government, Daaga caused some persons to laugh when he said Warner “did his best to make a jail too” along with him, but never did. Describing this country’s prisons as places for “grooming high powered crimimals,” Daaga said he witnessed first hand their poor state, and described the food served to prisoners as “indescribable.”
Recalling he and other NJAC members were advised by prisoners only to eat bread crusts and discard the remainder of the bread they received with their meals, Daaga said they objected to the meals being served to them, and were able to get boxes of biscuits. He disclosed that when NJAC members offered their biscuits to other prisoners to eat, “the prison officers blew whistles as if we were handing them (prisoners) guns.” Daaga said he remembered prison officers walking and stamping on the biscuits with their shoes when they confiscated them from the prisoners.
Daaga said he and the NJAC members incarcerated with him were shocked when they saw prisoners “dive to the ground” and pick up the remnants of these crushed biscuits. He added conditions like these in the nation’s prisons could be contributing to the country’s crime problem.
Daaga said while reference was made to many leaders during Emancipation, more focus needed to be placed on the downtrodden in society during these celebrations. Saying there are some people in TT who are unaware of the progress made on the African continent over the years, Daaga said more must be done to raise the awareness of Afro-Trinbagonians about this.
During his address, Daaga had some members of the audience baffled when he said “good night” twice and referred to the luncheon as a dinner.