Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 4th 2016 Contents A5
Thursday, February 4, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Law abiding Laventille resi-
dents yesterday complained to
National Security Minister
Edmund Dillon of verbal abuse
from police and soliders who
have increased their presence in
the crime-torn community fol-
lowing the double murder of two
schoolboys last month.
"There are some who have
respect. We have to respect the
soldiers and police but they have
to respect us to. They does always
cuss me up but I can't cuss them
back because they will lock me
up but I can't lock them up for
cussing me. So, what can I do but
just take the cuss," one resident
Other residents also complained
about abuse and asked how the
police expected their support in
the fight against criminals.
Dillon, who went on tour of
Sogren Trace, Laventille, the same
district of the murdered school-
boys, responded, saying soldiers
and police officers have been
instructed to conduct themselves
in a humane manner and exercise
mutual respect to regain the trust
of the people in the communi-
In response to the murders of
the schoolboys, Prime Minister
Keith Rowley instructed Dillon to
order the Defence Force to deploy
troops permanently in the hills of
Laventille to regain control of the
communities, which have been
under siege from warring gangs
affiliated with the opposing Rasta
City and Muslim gangs.
Rowley then criticised those
residents who had information
about the gang members and
other crimes but remained silent,
describing them as unpatriotic.
Of the 48 murders committed
this year, the majority were clas-
sified as gang-related and were
committed in the Port-of-Spain
Dillon's visit came two weeks
after Success Laventille Secondary
School schoolboys, Mark Richards
and his friend Deneilson Smith,
were pulled out of a taxi and killed
in cold blood while on their way
home from school. No one has
been arrested for the crime.
"We are here to take back the
streets. We will not sit by and
allow those who are bent on crim-
inal activities to own the streets
of Laventille. We are going to be
there and will be making the lives
of those people unbearable," Dillon
told residents gathered at a pavil-
ion next to the community cen-
tre.The soldiers have set up camp
at the Sogren Trace Community
"The fear of crime is worse than
the crime itself and we are bound
to eradicate their sense of fear so
the residents can once more feel
comfortable and safe to walk the
streets and use the sporting and
recreational spaces in the com-
munity," he added.
Dillon disclosed there were a
combination of strategies to be
used in Laventille along with other
crime hot spots throughout T&T,
one of which is the joint army
and police patrols.
The minister said it was not fair
for residents to live in fear and be
uncomfortable while others were
there on the streets comfortable
with their illegal firearms.
"I don't want to go into details
but we will be targeting, based on
intelligence, the known offenders
in the communities who bear ille-
gal arms and are illegally involved
in drugs and gang activities.
So, we will be engaging in
because we have to get the guns
off the streets," Dillon added.
Asked if soldiers being able to
have the power of arrest will be
considered, Dillon replied: "It is
not on the table at this point in
time. I am not saying that it would
not be considered but not right
now." Opposition Leader Kamla
Persad-Bissessar has called on
Government to reconsider sup-
porting legislation to give soldiers
powers of arrest and intends to
debate the matter in Parliament.
Dillon said soldiers could detain
people and hand them over to the
police, similar to a citizens arrest.
Laventille residents complain to Dillon:
Save us from abusive
police and soldiers
Two children---ages six and nine
years---escaped possible death yester-
day after a vehicle belonging to their
grandfather was firebombed and the
part of the family s $3 million home
was scorched in the blaze.
Four adults, including former coun-
cillor of St Ann's/Cascade Kenrick
Preudhomme, also escaped unhurt. He
was a councillor under the Congress
of the People in the San Juan/Laventille
Speaking with the T&T Guardian at
his home at Plaisance Road, Cascade,
Preudhomme said the family members
were asleep when the incident
He said at about 12.45 am he was
awakened by a strange sound. A neigh-
bour reports seeing someone running
out of Preudhomme's yard and entering
into a darkly-tinted vehicle which was
parked several metres away.
"I woke up when I heard something
fall, like if someone threw something
in the yard. I went outside and checked
and saw my Mazda 4x4 van, valued
at $300,000, up in flames.
"I called out for help while I tried
to put out the blaze myself with a hose
which was hooked up to the water
tank. The fire appliances quickly
responded and was able to save my
home, except for my van, but I thank-
ing God still for life, that me and my
family, including my two grandchildren,
were safe and sound," Preudhomme
Asked why would anyone want to
bring harm to him and his family,
Preudhomme said he believed the
attack was related to his stance he took
against a religious organisation based
in central Trinidad.
Preudhomme said he began attend-
ing the church but stopped after he
opposed its teachings and practices.
"I did not agree with things there
raised issue with the leadership and it
was after that I started to receive threats
so eventually I left.
"When I left, which was two weeks
ago, I went to a weekly newspaper
where I told the editor there what was
happening and after they did their
investigations they published an article.
After the article was made public, the
threats against me increased, escalating
to this now," Preudhomme said.
He called on the relevant authorities
not to "leave any stone unturned" as
he described it as a serious incident.
"I am taking precaution at this time
because I think, if one can come in my
property to do such a thing, the prob-
ability is that they can go beyond that.
"These are some of the issues that
we have to deal with in society. There
are people who are willing to come out
and talk to the police and some, I
understand, who have already alerted
the police in the past," Preudhomme
T&T Guardian was told by a police
source at the Belmont Police Station
that investigating officers would carry
out an extensive investigation into the
incident, especially based on the alle-
gations raised by Preudhomme. ---RD
JENSEN LA VENDE
Anika Kwanza, the woman who
survived a vicious attack in which her
husband was killed on Monday night,
has stopped speaking.
Relatives of the 29-year-old yesterday
told the T&T Guardian as of yesterday,
the woman had stopped responding to
them verbally and instead was now
answering questions by shaking her
head to indicate either "negative" or
"positive", making communication dif-
ficult. Relatives said they believed the
shock of the incident might have only
"just hit her," hence the delayed reac-
tion. Kwanza's relatives also expressed
concern that following Monday's attack
no police officers were stationed at her
bedside in the event the killers wanted
to attack her again.
Following a telephone conversation
with the T&T Guardian, however, head
of the Port-of-Spain Division, Snr Supt
McDonald Jacob, said he would assign
an officer to Kwanza's bedside imme-
He added officers from the Victim
and Support Unit would also visit the
woman and her two children, who wit-
nessed the brutal attack, and offer them
Kwanza was beaten with a broken
concrete block by her attackers and
suffered injuries to both arms, losing
part of a finger on her left hand. She
also suffered injuries to the left side of
her abdomen, right side of her face and
the back of her head.
According to police reports, Anthony
Henry, 35, Kwanza, 29, and their two
children, aged seven and four, had just
returned to their home at Casablanca
Road, Cascade, around 9.30 pm, when
they were jumped by two men armed
with guns and cutlasses.
The men beat the couple, robbed
them, beat Kwanza with the broken
concrete block, shot Henry and as he
lay dying and smashed in his face with
a concrete block. All this they did while
the children stood by watching.
During the attack, police attached
to the Port-of-Spain Division responded
to reports from residents.
But along the way two of their SUVs
crashed near the Cascade River Gardens
apartment complex and one officer
fractured his arm.
The remaining officers managed to
arrive at the scene to find the attackers
still rummaging through the couple's
The killers shot at the police and ran
off into the hills. Police called for air
support but the national security hel-
icopter could not help the police find
the killers who used the knowledge of
the hilly terrain to escape. Henry and
Kwanza were taken to hospital but
Henry was pronounced dead on arrival.
Relatives believe the attack was a
robbery that went wrong but the
police's theory is that the killers went
after the family because Henry was
involved in the drug trade.
Ex-councillor's van, home firebombed
Cascade murder, brick attack...
Victim stops speaking
National Security Minister Edmund Dillon, left, chats with resident Ricky Taylor, second from right, who
escaped a gun attack, during the minister's tour of Laventille yesterday. PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALES
Resident Ricky Taylor, 50, told
Dillon he was once in a life of
crime and was shot at seven
times and managed to escape
He said it was at that point he
decided to make a change for
Taylor called on Dillon to work
along with other ministries that
would be able to help
implement programmes in the
community that would be able
to grab at the children from the
kindergarten age group.
"Things must be put in place to
grab the children away from
Have social welfare officers and
police visiting the schools and
dealing with them.
"Build up camps so those who
are dropping out they can pick
up and make sure that they
finish their education and come
out better citizens," Taylor said.
Dillon was told by one resident,
an elderly man, that he may
even get killed for talking to him
and showing support to the
police and army.
"But I don't mind because this is
what we need here in Laventille
so that peace and that sense of
security can prevail once more,"
the man said.
CALL FOR COMMUNITY PROGRAMMES
Links Archive February 3rd 2016 February 5th 2016 Navigation Previous Page Next Page