Since Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar declared a state of emergency on August 21, exactly 23 days ago, there have been no reported murders in Laventille up to late yesterday. In fact, Port-of-Spain and environs, including Beetham Gardens, Sea Lots and Nelson Street, areas seen as the biggest "hot spots" in the country, have been quiet over the past few weeks. Since the emergency was instituted there have been ten recorded murders, all of which have been outside Port-of-Spain and environs.
According to some residents, the streets were so quiet one "can hear a pin drop." Janelle Richards, 33, who has lived on Duncan Street, Port-of-Spain, all her life, said all she has heard since the state of emergency began has been silence.
She said: "Before the curfew, I would lie on my bed and all I hearing is gunshots. Every night is gunshots, people bawling and cars speeding off. "I felt eventually it would have been empty shells of buildings and no people to live in them." Richards said though liming and laughter could be heard during the day and evening hours, the area would sink into a piercing silence just before the curfew began. This year began with 14 reported murders in Laventille and Port-of-Spain South in January alone. There were six reported in February, 11 in March, nine in April, seven in May, seven in June. It hiked to 13 in July. Eight murders were recorded in August before the emergency was declared.
A Trou Macaque resident, identified only as Capania, said things had become a lot quieter in her area.
She said there was not as much lawless activity. "Normally you can see these boys walking around from early in the morning with guns tucked in their waist. Now they wouldn't do that," said Capania. She noted that for her the change did not seem to affect the community drastically. However, she noted the major change was the silence in the community from 11 o'clock nightly.