“Don't label my community as an ‘at-risk’ one or a hot spot. The country is a hot spot for crime. All of Trinidad and Tobago is affected by crime. No one feels safe anymore.”
That was the response of Councillor for Pleasantville Robert Parris to unflattering social media commentary about that community in the wake of a double murder last Wednesday. Pleasantville has been the scene of several murders, robberies and other crimes within recent time. Parris himself was robbed by bandits who held up a supermarket at the Pleasantville Plaza, where he has an office. He was made to lie on the floor before being robbed.
In defence of the community where he lives and represents, Parris said the double murder last week does not make it ‘at-risk’ especially as there is a feeling among law enforcement that the perpetrators of that double murder were outsiders.
“Pleasantville is merely a microcosm of what is taking place in the country,” Parris said. “People want to put a target on this community as being at-risk. But the entire community of Trinidad and Tobago is at risk, if you think about it.”
On Wednesday, Jahmie Donaldson, 26, and Akeemie Wilson, 30, were shot dead while cutting bush at Elm Street in a placed called the Coconuts. Parris described the double-murder as “senseless.”
Saying he knew the two victims and their families, Parris said he is frustrated by the levels of crime and is open as councillor to whatever conversations and suggestions people may have to make Pleasantville pleasant once again.
“I am willing to listen to anyone to do my part to bring back the community to the pristine condition it used to be because crime has no face, no colour and no political affiliation. People are looking to me for leadership, they are looking for answers. When things like this happen people look to the politicians, but we are not the only leaders. Where is the strong voice from the church,” he asked
“I am saddened by what is happening in my community. We cannot continue like this.” Parris posted a message on the double murder on his Facebook page which drew comments a plenty. One reader suggested that government enforce the law and hang those guilty of murder. Another suggested in the response column to Parris’ post that, “the only way to stop the killing is to kill the killers.”