Our neighbourhood is not safe: Point residents

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Several residents of Point are expressing concern for their safety and community development following the killing of resident Carlton “Pum Pum” Charles, who was found dead in an abandoned house on Sunday, with his hands bound together, as well as his feet.
Residents said that based on the advanced state of decomposition in which the body was found, Charles had been dead for several days and they are worried about how “quietly” it happened.
OBSERVER media spoke with the residents over the past two days and most said they no longer feel safe in the community, though they said they had no idea who killed the known vagrant or why. Others said they suspect that it was done by wayward youth otherwise referred to as “a pack of wolves” who have allegedly been wreaking havoc on the “weak.”
Fifty-eight-year-old Keithroy Prevost, a well-known electrical engineer in the area, said something needs to be done before the situation with the youth gets worse.
He is calling on the Minister of Social Transformation, Human Resource, Youth, and Gender Affairs Department, Samantha Marshall, and the representative for the constituency, Gaston Browne, who is also the prime minister, to address the issues of crime, troubled youth and indigent people in the community.
“There are some elders, seniors, people that are on the road, people who go to the mental home and you have a pack of young kids beating them. For example, a few nights ago I was at Popeshead Street, and there was a show and after the show there was a pack of wolves who just see a man on the sidewalk and pelt bottles on him,” he said.
Prevost said he has known the deceased “Pum Pum” personally for years and believes his death was at the hands of some of those same “wolves.”
“He was the type of man that well pick a few breadfruit, a few mangoes and whatever, and looking at the way I heard he was killed, I am saying it is malicious. He don’t sell drugs, he might smoke he little weed or whatever it is, he don’t break house, I am saying it is a pack of wolves did it, dem kill him. It is a set of kids doing destruction,” he said.
The Point resident said he witnessed the youth attack Charles numerous times with stones and bottles and “they are going around like they are in a jungle and they are taking elders for granted.”
The electrician, who has lived between Point and Villa for over 35 years, said even if the “wolves” are not the ones who killed Charles, the issue of them attacking people is still of concern and needs attention.
“They drink alcohol and tek a little weed and when dem done they just look at weak people…the murder of Pum Pum is a serious thing…Satan find work for idle hands…at the end of the day they will find out who killed him. We need to tek care of the kids, they in packs, they in packs like wolves and it is a serious thing,” he added.
Another resident who spoke on condition of anonymity, said “what happened is not nice,” and she added, “and it happens all the time.”
Speaking also on condition of anonymity due to fear for her safety, another woman indicated, “Our neighbourhood is not safe anymore and we must stand up for our neighbourhood.”
Several others backed up Prevost’s statement about the younger generation attacking helpless people, but they declined to go on the record due to alleged fear of becoming targets.
But, Khalid Shabazz a well-known community activist, said he too has been witnessing the crime situation escalate and young people falling by the wayside.
He said Point community and neighbouring Villa, are low income areas which are considered “ghettoised” and it is no surprise that residents feel unsafe.
He said people need to understand that the issues affecting the communities like these, relate to the value system and the way in which the people see themselves and see each other and that cannot be changed with financial help only.
He explained, there’s a need for “different modes to assist people to have meaningful things to occupy their time and systems and programmes in place to help young people.”
Shabazz said he supports Prevost’s call for social programmes to be introduced and he added that the government officials should be as concerned as the people because “the next victim may be their uncle, their niece, their nephew.”
He is suggesting there’s a need for community liaison officers who will work, for a stipend, for the state, to help gather the information on the ground in those communities and take it back to the specific organisations/ministries that can then set up systems to target the specific needs of the various groups of people.

(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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