Solving the crime problems in the Port of Spain South constituency requires a sensitive approach that must be firm and focused, Opposition leader Dr Keith Rowley said yesterday.
Rowley, who walked along the Duncan and Queen Street Housing Development Corporation (HDC) developments yesterday morning, spoke with residents, together with Opposition MP for the area Marlene McDonald.
He described the situation as “a different kind of crime that is happening in the area” and said it was distressing that people are being evicted from their homes in an unauthorised manner.
“The situation really is getting worse and needs the proper response from the State. There are overall security problems. There are social problems, with respect to amenities and opportunities, and the State, by way of the Government’s initiatives, is required to acknowledge that these problems exist, see what the nature of the problem is and see what solutions can be advanced.
“And that is the nature of the discussions with the Prime Minister (Kamla Persad-Bissessar on Friday night). So there are two sets of citizens: there are those who are victims and there are those who are perpetrators of crime against the victims, and the Government needs to look at both sides of it and address the situation,” he reasoned.
Rowley said he gave the Prime Minister the assurance there will be no political obstacle with coming up with the solutions to the problems, and so the walkabout was a prelude to another meeting with her that is scheduled for Thursday afternoon.
“This walk allows me to hear first hand from the people who are affected by what they are experiencing because you can’t just prescribe solutions because some of these problems are not yesterday’s problems. Some of them are problems that stem from the home from the environment, from the allocations, from the opportunities,” Rowley said.
He said the HDC complex was a high-density area, and so there were certain things missing because of the nature of the structures, many of which are old and in need of upgrades.
McDonald told the Sunday Express what was taking place on Duncan Street was really a small group bringing disrepute to the area.
“What has happened is this new phenomena where they are taking the same bad habits from up in Canada by Picton. Up there, these bad boys go and tell a family, ‘Get out and I am giving you two days to move out.’
“They bring it down here now to Duncan Street where they knock on the door and say, ‘Move in 24 hours or else I will kill you,’ and this is why I spoke with Minister of Housing Dr Roodal Moonilal.”
She said he met with the security people and HDC managing director Jearlean John last week, and they were moving to deal with the problem.