Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 8th 2016 Contents A5
Tuesday, March 8, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
JENSEN LA VENDE
After two failed attempts at his
life, gunmen from his Pitman
Lane, Gonzales, neighbourhood
yesterday pounced on 21-year-
old Kyle Williams and fatally shot
Last December, gunmen shot
him in the mouth leaving him with
bullet fragments in his jaw. In Sep-
tember last year, Williams was shot
in the back after a "strange jeep"
was seen in the area.
Speaking with the media yes-
terday, Williams aunt, Sherry Ann
Trotman, said she was forced to
raise him after his parents died.
She added that it had been hard
for her raising her sisters children
along with her five. On arrival at
the crime scene yesterday Trotman
disregarded the caution tape and
attempted to make her way home
but was stopped by police officers.
After being consoled by neigh-
bours Trotman was allowed to
leave the cordoned off area. She
lamented that the killing of her
nephew was on the shoulders of
the police who after numerous
reports failed to act.
"I don t want to hear allyuh,
allyuh know what going on and
not doing nothing," Trotman cried.
Also speaking with the media
was Williams sister, Andrea, who
said there was an ongoing war in
the area between men who were
She added her brother had two
matters pending, one for shooting
and another for possession of
cocaine, and with the war in the
area he was forced to remain
indoors or just outside his home.
"This is not the first time or the
second time, this has been going
on too long. It is overbearing. The
police know everything that is
going on and they are not doing
anything about it.
"We are women and we can t
even walk the road. I have to pay
a driver for my children to go to
school, which is right down the
road. You could tell me that is
right? The police have to do some-
thing about it because everyone
need justice," Andrea said.
She said the people responsible
for the war were not from the area
but were fuelling the war for rea-
She recalled having to duck for
cover in March last year after gun-
men opened fire on her home.
Since then she has been back and
forth and after 6 pm no one ven-
The ongoing war claimed the
life of a schoolboy last year. Yakini
Charles, 12, was shot and killed on
his way home from school on Sep-
According to police reports,
Charles, a Form One Tranquility
Government Secondary School
student, was heading back to his
home at Pitman Lane, Gonzales,
around 8.30 am when he was shot
in the back along St Andrew Lane,
Charles ran along Olton Road
after being shot but collapsed and
was taken to the Port-of-Spain
General Hospital by a truck driver
who saw him lying on the roadway.
Charles died while being treated.
Williams too died at hospital
and is believed to have been a wit-
ness to a murder that happened
in the area about two years ago.
Police suspect that was the motive
behind the attempts on his life,
culminating yesterday morning.
According to police reports
around 9.30 am yesterday residents
heard gunshots and later found
him bleeding at the side of the
Williams, who was released on
bail a few months ago, was taken
to the Port-of-Spain General Hos-
pital where he died.
In the last eight months, hundreds
of squatters have encroached on
State lands in the Sangre Grande
and Point Fortin areas.
The land grabbing in these two dis-
tricts has now become a major con-
The fact that the Commissioner of
State Lands position became vacant
last May with the retirement of Ian
Fletcher has only intensified the
Yesterday, Minister of Agriculture,
Lands and Fisheries, Clarence Ramb-
harat confirmed in a text message
that Clyde Watche has been appointed
to act as Commissioner of State
Watche, who has the power to con-
tain squatting, yesterday refused to
take a call from the T&T Guardian.
His secretary, who identified herself
as Ms Sonny, advised our newspaper
to speak to the ministry s communi-
cation officer Brent Zephyrine, who
did not respond to a voice message
on his cell phone.
Weeks before last September 7 gen-
eral election, squatters started invading
forested areas and existing squatting
communities in Valencia/Sangre
Grande/Matura which has a popu-
lation of 10,000 land grabbers, while
Point Fortin is another district in
which they have settled.
In 2010, former CEO of the Land
Settlement Agency (LSA) Dr Allen
Sammy had estimated the squatting
population in T&T to be 200,000.
Of the 200,000 Sammy stated that
50,000 squatting families live on State
Last July, former minister of lands
Jairam Seemungal had reported that
there were 350 squatting sites in T&T
and over 10,000 squatters in the San-
gre Grande district alone.
In the last week, the T&T Guardian
visited Dam Road Extention and
Osborne Road in Point Fortin which
showed a proliferation of new squat-
ters who erected crude galvanised and
wooden structures overnight.
At Kangalee and along the Valencia
stretch new houses also dot the land-
scape, while there has been an expan-
sion of makeshift homes at Bois Bande
and Vega de Oropouche in Sangre
There are close to 20 sites on which
new squatters have encroached.
Leading up to a general election,
people have a tendency to indiscrim-
inately grab lands because they feel
no action will be taken against them,
It happened in 2010 when the Peo-
ple s Partnership jumped into the gen-
eral election race.
There was a mad rush for lands in
Cashew Gardens in Longdenville,
where the police had to be called out
to remove them.
"In the last few months we have
seen hundreds new homes being built
on these existing sites. These squatters
are building make-shifts houses faster
than the Housing Development Cor-
poration," the source said.
Yesterday, former chairman of the
Environmental Management Author-
ity (EMA) and environmentalist Dr
Allan Bachan said while squatters
were prohibited from entering pro-
tected forested areas in Valencia there
had been an increase in squatting
communities in Sangre Grande and
the Matura districts.
"The real person to speak about
this issue is the Commissioner of
State Lands. It is under his jurisdiction
that squatting falls.
"The commissioner has the ability
to go in there and address these issues
of squatting. A lot of these squatters
are non-Trinidad nationals who come
from Guyana, Africa and some small
Caribbean islands, and work in gas
stations, security firms and super-
markets for the minimum wage.
"I know for a fact that the squatting
population has been increasing in
Sangre Grande, Matura and the Valen-
cia Stretch," Bachan said.
Some of the squatters also live
within near quarries in Valencia and
Matura that operate illegally, Bachan
"They protect these illegal quar-
rying activities and stay out of the
public s sight," Bachan said.
Bachan said up to last year the EMA
had worked in tandem with the Min-
eral Advisory Committee to identify
spots for quarrying.
"However, one of the challenges
was the invasion of squatters. We
have to address the issue of squatting.
Now that people are losing their jobs
squatting will no doubt get out of
control," he added.
Several calls to forest conservator
Johnny Seepersad s cellphone went
Housing and Urban Development
Minister Marlene McDonald under
whose purview LSA falls did not
respond to a text message also.
The 11-year-old primary school
student who was charged with
trafficking marijuana last Friday
was granted $20,000 bail when
he appeared before Arima mag-
istrate Indar Jagroo yesterday. He
pleaded not guilty.
The boy, a fifth standard stu-
dent, was held at his school around
3 pm after a fellow classmate
allegedly told security on duty the
child had the 23 grams of mari-
juana and was showing it off. The
child was also held with a lighter
and two cigarettes. Lawmen said
the student s house was searched
but nothing was found on the
premises. Officers said the boy was
taken into custody at the Arouca
Police Station where he spent the
weekend before his court appear-
The matter was adjourned to
May 10 after it was learnt he was
preparing for the Secondary
Entrance Assessment. The child
was placed in the custody of his
father after the court heard he was
in his mother s care when the
alleged incident happened. The
magistrate also ordered that a pro-
bation officers report be submitted
for the next hearing. (JLV)
Concern over land grabbing
in Sangre Grande, Point Fortin
According to the State Lands Act
57:01, "the commissioner shall have
the management of all lands of the
State and shall be charged with the
prevention of squatting and
encroachment upon the same and of
spoil and injury to the woods and
forests on such lands, and shall
superintend the settlement and
allotment of State lands and the
laying out of village lots in such
districts as the President from time
to time directs."
It also states that "the commissioner
shall also take possession of, and
shall be charged with the care and
letting and the collection of the rents
of, all lands which may belong or
escheat to, or which by virtue of any
Act may be forfeited to and become
vested in, the State."
The LSA is authorised under the
State Land Regularisation of Tenure
Act, number 25 of 1998, "to prevent
and contain further squatting on
State lands and to regularise eligible
"A person who is eligible for
regularisation must have occupied a
dwelling house on the property prior
to January 1, 1998 and applied for a
COC before 2000."
$20,000 bail for boy, 11
Man killed after
2 failed attempts
Relatives of murdered victim Kyle Williams console each other at the scene in Gonzales yesterday.
PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALES
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