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Sunday 21 July 2019
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Teachers in Laventille ‘under siege’

TEACHERS at schools in Laventille have to deal with the sound of gunshots and threats, said TT Unified Teachers Association district field officer Port of Spain and environs Ronaldo Rollocks.

“Our teachers are under siege.” He was speaking on Tuesday at a public meeting at the St Barb’s Basketball Court. He said if students have problems at home then it is even worse at the schools.

He added the majority teachers at schools in Laventille are female and a high percentage reside from outside the area. “So the sound of gunshots, constant threats are things they are very well afraid of.”

Rollocks said he also believed that the community has to fix its problems and ask all the teachers to come out and be the part of the solution. He said some students in Laventille do not want to go on field trips because areas were controlled by the Rasta City gang.

“The teachers don’t know about that (if they) from Arima.” He said if teachers do not teach and are afraid to come into the communities then the situation will be worse.

“If parents fed up what you leave for us (teachers)? Help us take back the community. Help the teachers.”

Among the attendees yesterday was Alexander Phillips, father of 16-year-old Akil Phillips who was shot and killed in Laventille in April. Laventille West MP Fitzgerald Hinds in his address said when someone dies in Laventille there is usually the whisper that the person was involved in drugs, was a gunman or stole someone’s chain.

“But all of the indications I got, everyone, from all of the middle-aged and young, his classmates, his teachers, everybody said that young man was a decent, organised, well-meaning, ambitious boy who did nobody no wrong, no harm (sic). And he is dead. Several bullets, about nine of them. And his father and his mother and his grandmother, they have to live, they have to bear the pain of that.”

Phillips, a student of St Anthony’s College, was attacked, robbed of his Samsung J5 cellphone, and murdered outside his grandmother’s Laventille home on the night of April 5.

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