Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 17th 2013 Contents A14
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Saturday, August 17, 2013
UNITED COLORS OF BENETTON
LONG CIRCULAR MALL 622-8245
CHARLES KONG SOO
Port-of-Spain South MP Marlene
McDonald is inviting residents from
the area to bring their children to the
Port-of-Spain City Hall on Sunday
from 10 am where 500 schoolbags
will be distributed to them.
East Port-of-Spain area was eerily
quiet when McDonald visited the
matriarch of the family of the two
slain teenagers, Niam Antoine, 16, and
his 16-year-old cousin Rasheeda
Gomez at her Duncan Street, Port-
of-Spain apartment, to offer condo-
lences and hampers to the relatives.
She was greeted by a resident who
said every mother in the area felt the
pain of the two "babies" who had just
started to live and whose lives were
ended in such a brutal manner.
Mc Donald said the government was
to blame for the recent murders, as
they had dismantled several social pro-
grammes established by the PNM to
benefit the community in East Port-
"There is this perception---it could
be reality---that whatever the PNM has
started, they re going to abandon it.
"I had put mechanisms in place to
take care of the young people in East
"We recognised the problems in East
Port-of-Spain and decided to look at
the young persons and tried to provide
skills courses, meeting places and com-
munity centres for their idle minds
running around, take them off the
streets in the evening time, but all
these things that were being built---
like the Moseley Place Community
Centre and the Sea Lots East Com-
munity Centre---were abandoned."
She said other places earmarked
were homework centres in Sea Lots
West, St Joseph Rd and Straker Vil-
McDonald said other initiatives the
government had abandoned when she
demitted office were the Picton Dance
Theatre, the Basilon Street Community
Complex with the first swimming pool
to teach children in East Port-of-Spain
to swim and the Mango Rose Home
She said this was done to capture
and harness the resources of the youth
in the area and when they were
removed the consequence was the five
killings on Monday.
McDonald said she received flak for
her relationship with ILP interim leader
She said she didn t like adversarial
politics and being in government
meant providing goods and services
to the people and Warner came to her
assistance in repairing the main artery
of the Laventille Road.
McDonald said under her tenure
there were two police posts established
in the community, one at Mango Rose
and at Pleasance Terrace, and their
presence exuded a sense of calm in
She said Warner had promised to
make Chaguanas West a model for
the future and establish police posts
in his jurisdiction. McDonald said this
tactic was not the only solution but
was part of a bigger package.
Continuing warfare over a Government contract
awarded to a Duncan Street company two weeks
ago may have led to the slaughter of two teenagers
in the area last Wednesday afternoon, Port-of-
Spain South MP Marlene McDonald told the
"I think that was the main confusion," said McDon-
ald, who visited the families of slain youths, Niam
Antoine, 16, at Picadilly Street, and his 16-year old
cousin Rasheeda Gomez of Duncan Street. Antoine
and Gomez were killed by gunmen. "I will speak to
the people today."
A third person, Shawndelle Braithwaite, 18, was
also shot and is in critical condition at the Port-of-
Spain General Hospital.
Two other murders occured around the same time
in Laventille. Sean Lewis Jr, 17, and Christopher Peters,
27, of Sea Lots were sprayed with bullets. The police
are yet to confirm whether all the killings are related.
On July 30, a wild, wild West scenario played out
on Nelson Street as rival gangs from the area and
Duncan Street fired gunshots at one another.
Police said a number of "miscreants" from nearby
areas also invaded the area and suspected a contract
to build a basketball court on Duncan Street may
have triggered the war.
McDonald said she believed in education and sus-
tainable jobs and said residents want lasting jobs,
not temporary contracts.
She said her efforts to get residents employed in
permanent jobs have been frustrated by Government
contracts given to people in the area.
"I collected the names and resumes of unemployed
people in the area and went to different companies
asking them to take the people.
"Then Jack Warner came with the $69 jobs when
he was national security minister."
In October 2012, residents of the area protested
$69 a day jobs under the "People and Projects for
Progress" programme launched by Warner at St Paul
Street Community Centre.
Warner said the programme, run by the T&T Reg-
iment, was aimed at job creation, poverty eradication
and crime reduction in East Port-of-Spain.
McDonald said Jamaat al Muslimeen leader Imam
Yasin Abu Bakr was also given a Government contract
to paint Housing Development Corporation buildings
on Duncan Street. She said some residents went for
these contract jobs from which the majority of citizens
did not benefit.
She said there are ways the Government can create
more sustainable jobs in the area and advised it would
help ease the tension a little if they involved the MP.
She said she was born and bred in Moseley Place,
East Port-of-Spain and understood the people.
McDonald identified several community projects
which she initiated during her two-and-a-half years
in government in the last administration and said
many of them are yet to be completed.
Noting Cabinet s recent approval of $63.7 million
for the development of Chaguanas, she offered a
suggestion on how to create sustainable jobs in East
She said land along the Priority Bus Route near
the area, for example, had been earmarked for HDC
buildings and the Government could construct new
houses there for residents of Duncan, Nelson and
She said existing HDC buildings on these streets
could be demolished and the residents relocated to
the new houses. "This is one project that could create
jobs for everyone in the area," she said.
Marlene: Create jobs
to reduce crime
Port-of-Spain South MP Marlene McDonald greets residents during a walkabout at the apartment building in
East Port-of-Spain between George and Duncan Streets, Thursday. PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALES
Mc Donald promises 500
schoolbags for PoS South children
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