Thursday 7th September, 2006


Hard road still to unity in Laventille

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Kerwin “Fresh” Phillip, left, lends an ear to one of the young men gathered at Crowne Plaza in Port-of-Spain yesterday, for a second day of meetings to work towards a peace agreement in Laventille.

Photo: Keith Matthews


It seems a rocky road still towards peace as “community leaders” continued to thrash out their differences on the second day of meetings—this one held at the Crowne Plaza on Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain, yesterday.

And while many continue to be committed to the fledgling peace treaty, “warring factions” unwilling to come on board are applying pressure to the tenuous bid for unity.

One of the main opposing factions hails from upper Laventille and has refused to meet.

Late yesterday evening, a council of “community leaders” was attempting to meet and mediate with that group.

“You have to remember this is a process. This is about trust and trust will take some time,” said WASA union representative Salim Muwakil.

A Laventille resident, Muwakil and community activists Muhammed Shabaaz, Mc Donald Padmore, Foulade Mutato, Lennox Smith, Archbishop Monica Randoo, Cry founder Lystra Penny, Power 102 radio host Ricardo “Gladiator” Welch, as well as representatives from the Ministry of Social Development, had their hands full as they attempted to cool the escalating tempers of the young men gathered.

The most volatile moment came when Sean “Bill” Francis, a well-known community figure in Morvant, walked out of the meeting after a few young men refused to “forgive and forget.”

Frustrated, those who went to the meeting from Laventille, Morvant and Port-of-Spain, paced the corridors of Crowne Plaza, while attempts to unravel years of turf war went on for hours.

One young man was seen sporting a rosary wrapped around his wrist.

The meeting, which was carded to begin at 11 am, ended at 5 pm with a joint executive committee of “community leaders,” community activists and residents being appointed.

However, this new committee raised many objections to acquiesence, with some factions complaining that the “real people” were not part of the board.

Media representatives, banned from the meeting, were told that a press briefing will be held today from 1 pm at Crowne Plaza.

Sources confirmed that Kerwin “Fresh” Phillip of G-Unit and Kernel “Spanish” Rodriguez of Beetham Gardens formed part of the committee.

Chris “Bulls” of Gonzales was not appointed to the committee, although calls for the inclusion of him and “Paranoid” from Nelson Street in PoS were voiced.

Notably absent were “Cudjoe” of Crab Connection, representing San Juan, and Sean Sandy of St Barb’s, who were among the major players at Sunday’s peace rally at the St Barb’s basketball court.

There were tense moments for members of the media, who were accused of being “papparrazi” and of hurting the peace talks.

Once again, the Ministry of Sport sponsored the meeting.

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