Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 3rd 2017 Contents A6 news
guardian.co.tt Monday, April 3, 2017
Streets sink claws deep
When the street gets you,
it sinks its claws in deep
and it is very difficult
That is another problem young
men who got themselves involved in
gang activity face. Even if they want
to change their lives and leave the
block, it is difficult for them to get
jobs, since most of them may have
dropped out of school at a young age.
Also, some of them may have
criminal records and it is almost
impossible to get a job once your
record in tainted.
his causes violence to persist, be-
cause these guys stay in the gangs
because to them there is no lucrative
alternative. It's all about survival.
I don't think there is anyone in
Enterprise who hasn't lost a family
member or friend because of gun
Last month I attended two fu-
nerals for two young men I grew up
with. Both of them were shot dead.
It hurt me so much because I have
the best childhood memories with
one of those men. Playing and hav-
ing so much fun in our community.
We would hunt caimans, fly kites,
play catch and make chow and just
have a blast.
Seeing him dead in that coffin
and having those memories flood
my mind at his funeral really broke
my heart. He was too young.
Maybe it would have been easier if
I knew he died because of his health
or of natural causes. I just can't stand
that he died because he was at the
wrong place at the wrong time. I
These gang bangers shoot up our
streets without a care in the world.
They don't care who may be passing.
Their only concern is to exact their
terror on each other without con-
science and without fear or remorse
of innocent collateral damage.
The other young man who died
was shot at close range in the middle
of the day, his body left in the hot
sun in my street.
The day he was shot my mother
was walking down Bhagaloo Street
and got held up talking to her friend.
My mother came home crying that
day. It was very traumatising for
her to see this young man's dead,
bullet-riddled body on the street.
She had seen this man grow up
from a child to a young adult and
to see him on the ground like that
,having just suffered a brutal death,
was too much for her.
To this day, she tells me she still
sees his body and the blood on the
ground at the spot in our street
where he died.
I fear for my brothers' lives as
well. They are young, black and
from Bhagaloo Street, a dangerous
combo to be in this time.
One of my brothers fled the com-
munity because it simply isn't safe
for him to walk out the road to get
transport to go to work. My other
brother has resorted to paying a taxi
every morning to come pick him up
at home so he wouldn't have to walk
out the road to travel to work. He has
young children to take care of and
paying a taxi to do this every day is
Prayer for Peace
Peace. That is really all I want for
my community. I wouldn't dare hope
for anything more than that. In order
to achieve peace in my community
all those gang members must either
be locked up or die.
It saddens me to say it but it is the
only way. They are too far gone. They
are too indoctrinated in their violent
ideologies. Every other week these
gangs release videos proving such.
They threaten to kill each other,
boasting about their weapons and
There is no policy or social pro-
gramme the Government can insti-
tute to change their warped perspec-
tives. They are like a cancer; if they
aren't uprooted, every last one of
them, they will eventually destroy
our entire community to the point
of no return.
I refuse to accept this fate though.
I continue to naively hope that peace
is possible once we take radical steps
to achieve it. The gang members
aren't tiptoeing about to do their
evil. The response to their folly must
be just as radical if it is to anyway
put a dent in their atrocious crimes.
One of the main hindrances to
peace in Enterprise are the so-called
innocent civilians, myself included.
We are too complacent with what is
happening in our community until
it hits home.
We are very hypocritical. Every-
one has a friend, cousin, son or
uncle who we know are involved in
criminal activity. Yet when the po-
lice do their job and come to lock up
the criminals, they can never find
them because they are hiding by
some family member who abandons
their "upstanding citizenry status"
to obstruct police operations by con-
cealing a known criminal.
How many times have we seen a
mother crying on national televi-
sion, making tearful, heart wrench-
ing claims that her son was "ah good
boy" when he meets his ultimate de-
mise at the hands of police officers or
fellow gang bangers? "Ah good boy"
who the whole community knows
was a notorious gang member? Then
you see us by our numbers burning
rubbish in the road and protesting
violently about how fed up we are
of crime in the community.
Then there are the wild claims of
police brutality. I'm sure there are
police who misuse their power, but
we sometimes make it very difficult
for police officers to sustainably do
their jobs. The police cannot do an-
ything without the help of the gen-
eral public. Until the divide between
both entities are mended, I don't see
how we can begin to fix the fabric of
We as a community must take re-
sponsibility for what is happening
here in Enterprise, all of us. We can-
not rely solely on the Government to
institute policies to fix what is wrong
I read that the Government plans
to build a police station in Enter-
prise, and while I agree that it will
be a good long term plan, what we
need right now are effective strate-
gies to combat the immediate threat
we face now.
We need permanent police posts
at every known major block in the
community. Let the TTPS institute a
rotation system with officers so drug
blocks are manned by police officers
day and night.
The TTPS and army must work
together to ensure the necessary
manpower on the ground to stand
against these drug dealers as well.
Additionally, vehicular patrols
should be more frequent in the
area and police must be aggressive
in the execution of their duties to
the highest calibre. This will help
restore respect for police officers and
residents will feel safer knowing that
the police are doing their jobs.
After these measures are success-
fully initiated, the Government must
institute social programmes, sport-
ing and cultural activities to keep our
youth busy in a positive way so as to
aid in the sustainable development
A soldier on patrol at Enterprise, Chaguanas, following an upsurge in gang activities in the area.
Young men caught up in Enterprise gang life find it impossible to escape
In the Enterprise, Chaguanas
community, young men espe-
cially are a target for early ac-
ceptance into gangs but many
turn a blind eye in the hope of
preserving their own safety.
Following yesterday's Sunday
Guardian story, the Enterprise
resident we spoke to looks at
the challenges facing these
young gang members who may
want to leave a life of crime and
what she sees as the solution
Residents recreate near their homes in Enterpise PHOTOS: ABRAHAM DIAZ
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