Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 13th 2014 Contents A8
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The police and army may soon be requested on
job sites as Minister of Works Surujrattan Ram-
bachan says criminals are dishing out death threats
and cutlass attacks against employees.
The revelation comes just three days after gangs
vandalised the Housing Development Corporation s
(HDC) apartments in Lisas Gardens, Couva, in an
attempt to extort money from contractors.
On Thursday, residents of Annabelle Street dis-
covered threats and derogatory graffiti painted on
the walls of buildings 11 and 12. It follows the January
3 gun attack on a work crew contracted by the HDC.
However, Rambachan said these gang-related
crimes were not limited to one area as workers in
Chaguanas, Diego Martin, Matelot and Claxton Bay
are abandoning job sites in fear for their lives.
When asked if police and army would be required,
Rambachan said: "We will probably have to do that
but what is happening is that a lot of the workers
are abandoning their jobs. They don t want to go
back to work there because they are personally being
threatened and people are telling them, we know
where your family lives. "
Speaking to reporters at Claxton Bay, the minister
said contractors are being intimidated to pay criminals
to perform no work. On one occasion the army and
police had to step in to quell a heated protest in
Moruga where workers were accosted while repairing
He said: "We continue to face this problem with
people coming and stopping the works. Mr (Errol)
Mc Leod referred to the Battoo Boulevard pavilion.
On several occasions they came out with cutlasses
and stopped the contractors and the workers. The
contractor had to end up paying them to sit there
and they did not do anything.
"We have faced it in the Diego Martin area: in
River Estate we had a problem where someone went
and sit in a contractor s car and demanded money.
Yesterday, a contractor came to see me because he
had to abandon a work in Enterprise, where people
came and stopped the work.
"These are criminal elements who want to tax
people. It is going to be combated. We re going to
stamp it out. This is not a situation that can be tol-
erated and the strong arm of the law will have to
kick in to situations as this," Rambachan said.
While protests have been ongoing in Moruga for
repairs to the La Lune Road, Rambachan said residents
there were responsible for the delays as they protested
against work that was being done to a bridge two
However, he said the entire Moruga Road is carded
for reconstruction and that the first phase of work
is expected to begin in March.
"Well I did send people down to La Lune and they
have done the survey on what has to be done. The
MP told me that some temporary relief has been
brought but that is an area we have had some prob-
lems. We went there to fix a bridge, it was to repair
the planks and the people protested and stopped the
workers from fixing the bridge.
"I had to get the army to go out there to get the
work done. This is the kind of lawlessness we have
to stamp out and we are going to be dealing with
that situation up in La Lune, so too the situation up
"You cannot have people willing to work in this
country, even for the minimum wage, and you have
people who want to tax them and not do anything
in this country, it cannot be. We have to reach a sit-
uation where the law overrides everything else and
those who want to work hard are supported and pro-
Rambachan added that in making arrangement
with contractors, the ministry negotiates that 20 per
cent of the workforce is employed from the area
where the work is being done.
Despite a rapid mur-
der rate Labour Minister
Errol McLeod described
T&T as a beautiful place
to live but warned that
if crime is not contained
soon, "crapaud will
smoke our pipe."
"If Trinidad burn
down, I living in the
ashes. I am not leaving
here," McLeod said even
though 23 murders have
already been recorded in
just 12 days, 19 more than
this period last year and
at an average of two
deaths per day.
Speaking at Claxton
Bay yesterday, McLeod
said: "I think that with
every murder, every loss
of life in a heinous way
as we have been experi-
encing, it ought to worry
everybody. People ought
to be concerned about
that and it is only with
our combined efforts that
I think we are going to
get close to ridding our-
selves of that situation.
It might well get worse,
but it will get better.
"All of us must become
involved in solving the
issue of crime that
plagues this society. This
has always been a beau-
tiful place. It is still a
beautiful place. It is not
yet beyond redemption
but if we do not intervene
now, crapaud will smoke
our pipe. "
Social networks and
blogs have been buzzing
with commentaries on
the increasing murder
rate with many people
refuge in the US or Cana-
da. However, McLeod
said these places are just
"I would say to them,
bear with us, continue to
subscribe to being a
strong supporter of
Trinidad and Tobago. We
cannot abandon our land
because of this. I still feel
one is exposed to even
more serious dangers in
certain other parts of the
world. Parts where every-
body wants to go to
because we too have
identified such parts as
being the paradise that
we ought to be in
Trinidad and Tobago."
But migration is one of
the causes of today s high
crime rate, McLeod said,
as it has contributed to
diminishing family val-
ues. Recalling the dismal
economic situation in the
1970s, he said, many par-
ents left their children in
Minister of Works and Infrastructure Dr Surujrattan Rambachan is congratulated
by Minister of Labour and Small and Micro Enterprise Development Errol McLeod
at the launch of the Bridges Reconstruction Programme and the sod-turning
ceremony for the reconstruction of the Bull's Bridge at Cedar Hill, Claxton Bay,
yesterday. Looking on at left is Minister of State in the Ministry of Works and
Infrastructure Stacy Roopnarine. PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA
Thugs extorting $$ from contractors
We will stamp
T&T in search of a better
life, but it left gaps in
their children s social
"Children need more
than bread. They need
the milk of parenthood,
they need to be properly
trained, they need to be
properly cared for, they
must know that they are
loved and they are
appreciated," he said.
McLeod: Don't abandon T&T
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