NATIONAL SECURITY Minister Jack Warner told John John and Laventille gang members and leaders to "put down the gun and rejoin society or it will be a fight to the finish".
Warner was the featured speaker last night in an anti-crime initiative held at a basketball court in John John.
There were four murders in Beverly Hills, John John, last weekend, including a gun attack against members of the media covering the murder scene.
In Laventille, there had been even more murders, including that of two relatives of a currently-incarcerated gang leader.
To almost everyone's surprise, one John John young man named Kevin Thomas spoke frankly as he declared to the scores of police, regiment and Government officials present that their plan for Laventille will not work unless the yearning for peace was in the hearts of some of the people living in the community.
"I am telling allyuh big man thing," he said as he stood before Warner and Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams.
"It not going to work because at the end of the day a man is just a man, especially if he is not comfortable with he area," said Thomas.
He painted a picture that three months from now some of the young men in his community would leave their homes to play a game of football nearby and there would be someone there with a gun waiting to shoot someone.
"We does have to defend ourselves," he said.
"We respect the law, you know, but all I am saying is that a man is just a man and on top of that they painting us all as criminals. But what I want to know is which police living next to me to know that I is a criminal ... allyuh could answer that?," he asked.
In turn, Warner slammed those who condemned Laventille.
He especially chided defence attorneys who he claimed made a living from crime as he accused them of not wanting crime to stop as it would be detrimental to their livelihood.
Warner promised that roads in the community would be widened to allow the police to better patrol those areas and "the criminals cannot run and hide".
"We don't care if you don't vote for us because at the end of the day Laventille is a part of Trinidad," said Warner.
"There is no justice in being shot at because shooting back does not solve anything, because it is up to everyone of you to tell us what is going on in your community and, I promise, we will take back Laventille. We will!" said the fiery-sounding minister.