RADHICA DE SILVA
Beating empty pots and spoons as they marched down the SS Erin Road in front of the Penal market, hundreds of UNC activists staged a protest against rising food prices on Saturday.
Holding black flags, they chanted “Rowley Must Go,” as they complained about the impending gas hike, rising unemployment and the increase in the cost of living.
Cherylann Pamphile of Wallerfield said farmers were suffering because of rising feed and fertilizer costs.
“This government has not addressed the issue of praedial larceny. That unit has no resources, no vehicle so the police cannot help farmers. Feed cost is high. Fertiliser cost is high so it is no wonder market produce is costly,” Pamphile said.
Another protester Dianne Bishop said with rising unemployment, too many families were suffering
“There are disabled children who don’t get disability grants anymore. Their parents cannot afford to buy food. Their pots are empty because they were taken off the food card list,” Bishop said.
Siparia councillor Ramona Victor carried a pot with a bag of flour and several tins of herring in tomato sauce.
“People are starving. This is what some people have to eat. They cannot afford to buy food,” she said.
But even as the UNC activists protested, a few wives of former Caroni workers came with their placards to protest against the UNC Opposition Leader Kamla Persad- Bissessar.
They stood on the periphery of the UNC gathering, holding a placard, one of which read, “Kamla don’t care.”
“We are on our own. We came here today to speak to Kamla because we cannot see her except at her office. My husband is dead now and he didn’t get his land promised under his Vsep,” the protester said.
A supporter of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley Tyrone Clarke of Lachoos Road clashed with some of the UNC activists when he held up a placard that read, ” Rowley Must Stay.”
Clarke said the Prime Minister was doing his best.
Other UNC MPs include Devanand Tancoo, Jearlene John, David Lee, Khadijah Ameen and members of the Penal/ Debe Regional Corporation and Couva Tabaquite/ Talparo Regional Corporation were involved in the protest.