Cepep: No contracts given to gang leaders

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

A large group of CEPEP workers clean along the Arima Old Road in D’Abadie. FILE PHOTO – ROGER JACOB

THE Cepep company has distanced itself from claims that it issued a contract to a man which sparked gang violence in Morvant resulting in two murders and a house being firebombed.

The fight for the spoils of the contract is alleged to be the motive behind the murders of Reynold Victor and Keston Alves.

Alves, of Second Caledonia, Morvant is the cousin of a murder accused from the area. He was killed on Monday afternoon when two gunmen ran into a clothing store Threadz and killed him. A day later, in supposed retaliation, Victor, the brother of another murder accused, also from Second Caledonia, Morvant was killed. He was shot dead while standing at the corner of Second Street and Saddle Road, San Juan.

A day after Victor was killed, his childhood home was firebombed by ten-gun toting, flambeaux-throwing men.

In a daily newspaper report following the firebombing, the jostle for the contract was said to be the motive that the men went to war. One murder accused was reported to have received the contract and sub-contracted it to the other, who, angry at his pittance, waged war.

While the newspaper article did not name any of the murder accused alleged to have been sharing the contract, Cepep in its release said: “Internal checks by the company confirmed that none of the persons mentioned in the newspaper article are in receipt of any Cepep contract. The public is asked to report any information on gang activity within the programme to the Company as well as the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service.”

The release added that Cepep does not engage gangs and “condemns all gang violence.”

It added that it does not subcontract work as subcontracting of work is cause for immediate termination from the programme.

“There is a stringent criterion for prequalification of contractors. When a pre-qualification notice is advertised, interested parties can apply for pre-qualification” the release said, adding that some of the criteria include a certificate of character, history in business and volunteerism.

The release said each team comprises 30 workers. These workers are paid fortnightly while contractors are paid a monthly management fee of $21,999.62 – VAT exclusive.