The Beetham Gardens community took centre stage last week as residents blocked the roadway, threw missiles at motorists causing panic along the Beetham Highway.
Lawlessness! Gridlock Terror! Screamed the headlines as Trinidad and Tobago descended into an intense hyperactive cauldron of facts, rumour and fake news.
The rush to slam the behaviour of a minority of Beetham residents cast condemnation on an entire community.
North Trinidad and Tobago encountered, not for the first time in our nations history a snap shot of social disturbance as motorists evacuated the capital city for fear of what may come if the situation wasn’t calmed down.
Residents claimed the protest was a plea for jobs in the area and not to protest the arrests of two members of the Beetham community, Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams responded, “there is no justification for criminality”.
Members of the business community expressed grave concerns as did other law abiding citizens, but who is seeking the best interest of the traumatised law abiding residents of Beetham Gardens, and other hot spots and at risk communities. Who is crying for Beetham Gardens?
As allegations of endemic corruption and wasteful spending of the country’s oil and gas windfall overwhelm the public domain and deliver economic hardship to the country on a whole.
Who will reach out and understand the long suffering quagmire of the vulnerable and disadvantaged in Trinidad and Tobago?
Who will seek to understand the frustration and hopelessness of feeling left behind with no tangible benefit from the oil and gas windfall?
Economic and income inequality and perception of social injustice is not a figment of imagination for many citizens here in Trinidad and Tobago.
Solving social issues and problems is no easy task. Erasing Beetham Gardens from the landscape as some have called for...locking up and throwing away the keys is not the solution.
Hotspot communities are as much part and parcel of Trinidad and Tobago as the affluent enclaves and gated communities.
Beetham Gardens and other hotspots communities believe they have gotten the short end of the stick and their resent and anger is real.
The root cause of the problem must be addressed.
Community trouble spots need love , attention and respect. Many nationals who have achieved excellence in sport, music, art, drama, academia, legit business and entrepreneurship call these communities, home.
Brian Lewis is the president of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee and T&T Commonwealth Games Association. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the TTOC and TTCGA.