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Warner blames PNM for Laventille’s plight
Minister of National Security Jack Warner has distanced the People’s Partnership from the volatile crime situation in Gonzales and Laventille, saying it did not occur overnight. Instead he blamed the Opposition People’s National Movement for the plight of the communities, which, he said, were terrified and were not just prisoners but “sitting ducks.” However, Warner said he was committed to the reduction of crime in the affected communities and called on residents to partner with the police to apprehend the criminals.
In delivering the feature address at the opening of the Gonzales Joint Community Centre yesterday, Warner had statistics from the Office of Law Enforcement Policy (OLEP) and the Making Life Important (MLI) programmes. He described the documents as “a sad tale of neglect” that residents had suffered over the past decade. He said: “My friends, that is what the past government did to you. For decades the PNM had left you socially disadvantaged.
“They gave you to eat the bread that the devil kneaded and that is why we are where we are today. They have left you to catch your tails.” According to a survey done in Gonzales, Warner said, the average household income was $3,335 a month while most people worked for close to $1,000 a month. “What this tells us is that too many families in this community are living on very meagre incomes.
“Many are on the United Nations Development Programme benchmark poverty line and many are living below the line. “Many of these persons are employed in unskilled manual jobs. Many are unemployed,” Warner said. He said the survey showed many residents lacked academic qualifications and job skills, leaving them at a disadvantage.
He also provided details from a document produced by the Laventille Working Group in 2003, which stated 70 per cent of the Laventille population were not continously employed or were under-employed or unemployed. He added: “But, as I said, this is not an overnight situation and the document showed that people, particularly young people, were not being trained. “They were going into the job market without training and without skills. They were ending up in dead-end jobs, jobs that might help to make the ends meet from one day to the next but jobs with no future for betterment.”
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