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MP: Criminals are migrating to Central
Criminals from Port-of-Spain and other urban areas come to certain areas in Orange Field, Chase Village, Chaguanas, where they resettle for a period and contribute to gang activity in the district, says Couva North MP Ramona Ramdial. “All the gangs in the country are interconnected. Their networking on the ground is very strong,” she said. Ramdial was responding to questions from the T&T Guardian about yesterday’s shootout in an area of the Orange Field Road, called “The Wall”.
Ramdial identified other crime areas in her constituency like Wyabi, Waterloo and Brickfield. “I am aware of gang activity in Couva North,” she said. She said she worked closely with Central Division head, Senior Supt Johnnie Abraham, in fighting crime in the area. “Between 2012 and 2013 we formed a team, spearheaded by Abraham, and established a series of community police groups throughout Couva North.”
Ramdial said she had also spoken to National Security Minister Gary Griffith about the high crime rate in her constituency as well as acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams. The T&T Guardian visited the scene of the shootout yesterday and found a ray of hope amidst the reports of violence, teen pregnancies and drug addiction. A stone’s throw from “The Wall”, at the corner of Mungal Street, another notorious drugs area, stood the Life Hope Centre.
Office manager Gweneth Stuart and Seventh-Day Adventist pastor Cliff Shameerudeen were busy at work. About 20 young children visit the centre every afternoon from Monday to Thursday for help with their homework. “We are trying to work with them at a tender age. We teach them about honesty, respecting other people’s property and bullying,” Stuart said. Young people and parents, from 16 to 60, are also given free computer literacy courses to help them get better jobs, she added.
Shameerudeen said he knew of two schoolgirls who were pregnant and said young people came to the centre daily asking for counselling. “We are making a difference. We are now beginning to reach those more at risk,” Stuart said. The centre, set up in the area a year ago, is beginning to be a familiar and trusted place. The centre has hosted a child protection workshop in Brickfield and parenting and self-esteem sessions for children at the office.