A large contingent of heavily armed police and soldiers yesterday locked down several areas of Trou Macaque, Laventille, in an effort to flush out criminal elements and seize illegal arms and ammunition.
The lockdown was the second for the week in the aftermath of the murders of 14-year-old schoolboy Joshua Andrews and 33-year-old PH driver Devon Fernandez.
Close to 100 police and soldiers under acting ACP Radcliffe Boxhill and acting Snr Supt Ajith Persad, head of the Port of Spain CID, carried out house-to-house searches, while roadblocks were held simultaneously.
Residents complained about the lack of police in the area and asked police to maintain a round-the-clock presence to alleviate the fear caused by gang members in the community.
They also told police that gang leaders have been targeting their teenage sons, luring them into a life of crime, and said those who refused to join the gangs were threatened. A mother of three confided that when her 12-year-old son started attending the Success Laventille Secondary School he was approached by a gang leader who promised to buy sneakers, an expensive phone, clothing and cash if he joined a gang to help transport drugs. She told police she applied for a school transfer for her son and he is now living elsewhere.
Senior officers said yesterday they were anxious to partner with the Trou Macaque community to restore calm and were hoping that with the sharing of information a dent could be made in serious crimes in the area.