Friday 8th September, 2006


New Laventille council to media: Don’t call them gunmen

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Known only as “Miss Tunapuna,” this woman prays for peace at the Executive Council of Laventille press conference yesterday. In the background is council member Herbert “Screw Up” Francis. Photo: Andre Alexander


Must Work! That’s the motto of the newly-formed Executive Council of Laventille whose members not only say that they want peace, but also to have their young men unburdened by labels of “gunman” and “gang leader.”

And, they say, the first to effect such a change must be the media, who came into the firing line at the group’s press conference held at Hasely Crawford Stadium, Invaders Bay, yesterday.

“The pen is mightier than the sword. You have shown your photographs and we have not accused you in anyway. But at no time could you have stopped the haemorrhaging, stop the onslaught, could you have stopped the advance of the destruction of the young people,” said Spiritual Baptist archbishop Monica Randoo.

Randoo said the organisation represented “a new beginning, a new understanding and it is coming from the bowels, coming from the place where they say nothing good can come out.”

The organisation’s president Selwyn Sandy said: “I believe we are all good boys now and I am a good man. And the men who you see here today are good men.”

Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Roger Boynes instructed the media “to give them a chance” and encouraged the young men gathered to work on their bonds of friendship.

When asked if the Government will consider a gun amnesty, for “community leaders” who were willing to disarm, he said “that is something to be looked at.”

Boynes said his Ministry will be utilising sports programmes to assist the organisation and under consideration was creating a semi-professional basketball league.

Social activist Clive Nunez called for the Minister of National Security Martin Joseph to “stop calling them gangs” and to refer to the young men “as leaders of groups.”

Vice-president of the organisation Sean “Bill” Francis entreated the media to “be fair and balanced.”

He said, “If somebody from the media is uncomfortable in going in a particular area, they can contact the executive and we will gladly contribute our services.

Francis added,“We want the media to know that we respect them.”

The main item on the organisation’s agenda is a Laventille proposal to be sent to Government for the upcoming national budget.

Kerwin “Fresh” Phillip and Herbert “Screw Up” Francis were the two prominent “community leaders” who were added to the committee.

The council met yesterday afternoon at the Beetham Gardens home of Dwight Augustine who was gunned down near his home on Wednesday night.

The committee

President Selwyn Sandy, Vice-President Sean “Bill” Francis, Public Relations Officer Sandra “Warrior Princess” Emmanuel, Assistant Public Relations Officer Kerwin “Fresh” Phillip, Secretary Juliette Davy, Assistant Secretary Sherma Wilson, Mc Donald Padmore, Herbert “Screw Up” John, Salim Muhakil, Martin Cedeno, Nigel James, Sheldon Scott and “Jah Jah”.

The Advisory committee members are chairman Muhammud Shabazz, Monica Randoo, Brian “Boy George” Brown, Christopher “Blues” Williams, Leo Phillip and “Sister Susie”.




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