SEEMINGLY behind God’s back is Train Line Village.
At the start of the year, the close-knit, once peaceful community was rocked when two people were murdered and two others injured, including a teenager who was killed in front of a temple.
Then, this month, a 26-year-old mother was killed by gunmen who barged into her home. Her one-month-old son, three-year-old daughter and six-year-old son were in the bedroom of the house when she was murdered.
Thereafter followed even more terror. Three house were burned down.
The first house, according to reports, belonged to the murdered woman’s sister
Next, two homes, belonging to two brothers, were subject to suspected arson attacks on Sunday. The wooden structures were burnt to the ground. Only bits of galvanise and wood were left among the rubble. The brothers lost everything.
Yet calls for a greater police presence in the area have, as far as can be gleaned, fallen on deaf ears.
“Everybody fearing for their lives,” one of the arson victims said. “The police not doing nothing.”
Meanwhile, residents have reported receiving threats and being asked to pay “taxes” to criminals. Some have packed their belongings and moved elsewhere. Tempers flared on Sunday when a reporter from this newspaper visited the area, with a verbal confrontation erupting between two groups.
Even the workings of the SWAHA’s Sukh Shanti Bhakti Mandali Hindu Temple at the heart of the community, which has tried to maintain peace and order, have been interfered with by criminal elements.
“Be careful,” was the chilling warning of SWAHA Trinidad head pundit Hardeo Persad to our reporter on a visit to the community. “Do your duty, but don’t go there alone.”
Such are the fault lines, invisible or otherwise shown by a trail of blood and fire, that have become entrenched in this relatively small village, a village of less than two dozen households.
It is beyond belief that in today’s day and age, a community can be placed under siege in such a devastating way that the right to life, the right to the enjoyment of property and the right to free movement have all been effectively suspended by nefarious, shadowy elements.
Law enforcement authorities must come to grips with this situation, which has been going on for far too long.
Officials need to move beyond ideas and theories of what is happening and proffer evidence, enforce the law through detection and deter further wrongdoing through visibility and an enhanced presence.
It is not good enough for this matter to be dismissed as a local issue.
Nor is it good enough to ascribe spiritual reasons for the area’s descent. We need to do more than simply hope for the best for this beleaguered community.