“GIVE us jobs and fix the inside of our apartments.”
This was among the list of demands made by east Port of Spain residents following Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s visit to the community yesterday afternoon.
The Prime Minister had visited the area last Thursday following the murders of six people in east Port of Spain and Laventille the day before. Among the victims were a 16-year-old pregnant girl, Rasheeda Gomez, and her 16-year-old cousin, Nyam Antoine.
Persad-Bissessar said through her office that she wanted to personally hear the issues of these communities herself and had promised yesterday’s visit after empathising with the parents of some of these murder victims.
The meeting which was held at the South East Port of Spain Secondary School was closed off to the media but when residents emerged they seemed very happy with the Prime Minister’s visit.
As Persad-Bissessar left some of the residents openly praised her for being there and some even began decrying their respective Members of Parliament.
Shouting loudly enough for anyone to hear they criticised their MPs who they claimed don’t visit them especially when things were “real stress” in their community.
“Them doh care about we,” one women was heard shouting as the Prime Minister walked out on to Nelson Street.
On Saturday (August 17) Opposition Leader, Dr Keith Rowley along with Port of Spain South MP Marlene Mc Donald had visited the community and held talks with residents during a walkabout.
Some of the young men who spoke to the Express following yesterday’s meeting said they had appealed to the Prime Minister to help stop “the police brutality.”
A young man said if he even dared step out his home with his hair uncombed he would be subject to police harassment and even arrest.
“Them police and them not serving no purpose. They always coming here and beating people children and dropping them off in places they know he could get attack,” continued the young man with a head of unruly hair.
Christine “Twiggy” Levia told reporters that the current stock of East Port of Spain apartments were in need of refurbishment on its inside.
“They only painting the building and dem on the outside but they not fixing inside at all,” she said.
Another resident who did not want to be named said the violence and murders were caused because of a lack of jobs.
“We eh want no Colour me Orange and CEPEP (Community-Based Environmental Protection and Enhancement Programme) but real work,” said a woman who did not want to be named.
“It have real people here with they passes (subjects),” continued another.
When asked however why couldn’t they simply leave the area and visit other parts of Trinidad for jobs , she replied that they were stigmatised for being from east Port of Spain and as a result no-one would hire them because of where they were from.