The Sea Lots West Community Impact and Home Work Centre was left damaged during a police raid on Saturday night and residents are labelling it as a provocation by the police.
Since the deadly drive-by shooting at Pioneer Drive on February 2, in which two people were killed and eight others left wounded, residents said the area had been very tense.
In this latest incident, at about 10 pm, two vehicles with police officers reportedly went the community centre where they broke down parts of the ceiling, doors and plumbing fixtures.
The officers conducted their search for over an hour but had a lot of opposition by scores of residents who made their way to the centre and voiced their disgust over the officers’ behaviour.
The police officers turned up empty handed as they found no guns or drugs.
One resident, who spoke to the Guardian Media under strict anonymity yesterday during a tour of the centre, showed the damage that he said would take thousands of dollars to repair.
“While we understand that the police have their jobs to do we are objecting to the manner in which they are doing it.
“They are coming in here and provoking us. Imagine one of the officers giving us an Islamic greeting,” the resident said.
The resident strongly believes that because they were attacked, police officers were allegedly using the situation to take advantage of them.
“Besides the police officers who are standing guard at the corner, and at points close by there are the officers from other units coming in here and harassing us. Imagine our children and youths in the area come here to the centre to use it for homework and other classes like leather craft work, etc. At least three times a week the children come here to learn, to educate themselves,” the resident said.
Asked how the area has been since the deadly drive-by shooting, the resident said: “Real tense…we are uneasy. Whilst we appreciate police officers patrolling frequently and parking up to protect us we feel that some of the police coming in here linked directly with the Muslims and we feel that any day any one of us can be taken and dropped off in enemy territory to be killed and that is the reality of it,” the resident added.
According to a police source, who wished not to be identified, crime and gun violence escalated over the past three weeks after the release of a well-known individual from John John, who police said, was a high ranking member of the Muslims Gang.
Police said they were feverishly working on intelligence and will be “flushing out the gangs throughout T&T, not just in the Port-of-Spain areas.