By Laurel Williams Saturday, January 11 2014
THUGS spray-painted obscene warnings to the police, informants and residents on two buildings in a Couva housing development leaving those who live in the community fearful of an attack.
It is believed the graffiti threats are an attempt by thugs to extort money from contractors hired by the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) to refurbish apartment buildings at the Couva Housing Development in Point Lisas.
On Thursday morning, residents of Annabelle Street woke up to discover the walls of Buildings 11 and 12 had been spray-painted with threats.
The ominous writings were in capital letters and read: “Bullet 4 informers”, “Getto youth have 2 eat”, “F**k D law, bada than dem” and “F**k Red Head”.
Reports are “Red Head” is a nickname for a contractor.
Residents said a week ago, on January 3, a gunman opened fire on a work crew and one of the bullets grazed a six-year-old girl who yesterday said she was scared to go outdoors. It is reported relatives were doing domestic chores in the living room when they heard what sounded like fireworks at around midday.
As the relatives walked past the front door, with the girl following them, they realised the sound was not fireworks but a gunman opening fire in the direction of a work crew at the buildings.
“They saw bullets coming in and when the child bawled out, they saw her bleeding from the right ear. She was by the door about to go out to see the ‘fireworks’. It passed near her mom’s belly,” a relative said yesterday. “We are fearful for our lives. Normally I would leave home and go for a lime out the road. I am not doing that again because I am worried about what could happen here,” said the relative.
The girl, a first year primary school student, was treated and discharged at the Couva Health Facility. Yesterday, the girl told Newsday she was very scared to play in the yard. Police are yet to arrest anyone for the incident.
A worker said the thugs had threatened crews at the building sites. “They are not interested in work but rather it is about them getting money without working. Some of the youths said they want to eat ah food and they want a building. We have 27 youths employed from the housing scheme. On Friday, they threatened the supervisor to stop work. We told them we are not going that way and the workers are working and now this is what we came and saw,” the worker said of the graffiti warning.
HDC employed a contractor to refurbish nine buildings along Annabelle Street, carrying out landscaping, plumbing, electrical and masonry works.
Work began last month and due to the Christmas holidays stopped on December 20 and resumed on January 2, said an official from the contracting firm and as such scaffolding was left on the buildings’ compound.
The vandals used the scaffolding to deface Buildings 11 and 12 sometime between 8.30 pm, on Wednesday, and 1 am on Thursday, said the official. He added the walls were painted a few days ago and now have to be repainted.
“The residents welcome the change, the upliftment is great for the buildings because for maybe 20 years this had not been done. Residents who have been here for the past 20 years appreciate what HDC has been doing and they want the work to finish,” said a resident.
Police officers have been posted at the buildings since the vandalism but residents expressed concerns about what could happen when the refurbishment works are completed within its scheduled four-month period.
“We do not know what would happen then. Things never used to be so. Maybe the police should remain in the area after the work is completed,” suggested a resident. HDC managing director Jearlean John told Newsday work on the buildings continue and the defaced walls are being repainted. She noted the refurbishment is being done to keep the facilities clean and neat so occupants can live in dignity.
“Some people are looking for money and do not want to work. We cannot tolerate that type of behaviour. The work being done is essential for the entire community,” she said.