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'Govt supporters unhappy'

By Keino Swamber keino.swamber@trinidadexpress.com

MANY among the Government's supporters are becoming angry about the fact that Laventille and other "Afro enclaves" are getting more than a fair share of the available social resources.

The finding is made by Prof Selwyn Ryan who chaired a committee, appointed in December 2011 by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and her Cabinet, to enquire into the root causes of criminality in the country. The committee included vice-chairman Dr Indira Rampersad and members Prof Patricia Mohammed, Dr Lennox Bernard and Dr Majorie Thorpe.

In their report tabled in Parliament on Friday by Persad-Bissessar, Ryan said whatever the outcome of the gang wars in Laventille, Sea Lots and elsewhere, the problems faced by young blacks are particularly serious and many of them say they are resigned to early death.

"As is said in Jamaica by some, 'we ready fi dead'," Ryan said.

"They are indeed caught in a trap from which escape seems difficult. They are more than 'at risk'. They are as endangered as the turtles of Grand Riviere, Toco.

"The society is divided as to what should or could be done with the citizens of the 'hotspots'. Some, and they include many from the black middle class, are critical of the young and allegedly lazy black males and the feral young women who believe they are entitled to a State-provided handout for mother and child."

Ryan said these voices are those of the Afro-pessimists who say that Laventille is "unredeemable" and should be left to its own devices.

"If we do, however, the society, already porous and at risk, might in time collapse as pressure is applied from the periphery and from within."

In relation to the gangs who, he said, are no longer ghetto bound as they once were, Ryan said many are no longer prepared to merely extract or coerce resources from mainstream individuals and firms in the form of "taxes", but also to seek a share of political power either openly or clandestinely.

He said the gangs, fiscally wealthy as they are and fiscally challenged as some of their political prey, buy or bribe critical elites in the security services, the media, the justice systems, political parties and pressure groups.

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