Life in a hotspot | Local News

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What’s wrong with the company?

The perspective depends on who you ask, as the cosmopolitan community of central Trinidad was once a ‘hotspot’ for culture, cuisine, agriculture and sports, but is now generally considered by the rest of the country to be a hotspot for The crime.

For community elders, teachers, business owners, police and ordinary families, it remains a good example of unity and the will to move forward, despite frequent outbreaks of various types of crimes, including “gang” related gun violence.

There are growing reports of petty thefts and break-ins among businesses and landlords, and many have said they feel compelled to adopt additional security measures on their premises, including large security dogs. guard and automatic gates. Most of those interviewed last week said they were trying to keep hours earlier and lamented the impact of crime on family, community, young people and business operations.

Some disagreed that crime besieged the community and the country, but reported more positive experiences so far and called for hope, including Chaconia Medal winner Clarry Benn and Chairman of the National Entrepreneurship Development Company Ltd (Nedco).

Benn, the former chairman of the Unit Trust Corporation (UTC) and community elder, called for the presence of firearms in the country and in the company to be controlled.

A place to avoid?

Speaking to the Express on Friday from his home in the Old SMR, Benn expressed his horror at the apparent proliferation of firearms, including high powered weapons, in Trinidad and its impact on vulnerable young people.

He questioned “what is happening” in society and said communities must continue to work together to tackle the root causes of crime. Benn was also concerned that too many young people were dropping out of school and giving up on further education. He called on people, including young people, to seek out and take advantage of available opportunities.

Born and raised in the community, Benn recalled the “corporate village” of his youth as being very different from today and noted its reputation with the national community.

He recalled his speech in February 2022 at a service for the 132nd anniversary of the Enterprise Methodist Church, where he said:

“Today’s Enterprise is a long way from Enterprise Village when this church was built. And I don’t need to go that far back.

There was no primary school in Enterprise when Benn was young, but it was “also a time when, as youngsters, we played cricket and football on the main road and stopped every time we ‘a vehicle was passing’.

Despite its problems, “the once innocent, idyllic, sleepy, rural and virtually unknown neighborhood of Enterprise where everyone knew everyone has transformed into a bustling, diverse and multidisciplinary middle-class type community producing heroes nationals and national personalities. performing,” he said.

He said, however, that “the Enterprise we once knew is no more” and that “lately people who live in Enterprise have been reluctant to state where they live.”

“The business has emerged on the national landscape as a place to avoid, largely because of the high rate of crime that has occurred in the area, including murders, which have contributed to the community being identified as a criminal ‘hotspot’ in Trinidad and Tobago,” Benn said.

“Sometimes the image created reminds us of the biblical story of the city of Nazareth, when Nathaniel exclaimed, “Nazareth. Can anything good come from Nazareth? We could have easily replaced Nazareth with Enterprise.

Tropical angel harps

A prominent figure in business and economics, Benn said he was often asked why he continued to live in the Enterprise.

In response over the weekend, he said he had not yet had a criminal experience and that the community continued to meet his needs as a citizen, surrounded by his family, old friends, neighbors and most services.

Benn also manages the Tropical Angel Harps Steel Orchestra, former Panorama champions and the “glue” that binds many aspects of the community together.

The band are currently touring with others and last month kicked off a series of concerts at their camp on the Old SMR, attracting fans across the country. The players are mostly younger and the series will take them around Central, including Todd’s Road. The Angel Harps will next play on Republic Day at the Settlement, Caroni Savannah Road, and Benn invited the public to celebrate at the free community concert, starting at 6 p.m.

Near the band’s camp was the famous – or infamous?

“There is something in the camp. It is considered sacred,” he said. “It’s never been touched, and people aren’t afraid to go there.”

Benn noted the expansion of electoral districts and that “politically, at the national level, the once single constituency of Chaguanas (of which Enterprise was a part) has now been expanded to Chaguanas East and Chaguanas West, while at the local government level Enterprise was split into Enterprise North and Enterprise South”.

Enterprise now includes the residential communities of Home Land Gardens and Pt Pleasant Park, he said, and “has produced leaders in many fields including sport, culture, medicine, law, academia, finance, construction, agriculture and technology”.

“Simultaneously with this growth and development, the community has also gained an image of its own on the national landscape,” he said.

Benn considers himself “a true product of Enterprise”, where he has lived all his life and married fellow “Enterprisian”, retired teacher Victoria Benn, with whom he is celebrating 53 years of marriage.

Decades ago, Enterprise Village was “considered a very rural, sleepy, close-knit community of families where everyone knew everyone who lived in the village.”

There was no primary school in the district and the children had to go to the government of Cunupia. Benn attended the government school in Longdenville and “the journey to and from school was on foot along the railway line,” he said.

Rich history

Although he thinks Enterprise has maintained a sense of community, he recalled that the villages were then more united in raising the children.

He said that “despite the shortcomings of basic facilities in the village, the inhabitants formed a very proud community”.

He noted that in the pre-independence era, they celebrated the erection of the Enterprise Coronation Community Center in 1953.

“The name Coronation was included to commemorate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1952,” he said.

It was the eighth community center to be built at T&T and was opened by then Governor Sir Hubert Rance.

“This community center is no more and its location is now occupied by the T&TEC Tropical Angel Harps Steel Orchestra,” Benn said.

Queen Elizabeth II died on September 8, 2022, and T&T celebrated its 60th anniversary of independence on August 31.

He said the community had a rich history and expressed hope for its future. However, Benn said he was often troubled to see certain crimes being reported as having taken place in the Enterprise, when they weren’t. He said recent incidents in Longdenville and other surrounding areas have been flagged as taking place at Enterprise, and called for the geography to be correct, so as not to brand and further stigmatize the community.

Benn said the church and religious organizations are also playing a bigger role in the community, bringing people together and instilling values ​​in young people. He recalled that the Enterprise Spiritual Shouter Baptist community was once one of the largest and most vibrant in the country.

Benn attended Enterprise Methodist Church as a child, and “it was in this quaint church that I was formally introduced to the teachings of the Bible, scripture, and basic Christian principles that would have served as the foundations upon which my future life to be firmly established and continued as I grew into an adult,” he said.

He said that traditionally churches have been identified as a source of vital historical data and information, highlighting the importance of preserving the country’s history.

• Part II tomorrow

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