An Indo-Caribbean television station in Trinidad has fired one of its reporters for launching a vicious attack on the mostly Black residents of a downtown neighborhood for blocking city roads. The residents were protesting the allegedly slow police response to a vehicular accident that killed a mother and her two young daughters on Sunday.
General Manager Sunil Ramdeen said he was forced to immediately terminate the services of Darryl Heeralal over statements he made on his Facebook page using the N-word to attack residents of the inner-city community and calling on other citizens to shoot them in the head because of the inconvenient road blockages.
Heeralal had used the offending words several times in his Facebook rant, saying that others do not need to suffer simply because a car driven by a police officer had run off the road and killed the 28-year-old woman and her two daughters, aged 7 and 8, on the sidewalk; not because “woman and children get bounce and dead” so the people “from Sea Lots decide to riot … and then the government will have to give them handouts. The rest of the hard-working, law-abiding Africans and Indians would continue to live in fear,” he said, calling on the rest of the population to arm themselves and shoot the rioters in the head.
The posting sparked deep outrage in the multiethnic, multiracial southern Caribbean nation, which supplies a significant portion of the liquid gas needs of the Atlantic Seaboard of the United States and where racial tension between Indos and Afros simmer just below the surface.
The posting quickly went viral, forcing the World Indian Network Communications station to fire him. Heeralal issued a lengthy and embarrassing apology to the public, including Afro friends and colleagues he has had for years.
In his apology, Heeralal said, “On Sunday, February 24, I made comments about the unfortunate and horrific accident at Sea Lots, which took the lives of two children, their mother, a fourth woman and injured two others. My statements can only be described as racist, insensitive, unfortunate, uncaring and crass. And for it I apologize unreservedly, firstly to the people of Sea Lots, Beetham Gardens, Laventille, Maloney and also to all those whom I offended by my racist and inappropriate statements.
“I also wish to apologize to my friends, many of whom are of African heritage and especially to my former wife and daughter, both of whom share an African heritage. In posting my comments, I had sought to draw attention to crime, urban poverty and fear in the society. However, I definitely misspoke, spoke out of time and in so doing I have brought irreparable harm, damage and unnecessary pain by my vile words to those who were impacted by the accident in this their time of grief.”
Like neighboring Guyana and Suriname to a lesser extent, over the years, governments have been forced to deal with racial stereotyping of various groups and are constantly battling to break the cycle of voting along racial lines.