Kamla scolds Bamboo 2, Valsayn residents: 'Follow the law'

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar -
Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar -

UNITED National Congress (UNC) political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar says the party supports all communities wishing to install gates and barriers for their protection but has implored residents and groups to satisfy the necessary criteria before doing so.

Speaking at the UNC’s cottage meeting in St Joseph on Monday, Persad-Bissessar expressed sympathy with supporters about their fears of increasing violent crime in the area and surrounding communities. But she said this country is not the “wild wild west,” and that the protocols for installing gates are in place for good reason.

“I firmly believe that all actions by citizens or groups of citizens in this country must be done legally,” said Persad-Bissessar to residents of Bamboo 2, Valsayn, who collectively put up a security booth without the permission of the Tunapuna Piarco Regional Corporation (TPRC).

“The reality is, throughout the country, not just in Bamboo, there’s been a drastic increase in violent crimes (targeting) citizens in the comfort of their homes and communities,” she said.

It should not be surprising, therefore, that citizens are applying further security measures to protect their homes by establishing neighbourhood watch groups and erecting gates to entry points, Persad-Bissessar added.

She insisted, however, “Instead of battling each other, I urge all sides…to work together, to stop battling each other. I urge all sides to unite to secure the community by getting the barriers installed legally.

“Yes, you want a gated community but there is a process you have to follow. You don’t just go and decide you going and put up a booth at any spot you choose.”

Among the requirements for installing barriers are a petition and a formal letter to be submitted to the TPRC, which must include the signatures of at least two-thirds of residents.
A set meeting is also required involving residents, who must engage stakeholders including the councillor and utility providers. Residents who oppose the proposal are to be given the opportunity to air their issues.

Reading from a letter issued by the corporation, Persad-Bissessar said, “A site visit must be done by the corporation’s technical department, including a resulting report on the ability of the infrastructure to be safely supported in a gated community,” among other requirements.

“Also, it will be best to have a consensus among citizens about the financial contributions to funding the security guards and (upkeep) of the guard booths…” she said.
“You’re not on the frontier, that you just decide you want to put up a booth. You have to do it in accordance with the law (and you) will get through. I promise you.”

She advised the wider public to engage their communities and respective corporations to follow the protocols.
“I want to say we totally support any community that would like to become gated,”
Since receiving notice from the TPRC to demolish the structure put up last week, president of the Bamboo 2 Community Council Jeremy Naipaul has apologised and signalled his intention to do “the right thing” by satisfying the requirements.


"Kamla scolds Bamboo 2, Valsayn residents: ‘Follow the law’"

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