Lee Sing: Rival gangs uniting is cause for concern

Louis Lee Sing - JEFF K MAYERS
Louis Lee Sing - JEFF K MAYERS

FORMER Port of Spain Mayor Louis Lee Sing has cautioned that the joining together of rival gangs for Tuesday's protest action against the police was not good for TT.

"One of the more startling and interesting developments is the question of the coming together of the rival gangs. And if people underestimate that one development they do so at their own peril. TT has been spared those agonies for a long time because the gangs were fighting among each other. The fact (is) that these murders by the police (the killings remain under investigation) provided sufficient glue to bring the groups together."

He said it would mean that someone would have the smarts to develop a hierarchy within that vast group of gangs and gang members.

"And that will ultimately create much more challenges for the State in terms of its administration over a geographically fairly wide area."

He was speaking to Newsday in an interview at his Cascade home on Wednesday.

On the orchestration of the protests, he said it would be naive not to believe that the very people that continue to cause the most grief have not been involved in management and leadership of the (protest) struggles.

"If you look at where the hot spots were yesterday (Tuesday) and you know anything about what is going on with gangs in the country, you could make a connection.

"The gangs asserted themselves yesterday. Others are trying to make a connection that someone instructed them. I do not believe that the gangs are to be instructed. I think they have come of age and are quite capable of recognising that coming together they are stronger but not necessarily better for the society."

He predicted that the protest scenario would be revisited time and time again and, each time, it would be worse than before.

Lee Sing said the country was coming to the climax of decades of a lack of representation and neglect. Too many politicians have to come to office – and currently people are being screened for office – without being asked to show a plan on how they would manage this constituency of more than 27,000 constituents.

"How we ride this wave will determine whether we have a society that is based on law and order or whether, in fact, we have a society that is fashioned on scenarios particular to very difficult countries; for example Haiti and now Venezuela."

He said politicians had to be held accountable because he did not believe the Prime Minister and his leadership ever asked incumbent Port of Spain South MP Marlene McDonald for a plan to administer over the city and her constituency in particular.

Lee Sing said Port of Spain South is perhaps the most difficult constituency in TT and both the MP and the PNM should have had a well thought-out plan to guide the administration and development of young people who are challenging and confronting the police in a frontal way.

"All these people out there demanding justice aren't necessarily gangsters. They happen to represent a group of disenfranchised, a group of people who have been neglected. And therefore they are prepared to throw caution to the wind. This is 1970 (Black Power riots) revisited."

He said, in 1970, there was a much more organised and disciplined group of protesters but on this occasion, the protests are "orchestrated, well-timed and intended to cause the police to be very busy."

Lee Sing said the country needed to start all over again and recognise that where the country has failed is in recognising that you must put people first.

He pointed out that Port of Spain South was mostly residential communities but he questioned what had been done to establish them into residential associations and to encourage developmental initiatives, create a network of PTAs and get them to become key performing players in development of the constituency.

"I keep using the phrase 'putting people first' because I want you to see that if we buy less police vests and less bullets and less police cars and less guns and employ less people and conversely invested in daycare centres, nursery schools, and after school care centres. If we invested in compulsory national service we would not have so many young people uncared for and not gainfully employed in work or study."

He said TT needed to move to people-centred programmes that encouraged people to become independent instead of the current "spoon feeding" and encouraging of a dependency syndrome.

"And what is happening now that there is less to give to people (is that) there is an increased demand for what little there is to give."

He said people that sit in government currently and in the past are all to be held accountable for the chaos that reigned Tuesday.

A policeman casts a watchful eye over protesters on the Eastern Main Road in Port of Spain on Tuesday. - Jeff Mayers

Protesters in a stand-off with police on the Eastern Main Road in Port of Spain on Tuesday. - Jeff Mayers


"Lee Sing: Rival gangs uniting is cause for concern"

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