The establishment of a Police Post at one of the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) units on Duncan Street, Port of Spain does not make sense, says Opposition MP Marlene McDonald.
Following a spate of killings in the area, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, National Security Minister Emmanuel George, Housing Minister Roodal Moonilal and security officials visited Duncan Street last week and announced that a police post will be set up in one of the HDC’s three-storey buildings.
Prime Minister, in response to requests from the residents for a place for their children to spend time, also said that a homework centre will also be established in the building.
Speaking at a news conference at the Opposition’s office, Port of Spain, McDonald, the MP for Port of Spain South, said this measure does not make sense.
McDonald said what was needed is the reimplementation of police posts at Mango Rose and Plaisance Terrace in John John.
She said when the People’s Partnership Government entered office, these posts, which brought “calm” to a number of communities, were removed.
McDonald said she had raised the issue with former National Security ministers John Sandy and Jack Warner.
She said former commissioner of police Dwayne Gibbs, at a meeting with Warner and other officials at the Mango Rose community centre, had said that the police posts were not in keeping with 21st century policing and instead joint patrols and a visible police presence in the areas on foot and bicycles were the way to go.
“We never saw the police, we never saw the bicycles and we never saw the joint police patrols,” said McDonald.
She added that during her tenure in the PNM government from 2007 to 2010 she proposed a number of areas in the communities for homework and community centres to be established, none of which were pursued by the People’s Partnership Government.
While McDonald was critical of a police unit being established in Duncan Street, she lauded the efforts of the police for their crackdown exercise on Sunday, when 90 people were arrested.
She pointed out this was an exercise to ensure that HDC units were being occupied by legitimate tenants.
“The same phenomenon that happened, where I should say some miscreants in the community moved into those apartments and put out law-abiding citizens, the same thing happened on Duncan Street,” she said.
This intervention, she said, was welcomed by the people from the community.
“There was a lady there who was put out from her house and now she’s living in about three different homes, tonight here, tomorrow night there and etc, and I know that they welcome the intervention,” said McDonald.
With respect to a meeting between Persad-Bissessar and Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley on Thursday to discuss crime, McDonald said there was a “new synergy” taking place and both sides are open to working together in the crime fight.
Questioned on Warner’s announcement that the Independent Liberal Party will contest all seats in the local government elections, McDonald responded: “Bring it on, we can take on anyone.”