Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 1st 2013 Contents A7
September 1, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
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Criminal deportees are responsible for
the recent spate of killings and gang war-
fare in Laventille.
Wayne Chance, head of Vision on Mission
(VOM), an organisation that rehabilitates
ex-convicts, said scores of criminal deportees
who enter the country and are not integrated
into a support programme, or have no family
to lend support, "find themselves back into
a life of crime."
Chance said many of the deportees had
served jail terms for larceny, drug trafficking,
possession of arms and ammunition, and
shootings mainly in the United States before
being returned to T&T. He said while VOM
tries to integrate some of the deportees,
many "fall through the cracks" and end up
joining criminal gangs.
He said one area the deportees are fre-
quenting is Laventille.
On Wednesday, Chance will be one of
several speakers at a public consultation on
deportees at Cascadia Hotel.
Chance said there are currently ten depor-
tees at VOM. He said more than 100 had
returned to T&T and 65 of them had been
integrated. However, the other 35 cannot
Chance said quite a number of them are
involved in crime in Laventille.
"Most of them would not have been
deported recently. They settled down and
get to know the ins and outs and they set
up their connections and run their routes
in drugs and guns. They also do their hit
work and so forth. They are involved in
Chance said one deportee who joined the
programme was trained in the military to
"He was under the supervision of Special
Branch for a while and then they leave him."
The deportee has since been integrated
back into society, Chance said.
In May, during an official visit to this
country by United States Vice-President
Joe Biden, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-
Bissessar said there was a connection
between criminal deportees and increased
crime and violence in T&T and the rest of
the Caribbean. She said the major problem
was that many of the deportees left the
region prior to adulthood and do not have
ties to the countries to which they have
Persad-Bissessar called for improved
information and intelligence-sharing on
criminal deportees, including access to com-
plete dossiers on medical and criminal his-
tory, as well as consideration of financial
and technical assistance to establish rein-
tegration programmes within Caricom
Chance said the Government gives him
$800 a month to provide food, clothing and
shelter for each deportee but the actual cost
He warned that if the Government fails
to address the problem, crime will escalate.
Minister of the People Dr Glenn Ramad-
harsingh said the Government has recog-
nised the need to help the deportees and
is establishing a deportee support unit. He
said VOM will be provided with the nec-
"These people come with sophisticated
knowledge of crime, Mafia and how to make
bombs and operate high-tech weaponry.
We have to turn their lives around. We can t
afford to leave them on their own," he said
Ramadharsingh said in the past up to 30
deportees would return home annually, but
the figures are increasing because of Amer-
ica s immigration laws and enforcement.
Some 3,292 Caricom nationals were
deported from the US between October
2007 and July 14, 2008, with T&T receiving
the third highest number, 311. Of this figure
228 were considered criminal deportees.
The Government must take control of work in
East Port-of-Spain and people must stop the "eat
ah food" mentality, respect the police, and live
together. That is the view of Laventille community
elder William "Thunderbolt" Williams.
Williams grew up at 60 Laventille Road, was the
leader of the Witco Desperadoes Steel Orchestra, a
member of the Council of Elders of Laventille, and
a co-ordinator of the Unemployment Relief Pro-
gramme (URP) in the area.
In an interview with the Sunday Guardian in his
apartment, Williams, 62, said the Government need-
ed to get rid of contractors and take control of
projects in the area.
"Some people might get a contract, but they don t
have money to pay workers. They end up waiting
two, three months to pay their workers. Workers
become frustrated and they take drastic action.
"The Government have the power to open up
work and say everybody getting paid at the end of
the week...The Government should run it and not
hand it to Tom, Dick and Harry...Let Government
hold it in their hand."
While the Government is running the project, he
said, an audit of the workers should be done to
determine who is capable of doing what and people
should be promoted based on that. This gave every-
body a fair chance, he added.
Respect for the police needed to return in the
area, he added. "Long time, when you see a police
officer in uniform, you have all the respect for that
guy. That respect is not like that any more."
Commenting on crime initiatives in east Port-
of-Spain, Williams said patrolling the area was more
important than putting police posts.
"You have to put them to work. Put them walking,
on their bikes, in their cars. They have to patrol the
area more regularly.
"The police must be kept moving. You have to
let the people know: We here, so don t miss and
do anything. "
He said more emphasis needed to be placed on
different types of sports in the area, not just bas-
ketball. "It have football, boxing, cricket, running,
all different types of sports, so they will always have
something to do."
Williams said he asked the Government for help
to reopen a wrestling training centre on George
Street, but did not get a favourable response.
calls for more
VOM's Wayne Chance:
Laventille crime wave
Women of the T&T Police Service march past at the Independence Day parade in the Queen's Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain.
PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
VOM head Wayne Chance
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