Mt Lambert is a quiet, middle-class and traditionally family-oriented community that is slowly becoming commercialised.
Small mom and pop businesses, mini-marts, parlours, and bakeries in the community have in some instances given way aggressively to the establishment of bars, and nighttime entertainment which attract outsiders, and some criminal elements. Residents like to think that the crime committed in their community is committed by outsiders.
Large scale tenant buildings have mushroomed in the landscape, attracting an influx of businesses owned/operated by people who are not originally from the area, competing with traditional farmers for land space.
Generations of residents had left Mt Lambert, migrated, and some had returned to the community.
Neighbourhood watch group Residents of Mt Lambert president Sharla Alexander-Dolabaille said crime had gone down an average of 32 per cent since the group shared intelligence with the members of the Barataria Police Station regarding criminal activity and were also working in tandem with the St Joseph and San Juan Police Stations.
When people hear the word "Bangladesh" with its cluster of weather-beaten galvanise and wooden houses, at Farm Road, Curepe, they associate the area with squalor and poverty, a depressed, marginalised and crime-infested area, described as the Laventille of the East-West corridor.
Bangladesh was targeted as a "hot spot" area with search and seizure exercises conducted during a state of emergency in 2011.
Residents are stigmatised, work is difficult to find in the area, and like some Laventille and Beetham residents, they shy away from listing where they live to better their chances of employment.
Many residents feel they have been used politically and neglected by MPs past and present.
Guardian Media visited the areas on Thursday to hear what the residents had to say about the upcoming Budget on October 7.
1: What does a national Budget read out by the Government mean to you?
2: What are you experiencing living in the Mt Lambert community that you would like to change or improve?
3: What would you like to see in the Budget to work for your household and to improve your standard of living?
It means we live in a democratic society where although there is no public consultation, we as citizens are respected as people. The Budget is read in a public setting and citizens have free access to the budget.
I am directly affected by flooding and I would like to see an improvement in infrastructure which will either decrease or eliminate flooding.
As a nation our food import bill is high, we need to adopt an approach that will allow us to be self-sustaining. We need to make an investment in human capital, technology and financial resources to expand the agricultural sector. An increased investment in the agricultural sector will assist in reducing the household food bill.
A national Budget points to money allocated to various ministries for spending through the fiscal year. In my community of Mt Lambert, I wish to see a reduction in crime and lawlessness. Additionally, I wish to see greater infrastructural development and a better insect vector control. A reduction in food prices and utilities and also an increase in disability benefits.
A budget is a plan for the financial years. People on a limited or fixed income may have to purchase cheaper household alternatives to suit their income. One solution is to be more self-sufficient like plant a kitchen garden so you won't have to purchase so much food.
I would like to see as part of the Budget an interest group like a Housewives Association. This is for people who were not pleased with certain prices to come together, not to protest, but to petition and raise consumer awareness.
I would also like to see the youths in the community get jobs, put in place a centre like the Mt Lambert Community Centre where they can be involved in welding and auto mechanics.
Upliftment groups should be formed for the youths to keep them away from drugs and idleness.
A stipend should be paid to the youths while they are being trained. Funds should be allocated in the budget for this.
Candice Lee Edwards:
When the Budget is read out, I prefer to take a look at it in the newspapers to get a more detailed understanding because sometimes we miss the fine print.
We can calculate the full impact and revise it in its entirety. More security is needed, more neighbours should come on board with a neighbourhood watch, I am in such a group called Residents of Mt Lambert.
Crime is the main issue, the community is concerned lately seeing a lot of young boys coming from Mt Hope and environs doing mischievous acts.
I had to chase away four youths from tampering with a vehicle, we need more programmes in the community to reduce crime.
If left unchecked these "petty" crimes will turn into bigger crimes, its called the broken windows theory and was a success in reducing crime in New York considerably in the 1990s under Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
The cost of food is high, some of the locally manufactured products that are exported are sold cheaper outside, this is not beneficial to the average Trinidadian.
Education is of paramount importance, they should be aiming to get children to tertiary level education. This means making GATE more readily available. Value will be added to lives and will not eliminate crime, but help reduce it.
Crime affects us in more ways than you can imagine. I had intended to open three businesses, but when I saw in the media small businesses being attacked and vulnerable to criminal activities, it prevents us from creating employment in the community.
It had a very devastating, negative effect especially for those outside who want to come in and invest.
We found things have improved a little bit, but again the community has to take part in the process, not vigilante groups or anything like that, enhanced security, mingling with each other, giving of service of each other, grouping together by using social media and becoming more organised.
The budget should really go deep into dealing with the root of the problem of crime, and what is causing it.
Implement a psychological approach and counselling in how to bring those communities together rather than being afraid of each other.
It is better to spend money on prevention than cure.
The Budget gives me foresight into what the Government is going to spend. In my experience, it is not what it seems, because most times the Government overspends. The sections of society like us that need the money do not get it. All governments past and present do us what they want.
We need police patrols in the community. Kids are out of control. It's like Laventille and it seems that we are beyond reform.
Given the proper attention, things can change.
It's only CEPEP work here in Bangladesh. We are not employable outside. We are stigmatised. The Budget means very little. Ongoing problems are stealing and alcoholism.
I have no ideas what can be done to help, but Deyalsingh and Volney wasted our time.
No, the Budget makes no difference to us. We are part of St Joseph, a marginal seat, we are the ghetto here. Deyalsingh used us and forgot us. We need proper representation because we are forgotten.
I believe that more infrastructure, more facilities and more opportunities can change Bangladesh.