Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 17th 2015 Contents A9
May 17, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
FROM PAGE A8
"When Life Sport started those barriers
came down and participants from different
centres began to mix and mingle to reduce
the gang rivalry and warfare. The pro-
gramme was working. It was doing a good.
I saw it for myself," Edwards said.
Deon Alex Peters, also known as Bigg
Lexx, who taught script-writing and videog-
raphy in the Carapo centre, also admitted
that many of the young men were now
"It s no secret that a lot of them are in
jail for various crimes."
Pained by the turn of events, Peters also
penned a song entitled What s Popping in
the De... outlining the turmoil the closure
of the programme was having on partic-
ipants and the Carapo community.
"Their lives are now running short," Peters
sang, referring to the ex-participants.
"Carapo was not treated fairly. Since you
gone, the hood is not the same without
you. Your framed cases have us on lock-
down...put us in the jail."
He said sales for many of the Carapo
businesses had also declined.
Peters said people would be ashamed to
say that "the programme feed a lot of
unemployed and hungry youths in the back
here. They looked forward to the breakfast
and lunches. While many criticised the
programme for the alleged corruption there
were positives that few saw and would
Tarnished for life
Carlos Hilaire, one of the Carapo partic-
ipants, admitted that his life has been an
uphill battle since the programme was
"I can t get a permanent job because of
the bad name attached to the programme.
Nobody wants to hire you once they hear
you from Carapo and was associated with
the programme. You are tarnished for life."
In order to survive, Hilaire has been doing
odd jobs in a garage, where he earns far less
than the $1,500 stipend he used to receive
in Life Sport.
"I catching my nenen," said Hilaire.
He said his life was at a virtual standstill
and he felt hopeless and helpless.
Hilaire lives in a dilapidated one-bedroom
wooden structure which has no electricity
or pipe-borne water.
"Shutting down the programme was an
injustice to us. We were given a raw deal,"
Brendon Stephon, 29, admitted that after
enrolling in basketball and football in the
Carapo centre he was able to provide a home
for his family.
"Since it lock off, I walking up and down
the streets looking for work."
Now and then, Stephon said, he would
trim people s lawns or grass and do odd
jobs in the community.
"The programme was keeping me away
from crime," Stephon said.
He admitted that he sold drugs, walked
around with a gun and often found himself
on the wrong side of the law before joining
"Yes, I made mistakes."
Stephon also served 50 months in prison
while waiting to be brought before the San-
gre Grande Court on gun and ammunition
charges. The charges were dismissed.
"Life Sport made me forget about crime.
My life started to take shape and I was mak-
ing myself somebody in society. I even start-
ed a family. I don t want to go back into a
life of crime. It was pushing me to the edge,"
Business sales decline in Carapo
Along the bustling O Meara Road South,
a stone s throw from the Arima Race Track,
supervisor of Sheriff s Tyres, Reena
Mohammed, confessed that in the last few
months sales had plummeted.
Mohammed said a few of the participants
had purchased vehicles and would frequent
the business to buy tyres and have their
"Since the programme stopped we not
seeing those customers again. Customers
are far and few between."
Mohammed described her business as
DOLLY: THEY DANGLED
CARROT TO WOO
Dolly said the pro-
gramme was sup-
posed to provide each
participant with a psy-
chological profile, as
well as a psycho met-
ric test, so co-ordina-
tors in charge of the
43 centres would have
known the kind of indi-
viduals they were
He said many of the
participants had anger
issues, difficulty in impulse control, faced verbal and
physical abuse, needed basic education, medication
and even a break in life.
Thereafter, an assessment should have been done
to determine who was academically inclined and
those who had skills in sports. This, however, Dolly
said, was never done.
"The Government never took the time to get the
programme off the ground properly. The idea was
good. They failed in that aspect. The people who
were put to run the centres really did not know the
true profiles of these people."
He said to compound matters, $34 million was
paid to educator Adolphus Daniell from the Life
Sport programme for no work delivered.
Dolly said while the Government dangled a carrot
in front of the participants to woo them, it would be
difficult to say if they would have excelled academi-
cally knowing their background.
"We still don't know. We still have to ask why
they dropped out of primary and secondary school,
why they have so many behavioural problems and
issues with the law?"
Dolly said a participant might have a sharp eye to
do videography, but not be able to write a script, so
there were a lot of square pegs in round holes.
He could not say what was the true objective of
Life Sport and was not surprised that many of the
former participants had been killed, while some
were in a worse position than before.
"I am not surprised that many of them have died.
Not at all. We have to know what is going on in the
minds of these people. They would be angry and dis-
appointed. You tell me you going to give me some-
thing. You give me for a little time and you take it
HISTORY OF LIFE SPORT
Last July, the PM scrapped the programme after a
Finance Ministry probe alleged procurement
breaches, fraud, theft and that people at the co-ordi-
nating level may have been involved in criminal activ-
ity. The PM also ordered that the audit on the
programme be sent to the attorney general, Director
of Public Prosecutions, the commissioner of police,
the Integrity Commission and the head of the Public
The probe into the programme is still ongoing.
A Cepep crew finishes a job in
the Carapo community recently.
Owner of Ann s Breakfast Shed Ann Baboolal
admitted that sales had declined in the last ten
"Even though the participants were served breakfast
they supported my business on a daily basis. All this
has changed," Baboolal said.
Nearby, Carapo shopkeeper Andrew Persad also
complained that business was no longer bustling as
He attributed this to the downturn in the econ-
omy and fewer customers buying, many of whom
were participants of Life Sport.
National Security Minister retired Brig Carl Alfonso
yesterday did not respond to a text message about
Government s plans for the programme.
Political ploy by the Govt---psychologist
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