After his home was shot at on Tuesday night community activist and candiate in Monday's Local Government elections, Julius Edwards, says he is done with improving the Malabar area which he has been doing for close to three decades.
Edwards, who was a candidate under the United National Congress (UNC) banner for Malabar South, did not win in Monday's polls. He said prior to that he was heavily involved with the Malabar Football Club in the semi-pro league and with Tuesday's incident he was walking away from community activism because it was "like casting pearls before swine."
He said he was of the belief that the shooter was a youth who was promised payment for working election day and was not paid. He added it was explained to the youths that payment would be made by weekend but it was rumoured that he received payment but was not disbursing it.
Edwards said he first thought of quitting activism in 2013 when his brother, Garnet Edwards, was murdered at his home on March 8, again by those he were seeking to help. He said the killing of his brother was linked to the controversial LifeSport Programme that was disbanded amidst allegations of corruption.
His brother, he said, was killed after it was suggested he had LifeSport payments at his home and thieves came looking for it.
"Since then I wanted to quit but I believed in the youths more but now I will watch from a sideline because it don't make sense. These youths don't want anything good," Edwards said.
Asked what advice he had for the person who would replace him in guiding the youths away from criminality, he said: "Trust in God. If a seed don't want to grow it will not. Do your best and let the jails and the prisons deal with those who don't want to do any good. I reach my point, I gave my heart out"
Edwards recalled that he had just returned home around 9.30 pm Tuesday and was seated in his kitchen with a friend when he heard gunshots. He said he shouted to his friend "Is bullets" and dove to the ground. Edwards said since the shooting he was not contacted by the UNC leader and Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar or any of the executive members and that had him feeling dejected.
"I feeling like I get set up, like I not getting any support," Edwards said adding had his workers been paid then the shooting may not have happened.
The Guardian contacted Prakash Bharath, Edwards' regional manager regarding claims he was being owed payment for his campaign workers. Bharath said candidates were told they needed to raise their own funds and were given a fixed amount.
He said what happened to Edwards was a sad thing that was now in the hands of the police but Edwards may have spent more money than he should have.