Protesters warn PNM of political price if DSS money not returned

A police officer warns supporters of Drugs Sou Sou they could be charged for protesting outside the Prime Minister's residence in St Ann's on Saturday. - Janelle De Souza
A police officer warns supporters of Drugs Sou Sou they could be charged for protesting outside the Prime Minister's residence in St Ann's on Saturday. - Janelle De Souza

The low level "investors" trying to benefit from small deposits for big returns turned up outside the the Prime Minister's residence to object to the police action to shut down the Drugs Sou Sou.

Police earlier staved off a planned motorcade in La Horquetta where soldier Kerron Clarke has his base of operations for what police have described as an elaborate money laundering scheme involving soldiers, police, gangsters, politicians and disparate people seeking to win the lottery.

The group of roughly 20 people were led by Rhonda Jones told the media that the protesters were in solidarity with founder of DSS Kerron Clarke.

Clarke, in a social media post on Friday night, denied refunding anyone whose money would have been seized by the police following a raid at his Kathleen Warner Drive, Phase One La Horquetta on September 21.

In that raid, police confiscated $22 m but returned it within hours without seeking the approval of the Commissioner of Police or any other senior officer.

In another raid last month, police seized $6.4 million at the same location in La Horquetta and obtained a court order to keep the funds for an initial three months.

Clarke has challenged the detention of some of the money.

Since the raid at his home in September and the seizing of $6.4 million, a GoFundMe page was set up to assist Clarke with legal fees. Hours after it was posted, the page was flagged and removed.

In his social media post Friday, Clarke said he anyone willing to donate to off-set his legal fees can visit his home between 8 am to 5 pm on Mondays to Fridays and 8 am to 2 pm on Saturday.

Following the second raid in October, DSS operations was temporarily ceased.

Jones, a teacher, said the protest was aimed at calling on the Government to “have a heart” as there were many single mothers who had invested in DSS.

“We are not going to sit by idly and say we are not doing anything. We are here, we are small in numbers but we are saying no to injustice. DSS has been empowering persons since August and for that we are suffering? Because a young man at that age has done in TT. It is not right!”

Also vocal at the protest was Jaytee Brooks, of Bethel, Tobago, where Clarke has a branch of DSS.

Brooks said if the monies seized was not returned then the PNM will pay a political price. She told Sunday Newsday that she has been canvassing for the PNM long before she could vote and with the upcoming Tobago House of Assembly (THA) elections, her vote will be determined by whether or not the money was returned.

She said when she attempted to donate to the legal fees fund, she was not allowed to do so as police cordoned off the area surrounding Clarke’s house and prevented parking nearby or anyone to visit his home. Police Commissioner Gary Griffith said this accusation was false.

Brooks told the media: “Is it because of the word drug? Money could be my drug because it put me in a better situation. Education could be my drug, so what is the issue? Is it the wrong word to use, so why should I go to a drug store?”

Jones said DSS is an open sou sou in which she invested to be able to provide computer devices for her students.

“We are not going to stand for it, whether in prayers or fighting it another way, the PM and all those who took the money, they need to return it. Christmas is coming!”

She said single mothers pooled their monies to invest in DSS to allow their children to enjoy a better Christmas.

“You have no heart, what are they doing to our people,” Jones said, adding that the powers that be "need to do something better than this."

Clarke in his message said: “Myself and my legal team is working very hard to ensure that the outcome of this investigation comes out in a particular way. We believe in the dignity, the humility and the honesty of the TTPS in their role and function in this ongoing investigation.”


"Protesters warn PNM of political price if DSS money not returned"

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