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Gangsters ‘dial’ out of crime

By NALINEE SEELAL Friday, October 24 2008

click on pic to zoom in

Are you a gangster? Dial 625-4932 or 623-8440 to get out of your life of crime.

That’s the appeal of Acting Commissioner of Police James Philbert who, yesterday, announced that two hotlines have been set up for members of gangs to call if they want to surrender and get help to turn around their lives.

The two numbers are the direct lines to the offices of Acting Deputy Police Commissioner Gilbert Reyes and Assistant Police Commissioner, Crime, Raymond Craig who are based at the Police Administration Building, corner of Sackville and Edward Streets, Port-of-Spain. Philbert said he has been overwhelmed by requests from men and women who have left gangs and want to live law-abiding lives.

Philbert, during a news conference at the Police Administration Building, said the police must give their full support to gang members who want to get out of crime.

Twenty men and women, who with the help of evangelical pastors had left gangs, went with their pastors to a meeting with Philbert at his office on Wednesday. Reyes and Acting Deputy Police Commissioner Maurice Piggott also attended the meeting, which was the second time Philbert had met with the former gang members. Last Sunday, they hired a maxi taxi and met with Philbert at an undisclosed location in south Trinidad.

“They wanted to get out because they got fed up. They wish to live a little longer, and to enjoy life a little longer, and they suddenly realise there is a God,” he said.

The former gang members told the top lawmen they want to help the police to bring an end to gang violence.

“They have said certain things to us and gave us an insight into what we are dealing with.

“We are willing and able to assist any gang member who is willing to change,” said Philbert.

Talking tough, Philbert declared the goal of the police was to stop gang-related crimes.

“We strongly deplore it. We will try to reduce it and eradicate it.”

Asked if the police would help those who may have matters in court, Philbert made it clear the law must take its course.

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