No more than a week after Minister of National Security Stuart Young expressed concern over an emerging crime situation in Oropune, which reports in the media connected to a “one-foot man,” a man with the nickname “One Foot” found himself at the centre of a Housing Development Corporation (HDC) operation in which the corporation removed “illegal structures” from the community.
A release sent by HDC said on April 27, managing director Brent Lyons confirmed reports of homeowner infractions in the community. The release added HDC warned the people in breach of their contract to treat with the situation before the HDC was forced to take action.
This morning with the assistance of police, the corporartion began demolishing and removing illegal structures in the area, starting with a popular hardware, mini mart and liming spot owned by Anthony “One Foot” Knights.
The HDC said it had been observing the actions of Knights and others over the past year and had sent them correspondence telling them to rectify the situation before the HDC did so.
Knights confirmed to Newsday that he received correspondence from HDC telling him to stop running his mini-mart and hardware, but added that he also wrote to the HDC asking for a meeting, and during that meeting with Lyons, an agreement was made.
“He (Lyons) said he realised that what I was doing was good for the community. The only problem he had was that it was in a bad spot. He told me he would try to open on the next street so I can continue to do my trade.
"All of a sudden this comes and happens. I was awake and doing my business as normal this morning, and they just moved in and decided they come to break down everything. Even my bench where I would sit during the day they are taking from me. When I look around, I am seeing a lot of people with the same bench.”
Residents who live close to the mini-mart claim Knights was targeted because of the negative portrayal of him in the media.
“Is a natural fight-down thing,” said one resident. “They saying a hardware and mini-mart promoting gangsters in the area. How could that be?”
Another who has lived in the area for about ten years said, “I do not see a person who has a shop that is helping people being a terror. To be honest with you, what I see this to be is a place where people could come together and resolve their problems.
“Elderly people who are unable to walk are able to order groceries from here and someone will deliver it to them. People who don’t have any money could come here and 'trust' groceries. I think removing this place would have more of a negative effect than a positive one.”
The HDC said a policy and procedures booklet is given to all home-owners which lists what is allowed and restricted in HDC-built communities.
Among those restrictions, people are not allowed to engage in any illegal activity, or any activity which would result in intervention by police. No illegal guns are allowed. Residents are not allowed to sell alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs, and all homeowners are prohibited from running a business of any sort out of their homes.