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Wednesday, July 15, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Unemployment, parents failure to
ensure their children stay in school
and a lack of guidance by community
members are some of the reasons for
the increase in gang and gun violence
in Enterprise, Chaguanas.
This is the view of acting Commis-
sioner of Police Stephen Williams who
said these problems did not happen
overnight but had been brewing since
the criminals responsible for the
upsurge in shooting and gang-related
activity were very young.
He made the comment while
responding to questions on the police
action in the crime-riddled commu-
nity, at a police town meeting at Penal
Secondary School on Monday.
"You see a lot of times we identify
with the results and the end product
is that there is violence in Enterprise,
but there are a lot of things that hap-
pened before that violence.
"Before that violence in Enterprise,
there were children who lost direction,
some of them dropped out of school.
"They chose not to continue school
and their parents were not there to
ensure that they continued school and
continued with their guidance.
"The community, seeing what was
happening, were not there to support
those children in following the right
direction and they grew into young
"Because they have no form of
employment, they engage in crimi-
nality and the end product is people
being shot and killed in communities
like Enterprise," Williams said.
Saying that this problem could hap-
pen in any part of T&T, Williams said
the police were trying to stem the tide
of criminality through their 103 police
youth clubs, which has a membership
of over 9,000 children.
He said those clubs were helping
to shape children s future and giving
support to parents so that young peo-
ple would not turn to crime.
He called for a greater partnership
between the citizens and the police,
saying that the crime detection rate
could only improve when people
See Page A14
The heavy presence of police and
T&T regiment vehicle patrols in the
Central community of Enterprise is a
welcome sight, residents say.
Some, sitting on street corners and
chatting with neighbours for the first
time in several months, on Monday, said
they were glad to see the officers and
soldiers working, as patrols imparted a
sense of security. At the crossroads of
Bhagaloo Trace and Chris Terrace West,
a police van was parked outside a shop.
Children walked in and out of the
neighbourhood store, passing bullet
holes, evidence of the violence that drew
national attention last month.
At that time, gang members from
warring factions, less than 100 metres
away from each other, had brazenly shot
it out in daylight and threatened residents
and commuters openly with weapons.
Following a visit to the area by Prime
Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and
Minister of National Security Carl Alfon-
so, as well as acting Commissioner of
Police Stephen Williams, joint patrols
between police and the Defence Force
were established in the area. Residents
said this indicated a return to a level of
normality in the area. (KC)
Music tutor Lionel Morris explains the notes of the steelpan to participants of the Antillean All Stars
Pan Vacation Camp at Coffee Street, San Fernando, on Monday. PHOTO: TONY HOWELL
partly to blame
Acting CoP on Enterprise violence:
Residents relieved as police, soldiers patrol
Government has approved
$382 million to build modern
rehabilitation facilities for boys
and girls, following the decision
of the Catholic church and the
Anglican church to discontinue
management of the St Judes
Industrial School for Girls and
the St Michael s Home for Boys,
Earlier this year, Minister of
Gender and Child Development
Clifton De Coteau had announced
that Government would be tem-
porarily taking over the manage-
ment of the St Jude s school as
there was a shortage of nuns to
manage the facility.
The school, which is located on
land owned by the Catholic
church on Belmont Circular Road,
will continue to be operated at
that location until September
Child rights activist Diana
Mahabir-Wyatt raised the issue
while being interviewed on
CNC3 s Morning Brew pro-
gramme, saying better facilities
were needed for juvenile offend-
"In the YTC which is there for
boys, boys are in dormitories, in
classes; they can go to school and
collect certificates. Girls are in
cells," Mahabir-Wyatt said.
In an interview yesterday, Per-
manent Secretary at the Ministry
of Gender and Child Development
Sandra Jones said Cabinet had
agreed to build rehabilitation cen-
tres and was currently working
with the Children s Authority to
complete the take over from the
She said, in addition, the min-
istry was working with the Chil-
dren s Authority to ensure the
homes met the standards outlined
by the Children s Authority Act.
Jones said the churches had
indicated that they were no longer
willing to manage the homes.
She said, while some of the
children would be placed in other
facilities, such as Presto Presto,
in Freeport, and the Chatham
Youth Development Centres and
El Dorado Youth Development
Centre, the authority would assess
the children to determine whether
some could benefit from social
support while being returned to
their home environment.
"Some of these children are
girls beyond control and we will
have social workers assess the
home environment and the child
to determine whether parental
support can be given and the child
can be returned home, because
having a child at home with family
is the ideal situation," Jones said.
In cases where the home envi-
ronment was inappropriate, these
children would be housed at the
"It is not a case of the place
shutting down and the Govern-
ment not doing anything. All the
children will be assessed and
placed in appropriate homes.
"The foster care programme is
ongoing and it will be expanded.
It will take some time but we are
managing the transition."
She said the ministry had
established a team with the Chil-
dren s Authority as well as several
NGOs and this team would have
its first meeting tomorrow.
$382m for new youth rehab facilities
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