As Petit Valley/Diego Martin topped the murder charts in Trinidad and Tobago, I sought to understand life in Covigne. This is from the point of view of a resident.
“You think I am a cockroach to be stamped out? Do you think you can walk a day in my shoes? When bandits threaten your home, you put up a gate. Around here we must defend our homes by picking up a gun. The government won’t even see about the river, so I must protect my mother.
“We out here just trying to survive. You don’t care about us, so why should we care about you?
“My mother used to leave home at 5 in the morning to get to work and did not return until around 6 in the evening. She was very dedicated to me. She did her best, but it was not enough. She could not afford to have anyone stay home with me and I struggled with online school.
“I didn’t even like normal school, but at least I got to be around friends. With the online school thing I was always alone. I didn’t have anyone. Mommy never understood my schoolwork so that online thing made it even worse. The screen was really small. It was really frustrating.
“I never even saw the point of school. The smartest girl on the street doesn’t even live a life I want. The men who are trying to be honest have all been laid off and are struggling to survive. That’s not the kind of man I want to be. I never want to say no to my wife and children.
“Even CEPEP is a struggle right now. The fellas who joined the gang was living nice. I rather die young than live old and struggling. The school ting wasn’t making any sense. I had a chance at being somebody – a community leader. I feel more in control of my destiny now.”
To solve crime, we must understand the root causes. Education must be available to all in an effective manner. We must address inequality. We must truly listen to the youth.
It was not a coincidence that crime was at its lowest in decades under the leadership of Kamla Persad-Bissessar. Every park was lit and SEA children performed the best they ever did in our nation’s history. This is what a proper all of government approach looks like. Every facet performing well, and the benefits all spilled over into a sharp reduction in crime.
Crime is affecting everyone. Our mental health is at risk, living in a constant state of fear but those who have found themselves in such a life seem to have been pushed there through mismanagement of the economy, lack of proper access to education and an overall systematic injustice left to grow like a cancer under this evil PNM Government.