Residents at the Housing Development Corporation’s Clifton Towers at St Paul’s Street, Port-of-Spain, fear 15 illegal tenants who were evicted by police and army personnel in 2017 may have returned after a “gangster boss” was given an apartment on the compound once again.
It is alleged that HDC officials seem to have their hands tied in the matter, as a senior HDC official reportedly has links with a female relative of the alleged gangster.
One tenant, who wished not to be identified, said: “Why the illegal occupants still living on the compound and HDC keeping it low key as though they cut a deal with (name called)?”
Other tenants are demanding that the HDC is held accountable for them being forced to live in fear and for all illegal occupants, gangsters included, be evicted from the property.
“Only when information is passed on to the media they (referring to HDC) pretend to respond by having the police come and evict them. A couple of hours after the illegal occupants back in the buildings,” another tenant said yesterday.
“We want the entrance locked down with access to tenants only. As it is right now it is a free for all. Our safety is compromised daily. We and our children are at risk,” the tenant added.
On Tuesday, concerned tenants resurrected safety and security concerns as they claim gang activities, drugs and addicts were on the increase on the compound due to the gangster occupying a ninth-floor apartment in one of the towers.
Contacted for comment on the claim yesterday, HDC managing director Brent Lyons, through his manager of corporate communications Dike Noel, denied claims there was preferential treatment to anyone due to any relationship between a senior employee and the alleged gangster’s relative.
Noel added, however, that the HDC would have to request additional support and intervention given the nature of the tenants’ security concerns.
“Clifton Tower is a housing community with unique challenges, which require in most cases the intervention of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service. Our Security Department, therefore, continues to work with the TT Police Service to treat with any illegal activities in Clifton Tower.”
With specific reference to illegal occupants at Clifton Tower, Noel said the HDC has an ongoing targeted programme to reduce illegal occupancy and trespassing in its housing developments.
“IOnce illegal occupants or activities are identified, the HDC takes the necessary steps to correct the situation in the shortest possible time,” Noel said.
“After receiving the information from the Guardian on February 26 re: alleged illegal activities at Clifton Tower, the HDC liaised with the TTPS to ascertain the details of the reports and will take appropriate action.”
Noel said the HDC’s Social and Community Services Department, as part of its mandate, investigates and mediates inter-neighbour grievances and any other activities which can negatively impact the welfare of the housing community.
“Notwithstanding the many efforts and intervention exercises that have been conducted, unsatisfactory and untenable activities may still exist,” he said.
Reporter: Rhondor Dowlat