Death threats for Colleen

Piloto, Avion, Aviones
Iglesia propone nuevas elecciones para solucionar la crisis

One week af­ter she be­came vo­cal on the many se­ri­ous is­sues and con­cerns in­clud­ing crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties in the Orop­une Gar­dens, Pi­ar­co area the life of a for­mer news an­chor Colleen Hold­er has been threat­ened.

Hold­er re­ceived cred­i­ble in­for­ma­tion on Thurs­day morn­ing that there is now a ‘hit’ on her life.

The death threat al­so came one day af­ter of­fi­cials from the Hous­ing De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (HDC) un­der the watch­ful eyes of the po­lice moved in­to the area and de­mol­ished il­le­gal struc­tures erect­ed by busi­ness­man An­tho­ny Knights al­so known as One Foot out­side and op­po­site to his apart­ment at Build­ing 3A.

Knights op­er­at­ed a hard­ware and com­mer­cial shop.

Speak­ing with the Guardian Me­dia, Hold­er said she re­ceived the threat­en­ing call about 9 am.

“The on­ly in­for­ma­tion I got from my source was “green light” or “green lit”…shoot and burn, ” Hold­er said.

Hav­ing al­ready spoke to the po­lice, Hold­er said she is yet to lodge a for­mal re­port in the Arou­ca Po­lice Sta­tion.

She said she al­so in­tends to write com­pre­hen­sive let­ters to the Com­mis­sion­er of Po­lice and the Min­is­ter of Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty.

Hold­er, how­ev­er, not­ed that she is not scared nei­ther does she have any re­grets for be­ing vo­cal on the is­sues.

“I’m not scared. I have no re­grets. Un­for­tu­nate­ly though I un­der­stand now why peo­ple stay silent when they live in a sit­u­a­tion where they feel like they cant speak out for fear of be­ing tar­get­ed,” Hold­er said.

Asked if she is con­sid­er­ing mov­ing out of the area, she replied: “I dont want to move. My next move us to just live my life. I have re­ceived nu­mer­ous calls of sup­port from peo­ple of all walks of life as well as the com­mu­ni­ty.”

She said she strong­ly be­lieves that it is not just her fight, “It’s a com­mu­ni­ty try­ing to re­gain its peace­ful foot­ing be­fore it’s too late.”

Hold­er was al­so a vic­tim of crime where she was robbed twice – her car was stolen from her at gun­point out­side her home last year, and one month lat­er her house was bro­ken in­to.

Hold­er raised se­ri­ous se­cu­ri­ty is­sues fol­low­ing last week Thurs­day night’s mur­der which oc­curred at about 9.38 pm where a man was gunned down out­side Build­ing 4A. He was iden­ti­fied as Calvin Carl­ton Strak­er, 27, of Orop­une Gar­dens and Sama­roo Vil­lage in Ari­ma.

This was the sec­ond mur­der in one month. On June 4, Kadeem Young, 19, aka “Smeagol” and DJ Kid­do was shot dead out­side that said build­ing at about 9.15 pm.

Hold­er said its res­i­dents are up in arms over the sud­den in­crease in gun vi­o­lence in the area and il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties and called for an im­me­di­ate in­ter­ven­tion by HDC of­fi­cials and the po­lice.

Hold­er said their com­mu­ni­ty what­sapp chat has been “light­ing up with res­i­dents ex­press­ing their fear, frus­tra­tion, ir­ri­ta­tion, anger at this sit­u­a­tion that seems to be spi­ralling out of con­trol.”

She al­so said that in the last few weeks they hear gun­shots from “a sim­i­lar high pow­ered weapon ring­ing out on al­most a dai­ly ba­sis.”

Hold­er said HDC needs to en­force the rules and start evict­ing per­sons who are flout­ing the rules, evict per­sons who are op­er­at­ing busi­ness­es il­le­gal­ly, evict per­sons who are il­le­gal­ly oc­cu­py­ing apart­ments, evict per­sons who are har­bour­ing crim­i­nals. She al­so called on HDC to work with the po­lice, work with res­i­dents to make the com­mu­ni­ty safe.

Fol­low­ing her pub­lic out­cry, the Hous­ing De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (HDC) ad­mit­ted that there are sev­er­al is­sues at play but added that it re­quire a mul­ti-pronged and mul­ti-agency ap­proach for res­o­lu­tion.

In an im­me­di­ate re­sponse to Hold­er last week, in a state­ment is­sued by the HDC, it as­sured that the safe­ty and se­cu­ri­ty of res­i­dents in all HDC com­mu­ni­ties are is­sues which the Cor­po­ra­tion gives se­ri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion.

“As such, the HDC, has de­vel­oped and main­tained a pos­i­tive work­ing re­la­tion­ship with the pro­tec­tive ser­vices such as TT Po­lice Ser­vice and TT De­fence Force, the en­ti­ties re­spon­si­ble for the main­te­nance of law and or­der in the coun­try, ” the re­lease stat­ed.

“Those which are with­in the con­trol and re­mit of the HDC, such as the pro­vi­sion of Cer­tifi­cates of Char­ac­ter be­fore the al­lo­ca­tion of any res­i­dents and the evic­tion of il­le­gal oc­cu­pants in tan­dem with the TTPS are on-go­ing. How­ev­er, the HDC can­not be held sole­ly re­spon­si­ble for all of Orop­une Gar­dens’ is­sues. The TTPS re­mains the sole en­ti­ty re­spon­si­ble for the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ty,” it added.

Over at the HDC‘s Clifton Tow­ers in east Port of Spain, af­ter years of pub­lic out­cry from le­gal ten­ants po­lice iden­ti­fied four apart­ments in three of the four tow­ers to be oc­cu­pied by gang lead­ers and fam­i­ly mem­bers.

The apart­ments – one at Tow­er 1; one at Tow­er 3 and two at Tow­er 4, were iden­ti­fied in a let­ter dat­ed Sep­tem­ber 3, 2018. It was ad­dressed to the Min­is­ter of Hous­ing and Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment Ed­mund Dil­lon and sent by a se­nior po­lice of­fi­cer as­signed to the Port-of-Spain Di­vi­sion’s Besson Street Sta­tion Coun­cil.

Ac­cord­ing to the let­ter, the po­lice re­quest­ed Dil­lon’s as­sis­tance on be­half of the ten­ants at Clifton Tow­ers who lodged sev­er­al re­ports that a gang leader, his fam­i­ly mem­bers and gang mem­bers were il­le­gal­ly oc­cu­py­ing units at their com­plex.

The let­ter al­so in­di­cat­ed that the res­i­dents are afraid of be­ing shot and asked for an in­ter­ven­tion to have the il­le­gal oc­cu­pants per­ma­nent­ly re­moved.

At­tached to the let­ter the Guardian Me­dia un­der­stands was a cor­re­spon­dence per­tain­ing to pre­vi­ous com­plaints from res­i­dents.

The po­lice al­so not­ed that it was rec­om­mend­ed to em­ploy a Hous­ing Po­lice Unit for Clifton Tow­ers and sub­se­quent­ly all HDC hous­ing com­plex­es.

In Feb­ru­ary this year, ma­jor se­cu­ri­ty and safe­ty con­cerns resur­faced amongst ten­ants at the tow­ers as they claim oc­cu­pan­cy of an apart­ment by some­one well known to them to be al­leged­ly in­volved in gang ac­tiv­i­ties. They de­scribed the oc­cu­pant as a “gang­ster boss.”

Ten­ants al­so claimed that drug ad­dicts al­so fre­quent the com­pound and can be a ma­jor se­cu­ri­ty risk to them and their chil­dren.

On Feb­ru­ary 28, po­lice of­fi­cers were called to the com­pound where one of the ten­ant’s ve­hi­cle was ma­li­cious­ly van­dal­ized al­leged­ly by one of the il­le­gal oc­cu­pants.

In De­cem­ber 2017 ten­ants called on HDC for per­ma­nent se­cu­ri­ty in and around the com­pound claim­ing them that they live in con­stant fear of bul­ly­ing and reprisal at­tacks by gang mem­bers af­ter the HDC moved to evict il­le­gal ten­ants from the site.

For­mer Hous­ing Min­is­ter Ran­dall Mitchell con­firmed to the Par­lia­ment then that po­lice and De­fence Force mem­bers had evict­ed 15 il­le­gal ten­ants on two sep­a­rate oc­ca­sions from the four-tow­er de­vel­op­ment, fol­low­ing com­plaints of un­law­ful ac­tiv­i­ty and il­le­gal apart­ment oc­cu­pa­tion.