The soul of Woodbrook, a happening area known for its buzz,
clubs, fashion designers, dining and spas is gradually being emptied out,
its blood drained. Every week, every day, as proprietors are held up,
another layer of civility and humanity is brutally shaved off our society.
Last year, the proprietor a popular fine-dining French
restaurant and bar was held up, along with all his customers. He packed up
and went back to France. Employees of a popular bar were held-up three
times. A woman in Woodbrook who was held up in her family’s hair dressing
salon sent out a heart wrenching e-mail that found an echo in everyone who
read it. She wrote: “A six-foot tall brown-skinned young woman in a
fluorescent yellow patterned miniskirt shoved a 9mm pistol in my face in the
salon where my grandmother and aunt were cowering in a corner.
“The male bandit, after assuring my aunt and grandmother
that he will not hesitate to kill me, made me lie face down on the ground
and tied me up. “He frisked me asking for my phone. I told him I forgot
where I put it when it rang. He struck me again and jammed the gun into my
head and temple. “He told me how easy it is to kill me and that police will
NEVER catch him.” Everything was taken from that family, electronics,
jewelry, cash, peace of mind, a home, a country, as they contemplate
migrating. This victim’s e-mail resonated with helplessness, rage,
frustration and sadness echoed by almost every citizen of this country.
Fashion Designer Claudia Pegus was held up along with two
employees at gun point by two women and a man on the cusp of T&T Fashion
Week. They didn’t bother to wear masks knowing that in this country any
witness is a dead witness. A visibly shaken Pegus (who must be one of the
hardest working women I know) spoke to me: “When I was attacked last week, I
lost it temporarily. I said to myself this must be hindsight. There was a
feeling of entrapment, the strings, and things tied to each other, in my
collection. I started to feel trapped creatively, emotionally, physically.
“I am highly creative at night and early in the morning. I was trapped to 8
to 4. We no longer could work a double shift. Everybody had to work in
“We are entrapped, living behind masks, burglar proof, you
don’t know who is who any more.
“This six-foot woman who held up a salon could have been a man or woman. I
placed masks on all my models to express to people you can’t judge by the
face any more. “I dressed a man up as a woman and no one was able to tell
until he removed his mask. “You can’t trust anyone who comes to your door.
You don’t know who is bandit or workman. You don’t know if the policeman is
a real or a thief. “The police don’t do anything. The bandit isn’t afraid of
the police. Citizens feel trapped behind iron.
“You can’t walk out in the morning or at sunset. The poor
want to rob the rich. The rich think the poor want to take away from them.
“The poor are trapped by ignorance and a legacy of Cepep and entitlement.
You drive down the road and see 20 people cutting one piece of grass. I will
gladly take a job as a Cepep worker. They get up late, go home early and
relax by the side of the road while decent hard-working citizens are
“Nobody is paying our salary. We have to earn it ourselves.
“A friend who was also held up told me the bandit said,‘You rich people
don’t understand. We can’t get jobs.’ That is rubbish. “The bandits want a
microwave existence. They want to wave a wand and get a life that most
people have achieved with hard work, blood, sweat and tears. They feel it’s
their right to demand your earnings. If you don’t have what they want you
have to pay a price. It could be your life. “The Government is to blame,
giving people a false sense of entitlement by keeping these self-programmes
going for generations.”
Pegus is calling on the Prime Minister, Minister of National
Security, the judiciary and the armed forces to do their jobs, to protect
the citizens of this country. “Woodbrook residents have to come together
form an association and address this collectively. Ariapita Avenue will die
if people don’t get up and do something.” That was Pegus’ plea. It’s not
just Ariapita Avenue. No one is spared. Every week, as crimes against
ordinary citizens go undetected and citizens remain under siege we inch
closer to the raw ozone of brutality and anarchy. The innocent live behind
bars hunted by the murderous.