Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 23rd 2016 Contents A5
Saturday, January 23, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Elders living in the hills of Laven-
tille have called on Prime Minister
Keith Rowley to call out the troops
in a bid to prevent any more innocent
young men from being senselessly
These calls were made subsequent
to word spreading throughout Picton
Road, Laventille, that more would be
killed and before Rowley announced
soldiers would be called out to patrol
crime hotspots permanently.
One senior citizen, who has been
living along Picton Road for the past
50 years, said he was shocked to learn
that moments after 16-year-old
Deneilson Smith and 15-year-old Mark
Richards were gunned down, laughter
was heard coming from the masked
gunmen and other young men who
were around. Both teens attended the
Success Laventille Secondary School
and were in Form Four and Form
"Such shame that these good-for-
nothing youths could kill someone in
cold blood and beat their chest and
laugh. They have no respect for human
life, much less for God," the resident
He, however, admitted that they
were forced to remain quiet as they
were also threatened.
"We cannot talk to the youths again.
They have a mind of their own and
they are heavily influenced by the bad
guys around. Family or no family them
will gun you down if you look to cor-
rect them or even call the police for
them," he said.
"It s only the army can deal with
them without mercy and to bring back
a lawless society. The Devil take over,"
Many residents yesterday described
Smith and Richards as role model
"A lot of times you would hear a
pest being described as an angel when
they are killed but God is my witness,
these boys were really good boys, who
studied their school work and took
life and their families seriously," anoth-
er resident said, who also asked for
her name to be withheld.
It is also the fear of some residents
that there will be an upsurge in reprisal
killings over Thursday s murders.
Speaking with the T&T Guardian
yesterday at her home in Mulrain
Trace, Smith s younger sister, Asante,
said that she was in another taxi, two
cars behind the one that her brother
and Richards were in, and heard the
gunshots. Asante also attends the same
"I heard the gunshots and the taxi
I was in began to slow down. When
I look I saw my brother lying on the
ground. I jump out and ran to him
and touched his face. Markie (Richards)
tried to run but he too was shot. My
brother just gone!" Asante said as she
broke down in tears.
She added that on Thursday morn-
ing before leaving for school, she and
Smith were making plans for her
upcoming 15th birthday on February
"I told him, boy, since you love yuh
belly, you will cut the birthday cake
with me." Asante again became incon-
She said that just as they were leav-
ing home for school, Smith walked
up to his mother and rubbed her head
and told her that he loved her.
She said she saw both her brother
and Richards during school hours at
"I would usually help out in the
school s cafeteria and Markie (Richards)
came and said he want $5 in toffee,
then he said no, he want a big peach
instead so I looked for the biggest one
and sold it to him. Earlier the morning
he (Richards) came to my classroom
and gave me a bounce and asked me
if I was OK. My brother and Markie
would always look out for me in
Asante said her brother was a school
prefect and a role model to the other
students in the school. She added that
he was an excellent cricket player and
coach during vacation time where he
would teach others to play cricket dur-
ing camp sessions. Smith was the
recipient of several trophies, awards
and certificates for sports and aca-
demics. Richards, she said, loved foot-
ball and played the sport "excellent-
ly."While at the Forensic Science Cen-
tre, yesterday, Richards uncle, Robert
Phillip, also described his nephew as
a role model young man.
"He was never in no gang thing
and never associated himself with no
gang people, so wherever those things
coming from are all lies. He loved
music and loved to sing. He was all
for hanging out with the family.
Nobody have anything bad to say
Yesterday, police officers frequented
the school and its environs where they
conducted foot and mobile patrols.
Minister of Education Anthony Gar-
cia, in a press release, gave the assur-
ance that Student Support Services
has already been contacted and would
visit the Success Laventille Secondary
School to provide grief counselling to
both the classmates and teachers of
Richards and Smith.
A teacher at the school, who wished
not to be identified, said she was
heartbroken to hear about their
demise. "Both boys were loved by us
all. They were very nice and eager to
learn children. I wish it had more like
them out here. They both would look
out for their teachers and, of course,
they had their favourites so the extra
love and attention would go to them."
An investigating officer yesterday
confirmed that they already had two
names of the alleged killers and that
arrests were imminent.
Residents in aftermath of schoolboys' killing
Only army can
bring back peace
Shurlene Richards-Valdez, centre, is consoled at the Forensic Science Centre,
St James, by relatives after her son, Mark Richards' autopsy yesterday.
PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA
As one of four gangsters was
murdering the two Success
Laventille students on Thurs-
day, he shouted, "Five for Five".
It was specific and calculat-
ed---each of the boys was shot
five times. But why?
Just weeks ago, a gang mem-
ber operating out of a territory
warring against a gang from the
area where the boys lived was
shot five times as well and,
although he did not die, "five
for five" was pronounced upon
the two teenaged students in
retaliation, to inflict pain and
fear on their community.
This account comes from one
of the men on the ground,
working with a team of 12 com-
munity activists called "inter-
rupters," desperately trying to
stop gang activity and murders
Hal Greaves spoke openly on
the CNC3 Morning Brew yes-
terday, hours after beating the
ground trying to ensure that
these murders do not escalate
into something worse.
Members of his team had
spent time with family of the
murdered teens and with the
youth most likely to retaliate,
urging them not to do so.
But there is already a chilling
indication that their work this
time will have to be more than
While one team was working
to ease the pain of the killings,
Greaves got a call from another
team member who was in the
territory of the gang that s
believed to have committed the
"Last night one of my inter-
rupters calls me and tells me
another community is celebrat-
ing. So while I m getting calls
for help, an interrupter is telling
me that the boys by him are
celebrating that two youths are
down and that they have more
to put down," he said.
"I got so angry...angry at the
senselessness of it. You have to
send people to let them know
that we are aware and that can-
not continue. The police have
their work to do. We use com-
munity mediation, conflict res-
olution to try to bring an end."
No Laventille Road taxis were
going up to Picton Friday morn-
ing as a result of the murders.
No one wanted to take that
"They are not going to leave
the Picton area to go further up
into a Rasta City area because
they fear that they too might
be pulled out of the car and exe-
cuted," Greaves said.
The war is between the Rasta
City and Muslim gangs. It
explodes and dies down from
time to time based on factors
only the gangsters themselves
seem to know.
A murder is always a sure sign
that it has started up again.
"Earlier this year the gangs
in the area started going through
the Lady of Fatima churchyard
and schoolyard to go into the
cemetery to shoot at each other,"
"It s just erupting at different
points. Men on Nelson Street
are trying to keep it quiet
because we had a murder the
day before, an unidentified man
down in the river.
"We (the community
activists) still have to be on the
Beetham, Sea Lots, Eastern
Quarry...we still have to be in
Belmont after the double-mur-
"We ve had 11 people mur-
dered in Laventille and the Port-
of-Spain area but I only have
12 people who have to respond
and keep gangs away from each
"Panmen are calling and ask-
ing if it is safe for them to have
practice," he said.
While the Success Laventille
Secondary School often had a
negative stigma because of
where it is located, Greaves was
certain that events at the school
had nothing to do with the mur-
"They re (the murderers) not
interested in the school. They re
interested in hurting a commu-
nity. That community which the
people of Laventille call Brook-
lyn , they re under fire right now.
They re under the gun. They re
being attacked," he said.
"It doesn t matter whether
you were a gang member or not.
You re from the area and our
pain must become your pain.
It s a mindless war."
The mindless war has left the
Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi
a hurt man.
Speaking in Parliament yes-
terday, he lamented young
schoolboys being made victims
of such a heinous crime.
"Who in their right mind
with a conscience and soul
could take two young men out
of car in uniform, tell the
young lady and driver that they
could go, and shoot them five
times. This has nothing to do
with the PNM or the UNC,"
Greaves would agree. As far
as his experiences go, this is a
war that comes to the most
innocent individuals because
of one factor---where they live.
"People are believing that
they will be killed at some point
because of where they are grow-
"I know of a young person
coming to his mother and say-
ing, Mommy when is my time
to join the war? They grow up
believing that they have to join
at some time.
"You die in this war because
of where you re from," he said.
Why were boys targeted?
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