Downtown PoS business owners saddened, disappointed by nearby student fights

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

A group of schoolboys throw bottles and other objects at a rival group of schoolboys during a violent confrontation on Independence Square, Port of Spain, on March 17 as pedestrians look on. – NEWSDAY PHOTOGRAPHER

ALTHOUGH they are not concerned for their safety and it is not affecting their business, downtown Port of Spain business owners say they are saddened by how regularly schoolchildren engage in fights in the area.

Newsday visited several businesses on Wednesday afternoon and spoke with workers and owners.

One saleswoman at Eastside Plaza on Charlotte Street said while the students did not fight inside the plaza, it often happened near the entrance.

She said she “tries not to take it on.”

Several other business owners on Charlotte Street told Newsday they disliked seeing students involved in fights and those mainly happened at the upper and lower sections of the street.

At Independence Square, a bakery owner said she felt annoyed and irritated when she saw such fights, adding that one even happened right in front of her store on Tuesday.

“It is upsetting, especially the way you see some of them fighting like if they want to kill the other person.”

But she said it did not affect her business and had not led her to consider moving her business elsewhere.

A fruit vendor said it is sad to see how schoolchildren had become in TT.

“Fights don’t happen directly by my stall but nearby. It is really disappointing to see children engaging in this kind of behaviour. It hurts my heart.”

A doubles vendor said that, as a parent, he felt sad any time he saw the fights happening. He said a huge crowd of people always gathered around his stall to watch and record nearby fights.

“When you see the way some of them are behaving, you can’t feel any other thing but sadness and wish that it was not happening.”

On Henry Street, business owners told Newsday there was a relatively strong police presence so fights were not a common occurrence there.

Earlier this week, Port of Spain city police said they were taking steps to mitigate fights among schoolchildren downtown by deploying more officers in strategic locations.