Update - The Office of the Prime Minister issued a statement today advising that the meeting between Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and residents of East Port of Spain, will be closed to the media. According to the statement, when Persad-Bissessar responds to the concerns of the residents, the media will be invited to attend the meeting. The meeting is set for 1.30p.m at the South East Port of Spain Secondary School, Nelson Street, Port of Spain.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has vowed to crack down on crime on east Port of Spain and, in keeping with her promise, will return to the area today to meet with the people.
According to a release from the Office of the Prime Minister, Persad-Bissessar said the killings must not continue and every effort will be made to deal with this pressing situation.
“I think it is important that I return to east Port of Spain to listen to the complaints and to see what we as a Government can do to assist,” stated Persad-Bissessar.
“My last visit was very emotional as it came just days after several teenagers were killed. This cannot continue, and we must find a way to deal with it very effectively. I am hopeful that at the end of this meeting, some solutions can be offered to the residents there,” she added.
Last Thursday, Persad-Bissessar visited Duncan Street, Port of Spain, where she met the families of young teenagers, including a pregnant 16-year-old, who were recently murdered in the area.
The Prime Minister wept and assured them crime would be dealt with. She disclosed that a Housing Development Corporation (HDC) building will be used to establish a police/army post, and a centre outfitted with computers will also be established in the area for the children.
The release stated that Persad-Bissessar will meet the residents today at 1.30 p.m at the South-East Port of Spain Secondary School on Nelson Street.
Persad-Bissessar will be accompanied by Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, National Security Minister Emmanuel George, Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Rodger Samuel and other officials.
The release noted that when the Prime Minister visited Duncan Street last week, she met with mostly women, who told her they were experiencing numerous problems in the area, the main one being gang warfare among the youths in east Port of Spain which took the life of a pregnant girl who was sleeping in her bed.
The residents, stated the release, listed several complaints:
1. Unemployment was too high among the youths; 2. Too many dropouts from the school system; 3. Mothers unable to care for their children when they go to work; 4. Drugs and gambling on the streets and in the HDC Plannings; 5. Armed outsiders lurking in their area at night; 6. Dilapidated condition of the HDC apartments in east Port of Spain.
According to the release, residents themselves offered solutions to Persad-Bissessar for the crime fight.
Persad-Bissessar’s meeting with the people of east Port of Spain comes on the eve of her meeting with Opposition Leader Keith Rowley and his team tomorrow at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s.
Last Friday, at his request, Persad-Bissessar and Rowley met at the Diplomatic Centre and discussed the crime issue.