Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 31st 2014 Contents A 23-year-old Diego Martin man died after
being struck by a car while crossing the Wendy
Fitzwilliam Boulevard on Thursday night.
Police said around 9.20 pm Jeron Emmanuel of
St Lucien Road, Diego Martin, and an unidentified
friend were crossing the busy roadway near Garnet
Street, Diamond Vale, when he was hit by a car
Emmanuel was thrown onto the windshield of
the car before landing on the road.
The driver of the vehicle stopped to render assis-
tance to the injured man. However, by the time
emergency health services personnel arrived on
the scene Emmanuel had already succumbed to
Investigators from West End Police, located near-
by, arrived on the scene shortly after and temporarily
detained the driver of the blue Toyota Corolla for
A breathalyser test was administered, but the
driver was not found to be intoxicated. He was
released after giving police a statement.
Cpl Richardson is continuing investigations.
Two Diego Martin residents are now warded
in hospital after two shootings near their homes
between Thursday night and yesterday morning.
In the first incident around 10 pm on Thursday,
officers of the Western Division responded to a
report of a shooting at the Patna Village Recreation
Ground in Diego Martin.
When they arrived on the scene they saw a man
using his hand to apply pressure to a gunshot
wound to his abdomen.
The victim, later identified as Matthew Pope,
35, of Blue Basin Road, Diego Martin, was taken
to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital where he
remains warded in a stable condition.
Almost 12 hours later, the same group of officers
returned to the area after another resident was
shot in his neck.
In that incident around 10.30 am yesterday, 21-
year-old Brandon Hinds was liming with friends
near his home at the corner of Cizan Trace and
Waterwheel Road, Diego Martin, when they were
approached by a gunman.
The man drew his gun and began shooting at
the group of men. He then ran away.
During the melee Hinds was shot in the right
side of the neck. Neighbours took him to the hospital
where he was stabilised.
He remained warded in a stable but serious con-
dition up to late yesterday evening.
Although the bullet exited his body, police said
fragments were left in the wound, which would
require surgery to remove.
Investigators said they were able to interview
both victims and have received "key information"
which may assist in solving the shootings.
No arrests were made up to late yesterday.
Insp Thomas, Cpl Linton and PC Joseph, all of
the Western Division, are continuing investigations.
A panel of Christian leaders and a mil-
itary chief have identified temporary
unemployment relief, such as the Unem-
ployment Relief Programme (URP) and
Community-Based Environmental Pro-
tection and Enhancement Programme
(Cepep), as a major factor affecting crime.
Speaking at a media briefing at the con-
clusion of the Prayers Plus---Finding Solu-
tions for Crime Symposium at the Hilton
Trinidad and Conference Centre on Thurs-
day evening, the five-member panel which
included Vice Chief of Defence Staff Brig
Gen Anthony Phillips-Spencer said there
were serious deficiencies and corrupt activity
in the programmes and these needed to be
urgently addressed by the Government.
"We think that there is clearly a corellation
between the current approach in these pro-
grammes and what we are witnessing in
terms of the prevalence in gang culture,"
His comments come days after National
Security Minister Gary Griffith announced
that the controversial Life Sport programme,
which aims to teach life skills to unemployed
youths in high crime areas, would be placed
under the control of the Defence Force.
Last Saturday, Prime Minister Kamla Per-
sad-Bissessar announced the transfer of the
programme from the Ministry of Sport to
Griffith s ministry amid allegations of cor-
Phillips-Spencer said the issue with the
restructuring of such programmes arose
during a presentation of business leaders
during the three-day symposium of Chris-
tian leaders, which also featured media exec-
utives, non-governmental organisations
(NGOs) and Chief Justice Ivor Archie.
He said that two important comments
made included the need to revisit the rela-
tionship between reward and effort and an
observation that attempts were being made
by the Government to "buy peace" from
"The continued effort to buy peace high-
lights further the reality that gangs and gang
culture is now replacing what would oth-
erwise be strong community life," Phillips-
He said that a major issue with the pro-
grammes was that they were being used by
some deportees attempting to reintegrate
"We don t think that is productive or
contributes to the kind of environment we
want," Phillips-Spencer said.
His views were strongly endorsed by
Director for Prayers Plus, Cleveland Thomas,
who led the panel and first highlighted the
"With all the reports of what is happening
with these programmes I believe that you
don t have to be Christian to recognise there
is a need for a revisiting and a rethinking
of it," Thomas said.
He said that such programmes should
only target able-bodied unemployed citizens
seeking temporary relief and training to
return to the workforce.
"There are those people in society that
need financial help. I think the issue that
comes up over and over is that it needs to
be targeted, specific and managed and man-
aged well," Thomas said.
President of the Council of Evangelical
Churches of T&T Desmond Austin added
his voice to the call for reform of the pro-
grammes, while saying there was a need to
move away from "handouts" to ones that
encouraged innovation and creativity.
"We recognise that in our country where
we have a concept of handouts and that we
have a situation where many of our citizens
have become mendicants (beggars). We have
people that have become consumers rather
than producers," Austin said.
While they all agreed that the Government
needed to rethink some of its anti-crime
measures, they acknowledged that the Chris-
tian community also needed to increase its
efforts in addressing the issue.
Austin said, "For a very long time the
church has been accused of not doing any-
thing with regard to crime. The problem is
over the many years we have been working
in various spheres in society but on this
occasion we have brought together the
church and civil society and have hammered
out various ways that we can work together
to make a dent in this sort of activity."
Another crime-fighting solution, high-
lighted by the panellists, was a call by some
Christian leaders for Government to intro-
duce legislation controlling violent toys and
video games as well as to possibly censor
the broadcast of violent content by the
The call for censorship was strongly sup-
ported by panellist Dr Margaret Elcock,
founder of Family Focus Broadcasting Service
that operates radio station Issac 98.9 FM.
She called on publishers of daily newspapers
to try to refrain from publishing gruesome
crimes on the front pages.
She said, "It would be so nice if everybody
would decide for a week let us not print
the horrible news that is happening in our
nation and maybe the perpetrators might
realise that they are not the centre of atten-
The panellists also expressed their support
for the reintroduction of faith-based learning
programmes in schools coupled with ini-
tiatives geared towards anger management
and conflict resolution.
"Get it back inside of the schools. It is
the absence of that which contributes to
some of the problems that we have,"
Thomas, the organiser of the symposium,
He said the symposium sought to bring
Christian leaders together to discuss the
issue of crime and to find solutions to
"We accepted that there is the need for
a united voice to speak out against the acts
of corruption, unfairness, dishonesty and
everything else that is plaguing our nation,"
Thomas said, announcing that the leaders
had agreed to establish and fund a centre
which would specifically coordinate the
Christian community s efforts in the fight
Saying the participants in the conference
understood that the plans would not be an
overnight success, Thomas added, "We can-
not overemphasise that the problem is so
deep rooted in every sector that it would
be an error to think that with a three-day
symposium we will have all the solutions
and crime would disappear as of tomor-
He said another meeting would be held
within the next nine months to a year to
assess the progress on the 14 recommen-
dations and possible solutions agreed to
during this week s symposium.
"It is time we speak up. We cannot simply
afford to hear what is going on, recognise
that it is wrong, continue to complain and
do nothing about it," Thomas said.
Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
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