$2.5M to ‘fix’ Laventille
By Janelle De Souza Wednesday, September 26 2012
Starting this week, work should begin to restore sporting facilities in several areas of Laventille at a cost of $2.5 million.
Areas would include St Paul’s Street Sporting Facility at $547,000, John John Basketball Court at $368,000 and the Beverly Hills Recreation Ground at $737,000.
National Security Minister Jack Warner announced the plan last night during a Laventille Community Renewal Meeting at Mango Rose, east Port-of-Spain. The minister said the refurbishment project would provide employment opportunities for residents, as well as allow them to have pride in themselves for helping to restore their community. Warner also said the meeting was an attempt to bond with the people of Laventille, as well as to get their views with respect to their needs and the fight against crime.
“Fighting crime is not the work of the police only. It is not the work of the court and teachers and parents only. Fighting crime is the responsibility of all us. To succeed therefore, it has to be based on our collective effort and therefore, meetings like this one are an attempt to bridge that gap between the people and the police. All in an effort to bring crime down,” Warner stated.
He also said parents could not abdicate their role and pretend not to know what their children are doing. Proper parenting, he argued, is an important part of keeping children out of trouble.
Warner noted there were no fast food outlets or banks in the area. He said he could not ask people to go into Laventille if he did not demonstrate that there was nothing to fear. Therefore, he repeated his pledge to begin working in the area of Beverly Hills one or two days a week, beginning from November 4. He said the ministry was looking into the refurbishment of apartments two and three of Building 9 to house a branch of the Ministry of National Security. If not, he may consider constructing a building or refurbishing a container
“If it cost $5 million and one life is saved, the cost is meaningless. What is important is what value it brings to the community. Will it help the community? Would people feel more secure? That is what is important,” said Warner.
Mango Rose residents brought up issues such as the need for youth centres, unemployment, and the refurbishment of sports facilities. Warner promised to look into their concerns and promised that, in time, all issues raised would be addressed.
He told residents a meeting was scheduled for today at 10 am, at the insistence of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, to discuss a programme of delivery.
He promised to return with Acting Commissioner of Police, Stephen Williams, and Port-of-Spain South MP, Marlene Mc Donald, in a timely manner, to organise a small committee made up of members of the various communities, to work on the issues raised.
Warner reiterated he would not speak to gang leaders or make any deals with them, but said they were “free to put down their arms.” He said the ministry would do its best to “bring them back to their senses” or have them face the penalties.
“All the things we are doing, let no one believe it’s because the police is soft, or Jack Warner is soft. We have said again and again, that we shall give carrots where carrots can be given, but at the end of the day, if there are those who refuse to take advice, to take counsel, I said before, it would be a fighting finish, and such a fight, neither the police nor the government would lose,” he said.