This was the view of Chairman of the Emancipation Support Committee (ESC) Khafra Kambon who was jailed in 1970 during the period known as the Black Power uprising in Trinidad.
He recalled then, “people were killed for breaking the curfew, even people who had a right to be on the streets were killed. The danger of these things is people get killed out of panic, haste.”
Kambon was one of the spokespersons on platforms and accepted that this was a reason he was arrested.
However, he said others were arrested because of how they wore their hair and they “looked.” He said a state of emergency was not to be taken lightly.
According to Kambon there are elements of the armed forces who could not be trusted even under normal circumstances. The state of emergency is an opportunity to detain these persons “known to be part of the criminal gangs.”
He questioned if the government had a well worked out strategy as citizens in so many areas of the country had their constitutional rights suspended. Describing a state of emergency as a drastic measure, he said the government must have a strategy and be clear what is to follow and to reward the sacrifice which the population is being asked to make.
“There is tremendous inconvenience, risk. Bad things can happen to innocent people,” he said.
Kambon is concerned about the right to search places and detain people will take place only in certain areas.
“A state of emergency does not address the social issues. Criminal action is only those who shoot the guns in areas considered rough. How do the drugs and guns come in?”