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A child cries out for love

Published: 
Friday, June 15, 2018
Gunmen keep Mango Rose residents indoors
Residents of Mango Rose, Port-of-Spain, voice their concerns during a police town meeting in the area on Wednesday. PICTURE KERWIN PIERRE

Children wanting to be children cannot enjoy their childhood because they are being watched over by men holding guns.

This was the disheartening revelation made by a 13-year-old girl at Wednesday night’s T&T Police Service town meeting at the Mango Rose Community Centre in Port-of-Spain.

The little girl, who took to the microphone during the open floor segment, said the children in the community “need some kind of love in Mango Rose.”

“As a child, I do not like what is going on in Mango Rose. We could be in the yard and men sneaking up in the building watching over we, the children, with guns and shooting over,” she said.

“The boys playing football and they saying they ‘fraid they break glass and shooting over them. We in the court they come shooting at us.”

A businessman, who after earning an associate degree in Culinary Arts, said he started his own business, said many times he is confronted by gunmen either when leaving very early on mornings or arriving home late at nights.

He called for regular police patrols in the area, especially at nights, in a bid to keep the “normal and hard-working residents safe.”

Acting Snr Supt of the Port-of-Spain Division Floris Hodge-Griffith, in an immediate response, said her heart breaks to see people crying out to live and to go about their lives like normal people. She, however, added that whilst regular police patrols were not guaranteed “we have to find a way that the people can live.”

“I was here some time ago when there was shooting and it was a hell of an experience, very disheartening, but we are doing our part and would like to do more to ensure that the youth have a better future.”

Hodge-Griffith said she believes the rise in gangs and gang shootings stemmed from a “level of ignorance.” She told the story of a recent walk in a crime hotspot where she questioned why the youths were turning to a life of gangs and guns.

She said she was given no reason and instead suggested to their parents that if they wanted to live that kind of life, that donor cards should be signed to give permission for the donation of their respective organs when they are killed.

“I told them I will tell their parents that they should sign cards to be an organ donor because when you go to the mortuary and to forensics you see strong contributors to the progress of this country lie down flat We just throwing away blood. Blood running down the streets of POS like nothing,” she added.

The residents also called for the re-introduction of the Mango Rose Police Youth Club, saying they are afraid to go to the existing police youth club on Nelson Street as their lives are threatened by those residents.

The senior police officers made it clear that they would not encourage segregation and gang rivalry by implementing a youth club so close by but added that they will provide a security escort for those interested to attend.

The officers explained that through this it can foster unity between both sides.

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