Laurel V Williams
IF Political leader of the Progressive Empowerment Party (PEP) Phillip Edward Alexander has his way, he and his party would be empowered to fix many of the problems affecting people.
At a public meeting in Bamboo No. 1 on Saturday night, he said the Constitution lacked three things — referendum, a fixed election date, and the right to recall and fire.
“Being able to fire your MP for non-performance will get your MPs to start performing. The PEP says if you put us in office, on our first day we will convene Parliament and write and pass a recall law,” Alexander told supporters.
“That means, 100 days from then, you could fire us. It is time to put the power back in the hands of the people. Neither the PNM nor the UNC are interested in fixing these things.”
He said the two main political parties, instead, encourage division.
“They would tell you to stick your finger in each other’s eyes, pull each other’s hair, talk about who is drinking and who is horning. How is that helping you? How is that putting food in your children’s belly?”
He added that Trinidad is not a nice place to live right now as people are not safe. Some people have to be drunk and high just to get through.
“That is why we drink so much. That is why there are so many drugs in Trinidad. People need medicating,” Alexander said. He promised that with the PEP, there is a way forward.
“We didn’t just write a manifesto. We have broken it down and people say the one thing they love about this party is that, for the first time, they understand how things work,” he said.
Several other people spoke before Alexander, including Robert Amar, a radio host at Real Media TT, as well as businessman Anthony Salloum who has been working to help the homeless for over 20 years.
Alexander referred to the previous speakers as giants.
“I have known Robert Amar for decades now. He is a giant, a trailblazer. Robert is a change-maker and an agent of change. He is what they call in America a disruptor, and we needed more like him, not less,” Alexander said.
“But we live in a country where the secret society controls what happens in our economy, politics, and justice system. That is what has to change. For it to change, we need people like Robert Amar on board. It is an insult to this democracy that Robert Amar is not in that Parliament.”
Alexander said it was a blessing to him to hear Salloum mention his name. Salloum had earlier pledged his support to Alexander.
Pauline Lumfai, the mother of 2006 murder victim Sean Luke Lumfai, six, and Randolph Bharatt, father of murder victim Andrea Bharatt, 23, were also on the stage before Alexander.
“Randolph does not politicise his pain. He does not let anybody politicise the name of that angel that was his daughter.
“When Pauline, Sean Luke’s mummy, asked to come tonight to say a few words, she said she could not do it unless Randolph was with her.
“Pauline knows nobody else knows how she feels, like how Randolph knows. No parent should ever feel what Pauline and Randolph have had to feel, and this country has failed the children for too long.”
Alexander also criticised the media and the police.
He said he could not understand why the three daily newspapers do not have on their front page every day the simple question — Who killed Akiel Chambers?
“I don’t understand how you have so much power and you don’t use your power for good. We should never forget Akiel Chambers. Every parent in this country should gasp at the name Akiel Chambers.
“There was a time I was a media darling. Before I went against the contract mafia, stood up against them publicly, and exposed what really goes on in this country, the media loved me.”
Alexander added that the police, under the leadership of acting Commissioner Mc Donald Jacob, has no policing tactics.
“Jacob is saying we are not ready to discuss a state of emergency at this time. You can’t discuss emergency at all. A policing tool is to stop the flow of guns from coming into the country.
“Even if customs (and excise division) let them in through the port, you should be outside the port waiting to hold them.
“At every corner, people should forever always see police. That is what New York City did to move away from being the murder capital of the world.”
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