Malabar residents praise police work

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Israel Rodney, 12, a member of the Malabar Police Club, gives a speech at the town meeting as Police PRO Michelle Lewis looks on. – Joey Bartlett

Malabar residents had nothing but praise for Malabar police officers, led by Sgt Paula Hospedales, at Wednesday’s police town hall meeting.

Israel Rodney, a member of the Malabar Police Club, thanked officers for assisting the young people in the community and forming the club in the latter part of 2022, calling it quite timely.

He made the remarks at the meeting held at the Malabar Phase Four Community Centre on Holly Betaudier Street.

Rodney said officers investments in the community had allowed them a lot of opportunities and helped them find their career paths.

“The club commenced during a period where most of us were isolated and young people became very comfortable with less interaction.

“For some of us, we became fixated on our devices and there was a decrease in hyperactivity. The police itself provided an environment away from home where we were encouraged to socialise, which I believe really helped.”

Rodney said the club met every Saturday from 2-4 pm at Malabar Secondary School and believed that, because of the club, his communication had improved. And through fundraisers, members were able to raise funds to help the club grow and cover some of its expenses while teaching them savings and other financial practices.

Speaking with Newsday after the meeting, the 12-year-old El Dorado West Sceondary School pupil said he had decided to join the club after his father encouraged him. Rodney said he was interested in learning more about policing and about interacting with other young people who had the same interest.

He wants to become a police officer and believes a police youth club would be beneficial to all schools in TT.

Sisters Nadine and Cherish Williams, who gave their address as Trainline, said they did not come to bash police but were dissatisfied with the service they were given when officers patrolled their area.

Arima mayor Balliram Maharaj praised residents for their turnout and urged them to return to a time when “we are our brother’s keeper,” saying he did not know where we are going with the current state of crime.

“We could be a big help to the police by giving information, information, information is what officers need.”

He warned parents about their children, who aren’t working but have a large sum of cash and expensive clothing.

“If your child is not working, find out where they are getting money. If you know there’s a gun in your house and you say nothing, you’re just as guilty.”

Maharaj called himself fortunate to be a founding member of Crime Stoppers and stressed the importance of communities working together.

“Something is not going right in the world. When I attended school, God was present. Jesus, in the morning and evening, things were falling apart. We need to get back to God. There are single parents in your neighbourhood, you have to look out for those children. We have to help people.”

He called on students to take pride in their uniforms and the way they dressed, criticising what he calls a lack of proper attire.

“Pants sagging, slippers, and socks.”

After his speech, Mahararj left for another event but ended by saying he is always willing to work with the communities in his borough to help fight crime.