Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 19th 2013 Contents A5
Monday, August 19, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
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Doors were torn off hinges, peo-
ple were spoken to in a rough man-
ner and young men were carted off
to jail cells despite the failure of
officers to find any arms or ammu-
nition, residents of Nelson Street
The complaints came hours after
police locked down parts of Nelson
and Duncan Streets to conduct an
exercise early yesterday morning.
Deputy Commissioner of Police
Mervyn Richardson said that the
police were in possession of search
warrants for the apartments.
But out of five people who spoke
to a team from the Trinidad
Guardian, only one said she was
shown a warrant.
The woman said police showed
her a piece of paper, which they said
was a warrant, before going into her
apartment to search.
"I don t mind them doing their
work, but you can t just pick up peo-
ple children and go.
"I didn t mind them searching. I
helped them search because I know
I wasn t in anything. It have a lot of
people in here that don t like what
going on and that want to get out
of here," she said.
She said police could fix the prob-
lem in the area.
"They (the police) could do the
right thing you know, and get the
guns off the street but people don t
trust them. I don t trust the police
and I don t trust the media because
they write what they want. It s only
because you re a woman I talk to
She pointed to the door of an
abandoned school that had been torn
off its hinges.
Carlton Taylor, a retired police offi-
cer was driving his wife to Maraval
when he got a call from his neighbour
informing him that police had broken
down his door and were searching
Taylor returned home to find three
officers exiting his apartment, his
clothing and documents in disarray
and several doors broken down.
He said he was never shown a
warrant and was just told that an
exercise was being carried out.
He spent the remainder of the day
trying to secure his property for fear
of bandits breaking in and stealing
his furniture and appliances.
As this reporter walked through
the apartment compound several
people volunteered information
Another man, Fitzroy Barker, an
employee of the Ministry of Works,
had his door broken down while he
was at the market and did not see
or speak to a police officer during
Assistant Commissioner of Police
in charge of crime, Glen Hackett,
said the police exercise was in
response to the upsurge in murders.
Hackett said each and every apart-
ment would have been searched by
police during the exercise.
He said police had arrested people
on outstanding warrants as well as
people suspected of having commit-
ted various offences such as robbery,
possession of narcotics and shoot-
"We are here to bring a measure
of confidence to the law abiding cit-
izens that the police service is willing
to act on their behalf when they per-
ceive that they are in jeopardy in
terms of lawlessness."
Hackett said police had not con-
fiscated ammunition at the time of
the media interview.
He said several people had been
taken into custody in relation to the
illegal occupation of Housing Devel-
opment Corporation (HDC) apart-
Several sections of the police serv-
ice were involved in the exercise.
Hackett promised that at some
point in the future the police would
focus on the other areas in Port-of-
Spain that were vulnerable to crime
While east Port-of-Spain has been
deemed a crime hot spot by police,
there was a dramatic increase in mur-
ders this month, with four people
having been killed last weekend and
five murders recorded last Wednes-
day, resulting in statements from
several public figures on the issue.
Last week Prime Minister Kamla
Persad-Bissessar and members of
her Government and Opposition
Leader Dr Keith Rowley, on separate
occasions, walked through the areas
in order to interact with residents.
This was followed by a meeting
at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann s,
on Friday at which both Persad-
Bissessar and Rowley agreed to hold
discussion on ways to deal with the
escalation of crime in east Port-of-
Nelson and Duncan Streets lockdown...
Some residents not shown warrants
Minister Housing Roodal Mooni-
lal commended the police operation
conducted throughout east Port-
of-Spain yesterday, saying the city
"I take note and I commend the
police on the work they have done,"
Moonilal said at Hill Crest Gardens,
Retrench, during a Health Fair organ-
ised by the community.
In light of the spate of killings and
shootings associated with gang war-
fare in the east Port-of-Spain last
Thursday, where six people died in
less than 24 hours, police locked
down Duncan and Nelson Street
from 4 am until 10 am.
"It is work that is needed to rescue
Port-of-Spain from the clutches of
criminal elements that run amok,
particularly in the Housing Devel-
opment Corporation (HDC) estates."
Prior to last week s bloodshed,
reports surfaced about gangs threat-
ening HDC homeowners to vacate
This lawlessness he said was part
of the reason he called an emergency
meeting last Saturday with deputy
police commissioner Mervyn
Richardson, officials from the Min-
istry of Housing, the HDC and law
enforcement agencies to develop a
plan to address the forcible evictions
of five families from apartment
buildings in east Port-of-Spain.
He said police had been compiling
evidence and building their cases
and yesterday s operation was an
attempt to address the crime crisis
in the area.
Hill Crest Gardens residents held
a Health Fair which sought to build
community unity and educate res-
idents about healthy living.
Moonilal, who is the MP for that
area, said events like that boosted
the HDC community and he intend-
ed to spread it to all the others.
Moonilal added that curbing crime
in HDC communities, which were
prone to such activity, was a prior-
"We monitor the estates to see
which is a so-called hotspot or not,
and depending on the level of crime
and criminal activity in the areas,
we are now recommending the
installation of CCTV camera sys-
He said this could be expected for
east Port-of-Spain, Maloney, and
other areas that police deem to have
high crime levels.
More street lights, street signs and
HDC cards could be expected for
HDC areas. HDC cards would be
distributed to rightful tenants to
ensure the person who owns the
property is residing in it.
"We are hoping to crack down on
the criminal elements in the HDC
estates, because if we don t, we may
have a migration of people leaving
Port-of-Spain east, and going into
other areas in T&T and that is not
something we want to promote
because it has its own dangers."
Moonilal said he was hopeful the
collaboration between Prime Min-
ister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and
Opposition Leader Keith Rowley on
addressing the rise in crime in east
Port-of-Spain would lead to legis-
lation and security policy. "I think
it s a very positive development."
Moonilal gives police 'thumbs up'
Retired policeman Carlton Taylor shows the broken door and fixed lock to
the bedroom of his apartment at Nelson Street, Port-of-Spain, which was
broken down during a joint police/army exercise in the area known as The
Plannings early yesterday morning. PHOTO: ANDY HYPOLITE
Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal reacts as Steve Mohammed takes
blood to conduct a cholesterol test at the Hill Crest Gardens, Retrench
Village's health fair, yesterday. PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
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