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Category: Trinidad Society 07 Jun 09

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.


Pegus’ plea

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 daylight.

“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 hustling, stressed.

“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.



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All Articles Copyright Ira Mathur