This is the chilling question that keeps crystallizing in the trembling heart and breathless voice of many parents holding their bellies and bawling out loud to a God who cannot hear as the news reverberates about yet another young person, a mere child really, whose life has been cut short in the arena of pettiness and pure “bad-mind” at the hands of their siblings or in questionable clashes with the Police.
It’s just been a year ago, but the grief and pain caused by the police killings of three young men of the Morvant area still reverberates in the area, as newsmen who visited and interviewed families have reported.
According to official reports in 2020 :Forty-five women and two girls have been murdered so far. With the murder count presently at 362, females represent 13 per cent of the homicides to date.
And: “While these women fell victim to cold-blooded killers, jealous lovers and men with twisted sexual fantasies, hundreds of other women remain the victims of abusive relationships, some even in the confines of their own homes”
The T&T Police Service (TTPS) said of the 745 people reported missing for 2020 a staggering 416 of those are women and girls—which is more than half of the missing persons figure. The police said there was no confirmation as to how many of that number remain missing.
Psychiatrist Dr Carla Pemberton looks at the problem through the eyes of the young ladies who become victims. She calls for the putting in place of programmes which employ better communications strategies.
In an article published in “Newsday” Trinidad, Dr Pemberton stated:
“Overall, however, there is need for the development of communication strategies and key messages to our young people that these forms of violence are completed unacceptable. Teenagers will desire and need peer connections and relationships. This is a normal aspect of adolescent life. However, they must be reminded that no healthy relationship involves humiliation, control or violence of any form”
For most of these lost beings, this is actually the closing of a very narrow window with no light at the end of the tunnel of a world where the size of your gun and how high you can raise it is the indicator of your manhood.
What more ranks you will get if you can kill a man – old, young or half-dead – and keep wearing your pants so low below the crack of your black ass that your hungry contemporaries find it attractive – much like low-hanging fruit just right for the picking.
Fitzgerald Hinds would know. He’s the new Minister of youth Affairs but has been stomping the ground here for decades as a Parliamentarian who has remained steadfast in his support for these weaker brothers and sisters.
“Youth Facilities should eventually be open from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. at least 6 days a week.” This is the vision of Minister of Youth Development and National Service, the Honourable Fitzgerald Hinds. The Minster was speaking after he visited the St James, Laventille and Malick Youth Facilities on Saturday 6th February, 2021.
In keeping with his commitment to provided whatever is needed to promote the interests of marginalized youths, Hinds addade:
“We have remarkable facilities delivered through significant investments, with which to implement the mandate of the Ministry of Youth Development and National Service (MYDNS). Our aim is to advance the youth development agenda and create safe spaces for young people to be trained; so they can contribute to national development,”
As the newspapers report the statistics which the Social Workers wring their hands over, the police utilize these bits and pieces of treasure fed from the Commissioner’s ”cockroaches” as justification for requesting the latest hardware from the National Security Minister.
How deadly specific are his requests for more guns, ammo and uniforms to be used against new criminals in east and south Port of Spain with short pants, vests and, with a bread and cheese in their stomachs for the day’s meal.
On the other side of the street, people on the ground are usually mesmerized by the news of their loved ones being killed in police clashed for crimes they are not capable of.
In fact, one of the dead men’s former attorneys said Israel Moses Clinton, 27 had intended to file a complaint with the police Professional Standards Bureau about the alleged theft of $60,000 and US$2,900 during a police raid.
He had also filed a case against the State for alleged police brutality in a separate incident after being accused of possession of a stolen vehicle.
Priscilla Brooks, 75, mother of police killing victim Diamond brooks, she told “Newsday” said she lost not only her youngest son that day, but her only companion, who did everything to help make her life comfortable.
Brooks lives at the top of a steep incline up a crudely patched narrow lane, a stone’s throw from where her son was killed.She said when she got the news that the police had killed him, her world shattered.
“I was in a turmoil. From that time to now my life has changed drastically.”
As Leader of the country’s Opposition, Kamla Persad Bissessar finds herself constantly looking out for those who she sees as disadvantaged and exploited, especially by the State.
In a Message to the Nation on International Youth Day, Persad-Bisessar expressed her views as follows:“It is very ironic that the theme of this year’s International Youth Day is, “Youth Migration: Moving Development Forward”, she lamented
“In Trinidad and Tobago, we must be careful that we do not lose our young people. Young people are attracted by what is out there in the world today. They are attracted by the bright lights abroad. While a large number of our young people are encouraged by the global demands, we have another problem at our door steps. That is youth involvement in criminal activity.”
A section of our young population is attracted by gang activity. According to data from the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, there are close to 100 gangs operating in the country.
Most of the members are young men, aged between 14 and 25. These young men look up to the gang leaders. They love the culture. They feel they are not wanted by either their parents or teachers. They feel no one cares too much for them”.
Sterling Jacobs, a retired principal, and his wife Carol, a portfolio administrator with an insurance broker, whose home is literally around the corner from where their only son was shot dead, said they have to relive the horror of losing him every day.
They said they were in the kitchen preparing lunch when they heard screeching tyres and people loudly ordering someone to get back in a car, and went to their porch to investigate.
The Jacobs, both aged 65, told “Newsday” that they saw a lot of police officers on the street in front of their home and some pointed guns and them ordered them back inside the house. Seconds later, they heard rapid gunfire and ran back to the porch.
Joel Jacobs had only moments earlier left the house with Diamond, in a car driven by Clinton, to buy a bottle of rum to celebrate his birthday.
Ayana Webster-Roy, Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, Gender and Child Affairs, also strongly condemned the recent acts of violence perpetrated against women, girls, and children and reminded the public that all men, women, boys and girls have the fundamental right to live a life free from all forms of violence.
A release yesterday from the OPM-GCA said domestic violence, child abuse, rape and other forms of violence are punishable crimes.
“Gender-based violence is an infringement on one’s human rights and is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. As individuals, we must make a conscious decision to do better and be better”, The Minister stated.
“Change starts with each individual doing their part to end violence against women and girls by promoting behaviours and attitudes, which will bring about inner peace and peace in homes and social environments.”
She said women and girls were also an estimated 83 per cent of the victims of such violence, based on the reported cases.
Psychiatrist and secretary of the Association of Psychiatrists of T&T (APTT) Dr Varma Deyalsingh said there is need to be special protocols put into place to find women and girls when they are reported missing”.
Deylasingh told the “Sunday Guardian” when someone is reported missing, their families have to act as search parties and parents are often left trying to do police work or become computer and phone hackers trying to search into their relatives’ social media accounts for clues.
He said while 80 to 90 per cent of women and girls who go missing will be found, the relatives of the remaining ten per cent will also be haunted by their unexplained disappearances.
“It is the remaining who vanished that would cause family dismay for the rest of their lives. Families live in emotional limbo reliving the trauma whenever they read of a missing person or a body found,” he said.
He said this was a problem not only facing T&T but one that plagues the entire region.
‘Treat us like human beings’
That’s the plea by some of the young people of the Morvant area which has remained loyal to the ruling People’s National Movement for the longest while.
Some of the young men said they only way they believed they can get the attention of the authorities is by protesting, blocking roads and burning debris, but knew if they did so during the SoE they would be arrested.
Some recounted incidents with police when one would bark commands to shut up, while another demanded an answer, often resulting in a slap, cuff, kick or even shot.
But they said they are willing to work with the police if they are treated with respect and like human beings, they told “Newsday”
As the sirens scream and the young men run for cover from police bullets under a mercilessly hot sky with no shelter, another mother’s loss can be heard piercing through the hills.
Oh Gord! Not my son!
Yes, just another one more for the Undertaker.
The beat goes on as smoke rises out of the crematorium and tears flow silently from sad eyes staring vacantly behind new prison bars of “Sweet T+T”.
THE DARING DENNIES
How the Dennie brothers rose to fame and fortune
Dec 13, 2020 Updated Dec 14, 2020
THE young Dennie brothers burst into the limelight following the bizarre funeral of murder victim Che Lewis last month.
Weeks after Lewis’s funeral, people are still talking about the public send-off, the likes of which have never been seen here before.
Lewis’s body was embalmed in a sitting position …