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Warner sounds warning knell
The signboard read Essex Street. Seated beneath the signboard John John resident Carlton “Big Shines” Gibbons boasted he was the “sex therapist.” He was among scores of residents from neighbouring Africa and Beverly Hills who had come to listen to National Security Minister Jack Warner’s plan for eradicating crime. Another motive was improving the quality of life in the Laventille community. The venue was John John Basketball Court.
He had even prepared a note to read for Warner and fellow residents but he suddenly felt coy. Its theme was the elusive peace. An excerpt read: “We want peace. We don’t want peace for one year. We want peace for all the years.” The script even offered the Biblical solution. “Be our brother’s keeper. Avoid envy, hate and jealousy.” As the formalities unfolded, Warner spoke about the imminent plan for a new television programme to inform citizens about the law. He advised criminal elements to put down their guns or be prepared to fight law enforcement agents to the bitter end. He even sounded a warning knell.
“It is a fight the law enforcement will not lose.” The late so-called community leaders Mark Guerra and Sheldon “Crock” Scott were synonymous with John John. His neighbour Veronica ‘Pinky’ Hood insisted John John was a safe community.
Instead she cast the blame on Beverly Hills. “You see that apartment complex, half of it is empty. People are leaving all the time. Trucks does be passing with their furniture. After Tecia Henry (a pupil of St Rose RC) was murdered, that was a turning point for John John.”
Tecia’s portrait loomed on a Community Commandments billboard. The innocent was crying out for an end to anarchy and mayhem. But she did not bury her head in the sand like the proverbial ostrich. “The murders have to stop. Innocent people are getting killed.”
‘Blame parents for youth delinquency’
Opposite the street, Anthony Phillips was washing his white utility vehicle. He admitted the spate of crime and murders made him “fearful.” “Yes. There is the constant fear that any number could play. But if I let that dictate my path, I won’t get anything done. I have to go with God.” Without mincing words, he cast the blame for youth delinquency on parents.
“Children are not growing up with any sense of right and wrong. People are not taking the time to instill values like honesty and integrity in their children.” In the background, fierce-looking males sporting Taliban-styled headties and Muslim garb were making their way to the meeting. Natalie enjoyed brisk fast food sales. Groups of happy children played and romped on the pavilion. At a glance about 100 plaits sprouted from a woman’s head.
She said, “Why dey (government authorities) eh run some money. Doh fool we when all yuh come in here.” Random checks with residents revealed they felt Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar had neglected them. “Tell Kamla come to John John. My PM is Eric Williams,” said one gaudily-dressed woman. Shrugging his shoulders, a lawman said, “When we gone it’s back to target practice.”
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