The stands of this basketball court in John John, with writings welcoming Prime Minister Patrick Manning on Monday, initially carried obscenities. The graffiti was painted over just before Manning got to the community.
BY GEISHA KOWLESSAR
Monica Hackshaw-Charles smiles lovingly at her nine-year-old grandson Justin.
Afflicted with cerebral palsy, the little boy who has just started to walk, takes tentative steps as he opens his arms for his 61-year-old grandmother.
Standing in her one-bedroom home at John John, Laventille, Hackshaw-Charles ponders the fate of her grandchild.
“I need help, and the Government just not interested in poor people,” she said angrily.
Also caring for four other grandchildren, the youngest being three, Hackshaw-Charles has turned a claustrophobic room barely measuring ten feet by ten feet into a home.
“Look at his place? You think it right for me and my grandchildren to be living in a place like this?” she asked.
“If Manning want to help, then help the poor people,” the frustrated, grey-haired woman added.
Hackshaw-Charles’ home fits snugly under a wooden structure in which another family lives.
“Since my place burn down in 1998 I have no home... I living here because people move out,” she said.
Devoid of a living room, gallery and proper toilet facilities, Hackshaw-Charles shares her single middle-sized bed with her grandchildren.
Her small stove is placed just at the entrance of the bedroom.
With no place to play indoors, the children spend most of their spare time looking at television or romping outside.
Saying she was “very unimpressed” with the Prime Minister’s presence in the area on Monday, Hackshaw-Charles was critical of the Manning regime.
“Less than ten John John people came out to see Manning, the rest was from outside who come in maxi,” she said.
“Around the basketball court they paint nasty cuss words when people hear Manning coming, but they hire people to paint it over fast, fast before he reach.”
Although she boasted of being “PNM from small,” the elderly woman said she has had enough.
“Is an election year... Manning looking for votes but people in John John not interested,” she said.
Echoing Hackshaw-Charles’ statements, Cepep worker Stacey-Ann Job said she, too, would not be putting her “X” by the balisier.
“Cepep workers want benefits... We want a medical plan,” she said.
“If something happen to us we have nothing to get.”
Saying she makes $700 a fortnight, Job, a mother of two young children, bemoaned the “uncaring” Manning administration.
“I can barely buy groceries. I have bills to pay. I have books and sneakers to buy. Where is the caring government Manning boast about?” she asked angrily.
Job also criticised Manning’s plans to demolish houses in Laventille and replace them with new structures.
“After I work so hard to build a place somebody will come and mash it down?” she asked.
“I and the rest of Laventille will never stand for that,” she said.
Fifty-four-year-old Carlton Gibbs believes, however, if Manning rebuilds John John, those residents would be out of the area for good.
“Is a ploy to get we out of here... They want to rebuild the place but we would not be coming back here,” he said.
“Manning have his own people he bringing in,” Gibbs charged.
He, too, added that he would like to see someone “other than Manning” take over the reigns of the Government.
Gibbs’ neighbour, Philbert Bonus, 39, said the last time he saw Manning walk through his community was five years ago when the general election was approaching.
Describing the Prime Minister’s walkabout on Monday as a “gimmick,” Bonus insisted Manning had neglected the entire Laventille community.
“Manning need to go way up in Laventille where people still messing in bags and throwing it in dust bins... Where there is no running water,” he said.
“He just walk up and down the main road to prove what? Nothing.”
What John John residents want:
Day care/pre-school facilities
Day care/pre-school facilities
It fockin good for all yuh. No matter how hard somebody try to show all yuh that the PNM does treat all yuh like shit and fockin slave, just say election and all yuh does get totolbay. Will eat ah fockin Balisier.
Niggas so fockin stupid, all this complaint and writing up on the wall only going to last ah fockin day. Just pass wid ah maxi and tell all yuh fockers we goin PNM meeting and for the free ride all yuh will push ah fockin Balisier up all yuh asshole. All yuh easy to bribe and buy, that is why the fockin PNM does take advantage of all yuh.
All niggas up in Laventille deserve to live in the shit and squalor because all yuh love it, just to get ah CEPEP wok.
Anyhow fock all yuh yes. By next week all forget that and is PNM till ah fockin dead.