Hinds: Laventille in crisis

Laven­tille is in cri­sis and we need to fix it.

This was the sen­ti­ment of Laven­tille West MP Fitzger­ald Hinds dur­ing a meet­ing at the St Barbs Bas­ket­ball Court yes­ter­day.

“The rea­son why we call this meet­ing to­day is to bring this re­al­i­ty to you to let you un­der­stand that we have a cri­sis in Laven­tille,” said Hinds

He added: “This is a cri­sis be­cause you know bet­ter than me that this evening your chil­dren are at risk.

They could be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

And you know, you too are at risk be­cause if you on­ly pro­voke some­body now, tell them some­thing, watch them too hard, bounce them as yuh pass­ing by the shop they want to go for their lass, they want to go for their gun.

That is the lev­el of ig­no­rance.”

The meet­ing was called a few days af­ter 16-year old Ja­mal Charles was mur­dered in Beetham Gar­dens while seek­ing to take a bath. It is be­lieved that he was killed due to an on­go­ing turf war in the area.

Hinds slammed the no­tion of a war, stat­ing that re­al wars are fought be­tween coun­tries seek­ing to pro­tect their land rather than over small per­son­al dis­putes. He lament­ed that many per­sons were be­ing de­nied op­por­tu­ni­ties to bet­ter them­selves be­cause of the vi­o­lence.

“We have the tech­nol­o­gy cen­tre by the Tamarind tree, some of you wouldn’t dare go down there be­cause it have ig­no­rant boys down there to kill you if you on­ly show up by the Tamarind tree. And fel­las from in­side of Dan Kel­ly and in the Quar­ry, who I rep­re­sent too. I tell them they need some train­ing to get the job, look it have a tech­nol­o­gy cen­tre which we put there. I put it there, I gave it the name. But they can’t go there. Be­cause of bor­der line stu­pid­i­ty,” he said.

Cedric Ha­zle­wood, coach of Mis­cel­la­neous Laven­tille Unit­ed, sim­i­lar­ly be­moaned that young­sters in the area were be­ing de­nied the chance to achieve their po­ten­tial. He re­called the morn­ing he learned that St. An­tho­ny’s Col­lege stu­dent Ak­il Phillips was mur­dered.

Phillips was gunned down out­side his grand­moth­er’s home in April, in­ves­ti­ga­tors be­lieve he was tar­get­ed by crim­i­nals who iden­ti­fied him as a pos­si­ble wit­ness.

Ha­zle­wood said he was prepar­ing to take Phillips to a foot­ball tour­na­ment.

“Go­ing to the na­tion­al tour­na­ment, the Re­pub­lic Bank cup. Where chil­dren does get screen to go to the Na­tion­al team. I had all these kids ready to go and I had Ak­il Phillips birth pa­per in my pack­age. In this same en­ve­lope, this brief­case. I send Chase to call him twice. He (used to) say he didn’t have a boots, I had a boots in the bag that morn­ing right there wait­ing for him. I didn’t even know that hap­pen the night,” said Ha­zle­wood, “Chase come back and tell me,’You eh hear Ak­il get shoot last night down in..’ I say WHAT? That was it with me there. That’s the hon­est truth, that morn­ing I had stuff ready for Ak­il to come out of Laven­tille again.”

He urged par­ents to al­so take more re­spon­si­bil­i­ty for chil­dren in the area.

“Par­ents you have to get more in­volved. I see many times, chil­dren stop com­ing prac­tice, par­ents had reg­is­ter from home. I send the form, they sign and they send the mon­ey and that’s it,” said Hazel­wood.

“The par­ents take no re­spon­si­bil­i­ty af­ter spend­ing that mon­ey.”

Fol­low­ing the meet­ing, an of­fice was set up in the area, urg­ing those with ideas to help with the sit­u­a­tion to come for­ward with them.

Reporter: Peter Christopher