JENSEN LA VENDE and CARLA BRIDGLAL
IT was just bad behaviour, acting Attorney General Fitzgerald Hinds said yesterday about being drenched with flood water as he and councillor for the area Akil Audain visited flood victims at Beetham Gardens.
Hinds, speaking with Newsday following the assault said: “Just bad behaviour. The kind of thing you see too often in TT. Emptiness, stupidity and bad behaviour. Right now I am simply very disappointed at their stupidity and emptiness and feel very sad for them.”
Hinds, who is a Member of Parliament for Laventille West was speaking with the media along 16th Street when he was surrounded by a group of young men, some with their faces covered, others without. The men first hid and splashed water on Hinds and Audain as their backs were turned. Hinds, in response told them that he was “going to take this very seriously.”
“I came down here to help you” Hinds told the young men who responded sarcastically asking why he was so serious.
Hinds and Audain then began walking out of 16th Street when the men, egged on by their peers, began kicking up water and eventually a bucket of the muddy flood water was thrown on both men. Hinds then ran out of the street with the men in the background shouting “wet him down”.
The way the young men vented their frustration was not accepted by some residents who argued with them about the “nonsense” they were doing. The youths seemed not to care. After Hinds and Audain left, community activist Anderson Wilson said the residents are frustrated and they expressed themselves the best way they knew how.
“I applaud them for what they did. The villagers are fed up! Whether they had thrown water or not it would not have meant boo. He is very lucky that all he got was some flood water. He should count his blessings” Wilson, wearing a UNC t-shirt, said.
Hinds blamed the UNC for instigating the unruly behaviour against him and Audain. He said their behaviour was encouraged by Wilson a well known UNC activist.
“He was the one who came in a UNC jersey and started to carry on about the PNM,” Hinds said. Hinds said he spoke with police who will be investigating the matter, for which, he added, they will get his full support. An officer attached to the the Inter-Agency Task Force, Hearts and Minds unit was on duty when the residents threw the water on the men.
The officer has made an official report. Police are also sifting through social media photos and videos to locate the suspects.
Hinds said he was “horrified” when he realised what was happening. “God knows what was in that water. I had to run away.” Some water did get on his back and pants, he said.
Asked why he had no security detail, especially as acting AG, Hinds said he had been an MP for the area for 22 years and never had cause to have security accompany him.
“I am accustomed to loud-mouths and all manner of things. I never felt the need for personal security even though it was available to me. Over the years, if the police felt I needed it, then I would have it,” he said.
Hinds said he had been visiting with his constituents for over three hours, calling on resources to help alleviate the effects of two days of flooding. The two “empty idiots” who kicked water at him, he said were not even affected by the floods. His other constituents apologised for the men’s behaviour, he said, even though they didn’t have to.
“I really felt for those people and the behaviour of those two clowns can be dealt with by the police. It is not reflective of the way I will react to my constituents,” he said.
Hinds said his back was turned when the “miscreants and idiots” started splashing and he “felt very offended, but I continued my business.”