Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 11th 2013 Contents A5
Friday, October 11, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Kenneth "Spanish" Rodriguez yes-
terday confirmed he was the foreman
on the police post being constructed
at Duncan Street, Port-of-Spain.
His comment came a day after Hous-
ing Development Corporation managing
director Jearlean John said he was merely
an over enthusiastic worker and possibly
not even working on the site.
Yesterday, however, when the T&T
Guardian visited the construction site,
Rodriguez said he was the foreman of
the job, employed in that role by FIQH
General Contractors. He said he had
been working there for six weeks.
He again denied being a gang member
or gang leader, saying although he had
been charged with crimes as a youth he
was never convicted. In 2011, he and
his son were imprisoned but later
released without charge, he said.
He added: "They say I am a gang
member and a gang leader.
"I worked here now for about a month
and two weeks on the streets of Port-
of-Spain, the corner of Duncan and
Nelson, and not one of them has made
(an attempt) on my life out here in the
Rodriguez, however, said he believed
he was being used as a political scape-
"I hear they calling my name on plat-
form and all of them things," he said.
"Jack Warner is a millionaire and I
find he real belittle himself to be taking
my name to use it on a platform in pol-
itics and using me as a scapegoat in
politics," he added.
Asked where the allegations that he
was involved with gangs had come from,
he said; "Well maybe when I was
younger I had a few charges but I was
never convicted of nothing. And maybe
because I from Beetham Gardens which
them have as a crime hotspot area."
Voted for change in 2010
Asked about his political affiliations,
he said: "I voted for this government
already. I voted for change."
Rodriguez said he owned a contracting
company, Rico Development Co Ltd,
but said he was working for the Chagua-
nas-based FIQH on the police post.
A search of the companies registrar
yesterday revealed Rico Development
was registered as a company based at
Beetham Gardens and lists him as a
director along with three others: Ancil
Villafana, Michael Taylor and Jonathan
But, he said, Rico was never contracted
to do the job on the police post for the
He is employed by FIQH as a foreman,
"I don t care if the contract is
removed," said a defiant Rodriguez. "I ll
find another job," he added.
On Wednesday, HDC managing direc-
tor Jearlean John knocked the media for
reports that Rodriguez had been awarded
the $2 million contract to construct the
police post. She said he was neither the
contractor nor sub-contractor.
While labelling him as an over enthu-
siastic worker, she said she still could
not confirm whether he was even an
employee at the site.
John made the comment at a press
conference she called to address the
matter, saying the reports had put
Rodriguez s life in danger.
The media reports, however, followed
a tour of the site by John and several
members of the government, including
then acting prime minister Roodal
Moonilal and National Security Minister
Gary Griffith, in which Rodriguez par-
Speaking to the media after the tour,
Rodriguez addressed claims that a gang
member had been given the contract
for the police post.
He denied being a gang leader, saying
he had no criminal record. Rodriguez
also said he was involved in an HDC
construction project at Beetham Gardens
and even worked for the East Port-of-
Spain Development Company, another
Spanish: I'm just foreman at Duncan Street police post
me as scapegoat'
Rodriguez: Jobs will change things
Last Friday, Kenneth "Spanish" Rodriguez shot to prominence when
he denied claims he was the person identified as the gang leader who
had been given the $2 million HDC contract to construct the Duncan
Street police post.
After touring the site with a delegation which included then acting
prime minister Roodal Moonilal, National Security Minister Gary
Griffith, Police Commissioner Stephen Williams and HDC managing
director Jearlean John, Rodriguez approached the media and fielded
questions. He said he was the contractor for the project but said he
was a hard-working man and no one had any evidence to support
Days later, acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams claimed
police had information that Rodriguez was involved in gang activity
and had passed the information on to the government. He said,
however, that like several other cases involving gangs, they did not
have the evidence for a conviction.
John subsequently called a press conference in which she denied
Rodriguez was either a contractor or sub-contractor on the project.
Today, reporter Richard Lord, who was at the assignment last
Friday, gives a brief account of how Rodriguez came to speak to the
media on the issue, followed by the transcript of his interview with
Kenneth "Spanish" Rodriguez was never introduced to the media.
He approached Dr Roodal Moonilal and shook hands.
Spanish was interviewed by reporters following Moonilal's tour of
October 4 , 2013
Reporter: How do you respond to claims that you are a gang
leader who has got contracts from the Government?
Rodriguez: Well, I don't know myself to be no gang leader, I am a
community activist that does carry out my jobs, if you understand. If I
was a gang leader, I don't see anything that could stop the T&T Police
Service from putting me in prison, you understand? I was never
charged or sentenced in this country and nobody in T&T could say
that "Spanish" does have them doing crime.
I work for everything I want. People will say all kinds of things but
who know me will say different.
Reporter: Why do you think that allegation was made?
Rodriguez: Well, maybe from past---you understand---things might
have been different but I don't know if the Government seem to have
the past in their mind still. The youths in Port -of-Spain and environs
just need plenty development to change a picture and structure of
mind, if you understand what I am saying.
Look, it is close to Christmas time and when this project close
down, if it have nothing to do you find the streets, you understand,
'cause since I doing this project here, very rare you hear any ---you
understand---because there are people employed from all over Port-
of-Spain, everybody getting paid, so I don't have a problem.
I am a registered contractor and I work for what I want.
Right now I am doing a next project in Beetham for HDC, where I
am putting up two buildings. Presently I am doing work for East Port-
of-Spain Development, so I don't understand.
I now see the minister come here and I haven't heard him say
anything but I see articles in the papers.I haven't questioned
anything, I just leave it at that.
Reporter: Do you want to refute all the statements being made
Rodriguez: No, politics is all about all kinds of talk, nobody has any
proof of anything against me, so I don't really have to further any
talk, if you understand. I don't really want to go into that. I am just
working and that is about it.
Reporter: How do you feel about the allegations being made about
Rodriguez: I really don't study it 'cause I am no gang member or
gang leader, so it really isn't any problem to me. I don't go to sleep
with that on my mind when the night comes.
Maybe the minister heard the wrong things so, if you understand.
You are reporters and this is about the first time all you ever
interview me. If "Spanish" is this big name, how come I was never
reported on before, Ian Alleyne programme, nobody?
So I am not studying any talk. That can't hold back my life. I am
Reporter: What do you think about the project, police post?
Rodriguez: The project nice. All the things they're opening within
Port-of-Spain for the youths, they will be nice. Once you have the
right people behind it, to push it, you know?
It is time they do over these buildings. The whole place need
developing and once the Government focus on that, things could be
A payday is a very important thing to every human. Talk is one
thing and hunger is an next. So while you're talking you have to be
able to feed too, you understand, and if you can't do that you still
have problems on your hand. It has plenty youths out here parentless
and they have reached a certain age with the wrong mentality.
Nothing is no problem, the only problem is the need for plenty
employment, we have enough money for that. We could be a first-
class country, so we don't want to go into all of that neither.
Reporter: So are you saying once the youths of this area have
Rodriguez answers before question was completed: All of
Trinidad in the crime hotspots, not only Duncan Street, Nelson Street
or Beetham---you know what I am saying ---in south, Monkey Town.
Plenty employment will change up the streets of T&T.
Kenneth "Spanish" Rodriguez at the police post construction site on Duncan Street,
Port-of-Spain, yesterday. PHOTO: BRIAN NG FATT
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