This is the first part of a series on the court system in Trinidad and Tobago and how it works. The court system has three levels. There is:
• the Magistrates’ Court—the first level;
Duncan Street, Port-of-Spain, residents yesterday admitted to be living in fear over what they believe will be the continued escalation of gang warfare in east Port-of-Spain, in the wake of the execution of two men on their doorsteps on Monday. Irate residents said they lived in fear because gang warfare was to blame for the numerous deaths which have occurred in the community in recent months and they believe it will not let up now.
They claimed the warring between rival gangs was so bad that they could not walk past Queen Street or they may be looking for their deaths. Yesterday, when a T&T Guardian team visited the area, residents were scarce from George to Duncan Street. “We getting kill like cockroach. Is flit and you drop down. Around here is a ghost town by five,” one resident, who did not want to be named, said.
He added: “That is no way to live in this place. Them (ministers and others) secure. The government and parenting, that is what is needed. All who get kill wasn’t criminal. It had innocent people that get kill. “Look at the blind man...but he could also hear and talk. Police seeing them on camera and what sense it make when they can’t use it in court? They wasting taxpayers’ money. They need to make a law like in Texas where we have a right to bear arms.”
Another resident said: “Is deceit and deception. All skin teeth is not a grin. “The only thing we worry about down here is a stray bullet. The police not doing their job and it have gang, police on both sides. Griffith have a lot of work to do.” He added: “Ask them where the guns coming from? New Year’s was new guns I hearing... every morning, every day. Who have control of these places for the guns to come in? Clean up there. A fish don’t rotten from the tail, is the head.”
The resident said many of the youths in the community were unemployed and had no work during the Christmas season. “They need to have programmes to generate money,” he added. Police investigators said yesterday gangs from Trou Macaque, Nelson Street and Beetham had been warring for months but it escalated recently after the killing of David “Jah David” Andrews of the the G-Unit gang.
Meanwhile, all leave for police officers was yesterday pulled until further notice to deal with the recent surge in murders. Yesterday, officers from every station received notices from DCP of Operations, Earl Gonzales, who sent message to all stations around 3.30 pm. Up to late yesterday, sergeants at the various stations were sending messages to all officers who had applied for vacation leave that it would be cancelled until further notice.
In a phone interview yesterday, assistant commissioner of crime Glen Hackett confirmed that cancellation of leave was to allow the police to respond to the surge in murders. He said: “We are looking at what were the factors causing the situation and the analytical work. “We have done some evaluation and we have placed some initiatives on the table to deal with the situation as it is to prevent any further progression with respect to violent crimes and murder.”
Hackett said the police executive still had to have discussions with the Police Service Social and Welfare Association and “we hope they are eager to deal with the situation and we won’t have any disagreement.” Contacted yesterday, members of the association refused to comment on the issue, adding it will hold a press conference tomorrow to deal with it.
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