THE 200-metre span that is East Port of Spain is the “most violent” location in the country and possibly the Caribbean region when it comes to murders, acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams has said.
Williams made the statement yesterday as he spoke with the Sunday Express during the Trinidad and Tobago Police Youth Club Organisation’s sports and family day at the Police Training Academy in St James.
Within the 200-metre span that is East Port of Spain, there have been 138 murders recorded over the past four years, Williams said.
Among the latest murdered victims were Nyam Antoine, 16, and his pregnant cousin Rasheeda Gomez, 16, both killed in separate incidents near Duncan Street in East Port of Spain on Wednesday.
“What you have in the context of East Port of Spain is what we refer to in criminology as a criminogenic area, an area where you have seen over time a consistent existence of crime,” Williams said.
“That area that we are describing, Nelson (Street), Duncan (Street), extending across to St Paul Street, Mango Rose, that area, a 200-metre radius spread has had 138 murders in four years. It is the most violent location in Trinidad and Tobago, and maybe a very competing violent location for the highest level of murders in the Caribbean,” he said.
“So that is the extent of how violent that area is. Now, when you speak about that, people don’t appreciate the truth. The data is there in relation to the number of murders occurring right in that small area,” Williams said.
Williams said in order to correct the situation, more than simply “policing” was needed.
“What we have to do is not just look at the policing of the area, we have to look at how can we improve the entire area from a social perspective,” Williams said.
“Crime is one feature in the social domain; there are so many other key features of the social domain that must be addressed. We are now going beyond what is our normal area of focus, and that is why you would find so much emphasis is being placed by the Police Service on influencing the direction of young people,” he said.
Williams said the Police Service, through initiatives such as youth clubs, was trying to positively impact the lives of young people, “so that if we can shape them, we can then mould that future generation of adults”.
He said the thrust is to create “productive model citizens”.
“It is a tough task but it is not one which is not achievable. It is only achievable by working with everyone coming together,” he said.
Williams said volunteers were needed to lend a hand to help in transforming the area.
He lauded corporate Trinidad and Tobago for sponsoring the youth clubs.
At the People’s National Movement’s (PNM) general council meeting in Balisier House, Port of Spain, yesterday, PNM public relations officer Senator Faris Al-Rawi said the increase in crime in East Port of Spain was due, in part, to the disbanding of the Special Anti-Crime Unit of Trinidad and Tobago (SAUTT) by the People’s Partnership administration.
Chairman of the PNM Franklin Khan also said the party’s general council reaffirmed its support to political leader Dr Keith Rowley.
Within recent times, both Port of Spain Mayor Louis Lee Sing and Senator Pennelope Beckles have stated an intention to challenge Rowley for leadership of the party during the party’s next internal elections.