Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 9th 2017 Contents A6 news
guardian.co.tt Sunday, April 9, 2017
Gang warfare on the streets of Enter-
prise has left residents in the crossfire
as they struggle to live as normal a life
as possible, even though they are aware
that they can become collateral damage
among the carnage of the battle for drug
There is mistrust of the police and the
perception that many are in the pockets
of the drug lords. Some residents have
a fatalistic approach; their options are
either stay in the community, live, die or
leave. This is the story of a young, pro-
fessional woman and her family making
the painful decision whether to stay in
the Enterprise community or to escape
the escalating violence.
My husband and I started to
build our home in Enterprise,
Chaguanas, in 2013. I moved into
the neighbourhood in 2015. Even
then, we knew that the area was a
hotspot but the crime wasn’t the
way that it is now. The very first
week I moved into Enterprise was
the first time I ever heard a gun be-
ing fired. It sounded like firecrack-
ers or fireworks. My husband told
me you have to duck down, peep
through the window and take off
all the lights. I didn’t understand
it because I was not born or raised
in it. I, coming from outside, have
followed my husband to this com-
munity and I am now learning what
I came from a gated community, this
was all new to me. I asked my husband
what was it’s like growing up in Enter-
prise, if it was always this way. He told
me when he was seven years old there
was a shooting involving Robocop, it
was alleged that Robocop shot someone
who was trying to rival his turf.
That was one event that stood out in
his mind but after that, there were no
murders, shootings or any gang-related
incidents that he could remember.
My husband said it wasn’t like the
way it is now. When he was growing up
there, he had his brothers and sisters
and they would go to Lendore Hindu
School in the area and they lived nearby.
They could walk freely without fear,
but now I can’t even stand in my own
front yard. Now I can’t even stand in
my own front yard without hearing
gunshots and wondering if the person
passing by is coming to shoot.
There are good, hard-working people
here; doctors, nurses, policemen and
businessmen. The streets have little
shops and there are working-class peo-
ple living in my community. We’re not
just sitting down there idle, twiddling
our thumbs and waiting to be caught
in this crossfire that we are being told
is gang warfare.
POLICE SEEM AFRAID
On the night Sylvan Alexis, Robocop’s
older brother was shot on March 24, I
had just come home from work and was
playing with my children in the yard
with our pet dogs.
Neighbours were walking in the com-
munity, people were in their front yard;
we felt comfortable.
One of the pups wandered into the
road and a neighbour was walking along
the street. Just as he placed the pup in
my hands we heard loud explosions
and we knew immediately what it was.
The murder of Sylvan Alexis, Mar-
vin Allan, Patrick Isles and Dillon ‘Fox’
Grant prompted me to move out. I have
taken a hiatus from the community and
I have taken my children to my parents’
home. We are staying out until we hear
that it is a little bit safe to come back.
These shootings are taking place in
front the police. These men have to pass
police posts in their vehicle on the street
to get to where they are going to shoot
people. It seems almost comical like you
could just tell the police ‘good evening,
I’m just going to kill a man there an I’ll
be back.’ It is so blatant.
They are cutting through tracks to
escape. To get to the scene of the recent
killing takes the police 30 seconds, the
killing happened a mere 100 feet away
from the police post on John Street, but
no one is held.
It is unbelievable that someone came
pass the police and shoot Sylvan Alexis
because the police are right there. That
is also frightening because it brings into
question what quality of Police Service
we have if you could be posted 100 feet
away from a shooting scene and they
get away scot-free.
A LOT OF SINGLE PARENTS
The police seem afraid because they
sit in their cars wherever they’re post-
ed in Enterprise or drive by. I do not
see them asking residents questions.
I don’t see them coming out of their
vehicles and looking for perpetrators
of crime. They’re just driving by with
their windows up as if trying to tick a
list off something to do.
There are known elements within
the Police Service that are protecting
these gangs. You can’t prove it but it is
known because there is an operation
existing on Bhagaloo Extension Street
in Enterprise, it is a drug block that has
been there for the past 35-plus years.
What we can deduce from that sit-
uation is that because the drug lord
had been running that block for so
long, he was not a positive role model
in the community for the young men
to look up to.
There is a breakdown in family life.
There’s no father figure, a lot of sin-
gle-parent homes, a mother who is
working two jobs to try and bring home
enough money to send them to school
to give them things to eat.
THE HAVES AND THE HAVE-NOTS
It’s all a matter of the haves and
have-nots; the have-nots want what
the haves have and the haves don’t want
to give them.
My husband believes that the boys
are “hungry”; they don’t have jobs to
feed their families, they’re procreating,
have children to mind and they have no
money to provide for them and there is a need and
no source for it.
But what is also part of the problem is that they
don’t want to work. All they want to do is just go and
work for two hours, collect a full day’s pay but come
on the block and sit down and lime, but that is the
culture of T&T.
Most of them wouldn’t be able to pass a drug test.
There are cracks in our borders that are allowing the
drugs to come in that’s why they have something to
sell. If we were able to seal the cracks in our borders
and intercept the drugs then they would have nothing
to sell and there will be no drug block.
It is a whole cycle, some police officers are being
paid by the drug lord for protection, the police of-
ficers need the money that the drug lord is giving them
because they’re not getting a large enough salary to
support their lifestyle.
A police officer may want to send their children to
private schools which may cost $18,000 minimum a
year, plus groceries that’s why they are enticed by the
drug lord to pay them to make sure the area is clear.
STATION NOT MAKING SENSE
National Security Minister Edmund Dillon an-
nouncing plans to build a police station in Enterprise is
a complete joke. That is an insult to residents because
we think nothing is going to happen.
If I pick up myself to go to the Chaguanas Police
Station and say I am here to make a report for you
to investigate the drug block on Bhagaloo Extension
Street, I am 100 per cent sure I will not live past the
night because everyone knows about the drug block
and nothing will come out of that report.
It may take me and 3,000 protesters in front the
police station, the Prime Minister’s residence, Par-
liament, shutting down the roads in the country to
let them know that we are fed up of this.
We want a clean community, you all come and do
what is right to take these elements out of here because
we cannot do it. If we speak out against elements
we will be killed and eliminated to keep silent and
send a message.
Continuing next week—Find out how a single
mom from Enterprise used hard work and
licks to keep her sons on the straight and
Under the gun in Enterprise
... struggling to live in the underbelly of the crime beast
An elderly man reads his novel as he awaits customers at his parlor along the Southern Main Road,
Enterprise. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
The police seem afraid because
they sit in their cars wherever they’re
posted in Enterprise or drive by. I
do not see them asking residents
questions. I don’t see them coming
out of their vehicles and looking for
perpetrators of crime.
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