Focus of force on Enterprise

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Trinidad -It’s “war” on unruly or other negative elements in Enterprise, Chaguanas.
National Security Minister Edmund Dillon signalled this stand while speaking in the Senate yesterday on the situation in Enterprise, now racked by heightened gang warfare and murders.
Speaking on an Opposition motion calling on Government to take immediate action on T&T’s unacceptable crime levels, Dillon announced that the National Security Council had decided to construct a police station in the middle of Enterprise in “the shortest possible time.”
This will involve police as well as T&T Defence Force personnel, who will deal with the gang warfare killings which have torn Enterprise apart in recent weeks and months, he added.
Four people have been killed since last Friday, including Sylvan Alexis, brother of reputed gang leader Selwyn “Robocop” Alexis, who was killed in July 2016. On Sunday, Marvin Allan was gunned down as he came out his vehicle at John Street.
On Monday night, Patrick Isles was shot to death outside Sylvan Alexis’ wake and two others were wounded. Yesterday, Dillon Grant was killed by a gunman who chased him down before killing him in a neighbour’s yard at Lamont Street. (See Page A5)
Last year, after similar violence flared after “Robocop” was killed – and with Opposition MPs calling for a police post – Dillon, in the 2017 Budget debate, promised an army base in Enterprise. It was set up at Lion’s Gate earlier this year.
Yesterday, however, facing similar Opposition pressure, Dillon declared heightened action in the wake of the latest onslaughts in Enterprise.
Dillon said, “there is a principle of war called ‘concentration of force at the right time and the right place.’”
“Government believes the time is now, the place is Enterprise,” Dillon said.
“We’ll now have a permanent police station in Enterprise and we’ll take the fight to those who consider themselves unruly or whatever … I guarantee you … the concentration of force will deal with those issues.”
He said the force to be used will involve all national security agencies coming in to deal with the issue in that area.
Dillon said a temporary army post had been established previously at Lion’s Gate. But based on the present scenario, he said “a more direct, specific approach is required.”
He said the National Security Council believed a permanent police station will also pay the appropriate attention to what has been going on in the area.
Dillon noted there had been reduction of crime in Soogrim Trace, Laventille, where an army/police post was established
But during debate, Independent Senator Dr Dhanayshar Mahabir said the other story of Enterprise needed to be told, beyond “blood and gore”.
He said, “Tonight on the media, you’re going to hear of some action, something undesirable, but I want to invite the media: for every youth killed, can you tell me a story of someone living in that neighbourhood? We’ve gotten the view that everyone there is up to no good, that it’s seething with distrust, disharmony and disrespect for law and order – and it’s not so.
“We continue to tell the story of the man with the gun and the boy who’s dead. But it’s important for the media, when they go to Crown Trace, Railway Road et cetera: talk to the mechanics, plumbing businesses, pluck shops … people who went to school with me, outstanding engineers, a high-ranking military officer.”
He added: “There are regular people there. But the problem in T&T is its sensationalism, to talk about a body on the street or this group fighting another. We never see the decent hard working people.”
Mahabir frowned on the tendency to call the people with guns, “… community leaders.” He said gang members needed to be shown the other side of gang life. He suggested people who’ve served long jail sentences be used to educate youths “… to show them gang life isn’t all the glitz and glamour of the gun, we need our youths who are so enamoured of force to hear from those who failed to make it, from someone who has rank in their world.”
Mahabir also suggested Government formulate a commando-style search and rescue squad to deal with missing persons cases immediately. He said that is the second highest priority area after murders. He also recommended that police be promoted based on ability to detect crime rather than on seniority.

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