Dear Editor: Sports and social activities can cope with the rise in corporate crime

“[…] What we see happening did not happen overnight. This is the result of neglect of the community and young people by those with the power to help, such as their local representatives, the MP and the mayor.

“[…] It should be understood that participation in sports and social activities reduces some of the negative outcomes associated with living in marginalized or underserved communities – more so, social interaction teaches individuals how to work with others, recognize each other’s strengths and work as a team. This is vital in communities like Enterprise…”

The following letter to the editor about the supposed root of the current crime wave in Enterprise, Chaguanas and how to fix it was submitted to Wired868 by a ‘concerned resident’:

A thug shows his gun.

You would all have seen a drastic escalation in criminal activity in the Enterprise community lately. A once peaceful community that was thrust into the limelight in 2015, when for the first time a turf war began with neighboring communities fighting each other.

As a member of the community, you will understand the various social issues that have plagued the community over the years: poor parenting, poverty, unemployment, single parenthood, drug addiction, juvenile delinquency, to name a few.

KFC Munch Pack

Yet the ugly face of crime and criminal activity has never shown its bold face as it does today. Don’t get me wrong, there has always been a bad stigma, but it was worse than the reality at the time.

Admittedly, reality is now a frightening sight. To think that armed individuals would resort to opening fire on a playground in a tight-knit community like Enterprise, ultimately killing an innocent aspiring footballer on a pitch where kids are playing practically right outside their door.

Chaguanas North Secondary striker Arron Raymond (left) pressures Moruga Secondary defender Justin Ochoa during SSFL Premier Division action at African Grounds, Enterprise on October 8, 2022.
The SSFL has suspended all football matches at African Grounds due to an off-field murder on Saturday October 15, 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

Things seem totally out of control and immediate intervention must take place to curb this situation. It has become a situation where parents are uncomfortable sending their children outside their own doorstep. Children no longer feel safe in their own community and social activities have ceased. Stopped !

So what went wrong in Enterprise?

What we see happening did not happen overnight. This is the result of neglect of the community and young people by those with the power to help, such as their local representatives, the MP and the mayor.

The reality is that in the Enterprise community, the Enterprise North and South community lands have been neglected. For months they are not maintained, the fields remain overgrown, the surfaces are unplayable and the playgrounds are dirty and dilapidated, which prevents children from using them.

These are familiar sites in most recreational lands in and around Enterprise: Postman Recreational-Crown Trace, Dass Trace, and Chrisse Trace. This has been a recurring problem for more than two years, despite cries for help.

A snapshot of the Crown Trace Savannah in October 2022.

Outdoor sports, recreation and social groups in the community, which help with social intervention, are deprived of the opportunity to help at-risk youth in the community because there are no longer safe spaces to go about their business.

It is therefore not a problem that has been exacerbated by negligence.

It should be understood that participation in sports and social activities reduces some of the negative outcomes associated with living in marginalized or underserved communities – more so, social interaction teaches individuals how to work with others, recognize each other’s strengths and work as a team. This is vital in communities such as Enterprise.

When we talk about immediate intervention, it goes far beyond the installation of a police station with officers who walk around the community. What we need is the possibility of having spaces where social interaction can occur so that the mindset of young people can be changed.

An image of the dilapidated Postman Recreational Basketball Court in October 2022.

For too long they have been inactive through no fault of their own.

Children of all backgrounds and socio-economic statuses deserve the opportunity to experience the benefits of sport and social interaction, and the positive impact it has on their community. The list of benefits could go on and on.

That’s what went wrong in Enterprise!

Joel C. Hicks