Maloney residents blank meeting with Warner
By CAROL MATROO Sunday, July 29 2012
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WASTING TIME: Disappointed Maloney residents were left without an audience by National Security Minister Austin Jack Warner who decided to cancel a sc...
National Security Minister Austin Jack Warner yesterday cancelled a meeting with Maloney residents at the Maloney Regional Complex, after just a handful of them showed up, despite meeting with the minister earlier last week and calling for yesterday’s meeting.
When Sunday Newsday showed up at the meeting yesterday, Warner’s adviser, Francis Joseph, said the Minister cancelled the meeting after finding out only a handful of residents were there. He said Warner had encountered low numbers when he arrived for the meeting on time, and left saying he would return later, expecting the numbers to grow.
“I advised the Minister that there were seven residents, six members of staff, seven journalists and seven police officers. Because he had to go to Cumuto for 7 pm it means he has to leave home at 6.30 pm, he has decided to cancel until the residents are serious and they want to meet him. I informed the MP (for Arouca/Maloney Alicia Hospedales) about the cancellation. The Minister said when they (residents) are ready to have another meeting he will always be available,” Joseph said.
The cancelled meeting was scheduled earlier last week when Warner met with ten members of the area who had previously been involved in crime and wanted to turn away from that life. After a closed-door meeting at the complex, the Minister was faced with a gathering of residents who demanded an audience with him. However, Minister in the Ministry of National Security, Collin Partap, who was also present yesterday, said Warner indicated then that it was not the forum for such a meeting and agreed to another meeting with the residents yesterday afternoon.
Despite yesterday’s low turn out, the few residents present were upset and felt slighted by the minister.
One woman, who only gave her name as Mrs Payne, said, “Since the Government came into power what I must say is they haven’t done nothing for Maloney, you understand. They’re supposed to move fair with everybody regardless of who you vote for or whatever, but since they came into power they have done nothing for Maloney
“This is our MP (Hospedales) and she tries very hard to do things for us in Maloney and if she’s not getting the funding things can never happen here in Maloney It will always have crime. Right now it kind of cool down a little bit, to tell you the truth.”
Hospedales said some of the concerns about unemployment had been quelled since members of the National Security Ministry went into the area, assessed those who presented themselves as being unemployed, and gave them a “guarantee” of some kind of sustainable job in future.
“I think coming out of that meeting, residents who came out for the employment assessment felt satisfied that something is going to be done. I am monitoring the National Security Ministry, who has given them a month, and after that I am going to request a meeting with the minister,” Hospedales said.
“Once that meeting has been held I would request that they come back to the group of unemployed persons, of about 160 persons who were assessed, and there are a further ten members to be assessed, so we have to reschedule another day for that to take place. Once we are satisfied that the promise that was made has been fulfilled, I think the residents would be happy to know that they are being placed in sustainable jobs.”
The MP, while agreeing there had been a decrease in criminal activities in the area, said it was because of an agreement by those who had initially been involved in crime and other warring factors.
“A lot of them have decided that they really want to go on a path of positive change and they have committed to that and that’s why you would see a limited number of persons being out here today,” she said
Hospedales added, that if the residents indicate they would like to have another meeting with the minister, she would facilitate the meeting. In the interim, she said they will continue to work with the police and other groups in the community to ensure the residents are provided with the necessary opportunities to “remain on a path of positive change.”
“With respect to policing, one of the concerns I would have raised today is that there is a police post in Maloney and there are only five police officers posted there. They try their best, but they are a small number of persons to command and police 20-something thousand persons,” Hospedales said.
“you can understand the challenges that they would face. I know that the National Security Minister is working to construct a police station in Maloney, so that would increase the number of personnel, so the policing in Maloney would become better over time.”
Attempts to reach Warner after the meeting were unsuccessful, as calls to his cellphone went straight to voice mail.