Youths killed for not joining gangs

Tuesday, May 15 2007

MORVANT residents claim that youths who blatantly refuse to adhere to the demands and instructions of gang leaders from surrounding areas are either gunned down or left badly wounded.

A woman of Coconut Drive in Morvant, who wished not to be identified, yesterday told Newsday that one of her relatives was recently gunned down because he failed to join a particular gang from Never Dirty, Morvant.

“This was the second person in my immediate family to have been gunned down in cold blood like that. Something must be done to protect our youths,” the woman said.

“We, the elder ones in the district are also being threatened by these same gangs. Our lives are directly threatened and our homes are often shot at by these gangs,” she added. “It has reached a point now that we can’t even stand up for our rights as citizens because it seems that the police in the district have also turned their backs on us for one reason or the other,” the woman claimed.

The woman then called on the relevant authorities to despatch frequent police patrols to the area.

“We are living in fear. Fear for the lives of our children and ourselves and therefore we are calling on whosoever in the Government and any other relevant body to come forward and protect us. The situation is deteriorating and we are in desperate need of help,” the woman pleaded.

In one of the latest murders, police deemed as gang-related, Jerome Batson, 22, of Chaconia Avenue, Morvant, was gunned down on May 4 while on a construction site at Monroe Road, Barataria. Two persons have since been arrested and are currently before the court charged with Batson’s murder.

Yesterday, Assistant Police Commissioner Gilbert Reyes called on parents to pay closer attention to the activities of their children in wake of the upsurge in gang-related killings in Morvant and Santa Cruz.

He also accused “so called community leaders” as being responsible for placing guns in the hands of young persons.

According to Reyes, the police know who are responsible for the killings in the North Eastern Division and steps are being put in place to minimise those types of murders.

Reyes was speaking at the weekly press briefing at the Police Administration Building, Port-of-Spain.