Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 17th 2017 Contents news A5
Wednesday, May 17, 2017 guardian.co.tt
2 hospitalised after 'trauma'
Two people had to be taken
to the Sangre Grande District
Hospital for medical treatment
on Monday evening, after they
returned to their Pine Avenue,
Valencia property to find their
homes had been demolished by
a crew hours earlier.
Residents still reeling from the ac-
tion the day before yesterday told the
T&T Guardian that resident Yvette
Moore collapsed, while an unidenti-
fied man suffered a heart attack and
remained warded at the hospital,
after they returned home Monday
night to find their properties in ruin.
Some 15 properties were destroyed
by a team of police and soldiers sent
by the Commissioner of State Lands
on Monday. Protesting residents,
who claimed they were neither given
notices nor told the reason why their
homes were demolished, eventually
got the demolition team to go after
continued protest. But the team has
promised to return.
Police kept watch over the com-
munity on Monday night after the
residents had lit debris along the Va-
lencia stretch in protest on Monday.
Yesterday, as the affected res-
idents - some of whom sought
shelter with either family or friends
overnight - tried to come to terms
with what had happened, some were
wondering how to go forward.
Ashmi Joseph said her husband
Selwyn died two months ago and this
situation was adding to her woes.
"I am mentally stressed out. I have
six children who all live by me and
now we are on the streets with no
place to call home," Joseph said.
Showing her documents to T&T
Guardian, she said she had been liv-
ing on the land since 1983.
"My deceased husband Selwyn
and myself developed this commu-
nity by paying for the basic com-
modities, water, electricity and
road," she claimed.
Joseph reminded those in au-
thority that communities are built
by squatters, as most of the infra-
structure is laid down thanks to
squatters, who cannot afford land
to build a place they will call home
Another frustrated squatter, Ash-
meed Mohammed, added: "We not
encouraging wrong doing, not hurt-
ing anybody, we not selling drugs,
we not trying to rob.
"Ah mean oh God, have mercy
for we. As people we trying to help
ourselves. Oh God, come to we and
deal with we like human beings, doh
deal with we like if we doh exist. You
put us on streets for a lil piece of land
that we work hard to build a house
where we can live and continue to
A few residents said they called
the Commissioner of State Lands'
office yesterday and were told they
never gave instructions to break
down people's homes. A release from
the Ministry of Housing and Urban
Development, under whose purview
the Land Settlement Agency (LSA)
falls, also yesterday said the agency
was not responsible for the demoli-
tion, as was reported in yesterday's
Residents also said MP Glenda
Jennings-Smith was yet to visit them
to address their concerns and pro-
vide them with some sort of relief
or assurance such an incident would
not happen again.
Around 1.30 pm yesterday, after
police who were there overnight
left the scene, the angry villagers
returned to the Valencia stretch
to burn debris in another protest,
causing all traffic leaving and en-
tering Sangre Grande to come to a
This time, however, police were
on hand at Guaico Junction to direct
motorists to alternative routes.
ASP Robain, who was out direct-
ing officers, said the action was il-
legal and called on the resident to
"People, if caught setting fires on
the nation's roadway, will be arrested
and charged," Robain said, adding
police will be monitoring the sit-
uation day and night to ensure the
travelling public is not inconven-
But the residents vowed to con-
tinue their protests until they get a
guarantee no more houses will be
broken down and those which were
destroyed are compensated for.
Two slain at job site
JENSEN LA VENDE
Two men working on a con-
demned Housing Development
Corporation (HDC) building at
Marcano Quarry, Laventille,
were murdered yesterday when
gunmen from neighbouring John
John opened fire on them.
A third man, Darnel Williams, was
shot three times and was said to have
undergone emergency surgery at the
Port-of-Spain General Hospital last
The victims, 21-year-old Hakim
Andrews and Tyriq Roberts, 19, both
of Picton Road, Laventille, died on
Angry relatives of the men yes-
terday said their deaths were the
result of police corruption and poor
policing in the area. The relatives said
police inaction against criminal ele-
ment from John John, who they say
had been targeting the victims, was
directly responsible for their deaths.
In fact, police, soldiers and the
media at the murder scene were
forced to take cover when a single
gunshot rang out. The shot, police
later said, most likely originated
from the John John area.
A relative of Andrews said he
worked at Blue Waters as a labourer,
but noted he had warned him not to
work on the condemned building as
it had been shot up previously.
"He tell me he was getting $1,200
to do the work. I and all was supposed
quarrelling with him and tell him go
to work because in these areas when
you don't go to work anything could
happen," the relative, who did not
want to be identified, said.
Roberts' relatives said he was the
youngest male in the family and was
not involved in anything. They noted
it was "wicked men" from John John
who had killed an innocent man.
Police said prior to the murders
there was a shoot-out between men
from Marcano Quarry and John John.
They said this later led to gunmen
from John John going to the work site
around 2.45 pm, where they found
the two and murdered them. Police
believe the victims were not part of
the shoot-out as no guns were found
on them. The men attempted to
run on seeing the gunmen but were
trapped by the scaffolding erected
to demolish the building.
In an unrelated killing, a man po-
lice believe lived at Beetham Gardens
was beaten and shot dead between
Queen and Duncan Streets, Port-of-
Spain, yesterday. Police said around
5.30 pm they were notified of the kill-
ing and later found the unidentified
man with a single gunshot wound to
the back of the head.
The man was of mixed descent
wearing black long pants, blue cheq-
uered shirt and a pair of slippers.
He had tattoos of a diamond on the
centre of his chest, stars with wings
and a tattoo with the name "Kimika"
The murder toll up to last evening
stood at 195, as opposed to 177 for
the corresponding period last year.
General secretary of the Fire
Service Association Ashton
Cunningham is calling for
fire-fighters to be afforded po-
lice presence when responding
to calls in "hotspot" areas.
He made the call yesterday af-
ter some of the colleagues had to
retreat back to the Morvant Fire
Station after being threatened by
protesters along the Lady Young
Fire fighters had to respond to
separate calls to tend to fires lit
by Morvant residents during pro-
tests for water and jobs. But when
they got to the sites along the Lady
Young Road and Eastern Main
Road, Cunningham said the pro-
testers threatened the fire fighters
and even threw missiles at them as
they attempted to put out the fires.
In an interview with the T&T
Guardian, Cunningham said unlike
police officers, fire fighters are not
armed or protected from members
of the public during confrontations.
"Obviously this is a serious con-
cern. We are putting our lives on the
line to protect property and faced
with additional treats and missiles
from protesters and this would put
our lives in danger," he said.
Cunningham said fire fight-
ers usually try to work alongside
members of the Police Service for
"We normally call them out to
safeguard us. Police have bullet
proof vests but we don't have it as
an item in the kit (uniform). We
need a concerted effort from the
police to quell these incidents in
the shortest possible time. We need
police presence when we are going
to do these troubled calls."
A police officer, left, takes cover behind a wall after gunshots rang out while
investigators were processing the site of a double murder in Laventille
yesterday. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
Angry squatters whose homes were demolished at Pine Avenue, Valencia, on Monday. PHOTO: RALPH BANWARIE
VALENCIA SQUATTING DEMOLITION
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