Pundits: East Indians Under Siege in Aranguez 

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‘As a people and ethnicity in Trinidad and Tobago we are under attack. We see ourselves as targeted. And we cannot change the attackers. They are who they are’ – Pundit Satyanand Maharaj

 By Prior Beharry

THE recent crime spate in Aranguez has been perpetrated against East Indians by miscreants along the East-West corridor.

This was the claim being made by two pundits Bramanand Rambachan and Satyanand Maharaj at a press conference on Wednesday. 

They were speaking at a press conference with other pundits Umdatt Maharaj and Jairam Seeram along with Imams Imtiaz Ali and Kazim Ali at Madeo’s Mini Plaza in Aranguez at the site where businessman Cheval Ramjattan was murdered outside his pharmacy last week. 


The conference was held after crime in the San Juan district including home invasions, robberies and shop lifting have been on the rise. On the Easter weekend a family in Aranguez was robbed and terrorised on Ramlal Street.

Pundit Bramanand Rambachan

Rambachan said, “What is most apparent is that home invasions and attacks on businesses have been directed predominantly at East Indians. 


“It is regrettable to have to say that East Indians are under siege by the criminals. The potential for civil strife looms larger because people sooner or later are going to defend themselves.” 

“Whether we accept it or not, many East Indian communities are beginning to take steps right here… Valsayn has initiated that… It is a reaction to the inaction by the authorities. An analysis of the geography of the home invasions tell a sordid tale of what is a reality.” 

Maharaj claimed that the San Juan district has the highest murder and crime rates in the country. 

He called for an increase in police patrols saying that there we all kinds of crime in the area including robberies, and shoplifting. Maharaj said Aranguez was like a ghost town at night. “When you see people, they are not from here,” he said. 

Maharaj said Aranguez had a high crime rate although it was surrounded by police stations – the Inter-Agency Task Force in Lower Aranguez, the Barataria Police Station, a police post on San Juan Main Road and the San Juan Police Station. He said, “How is it possible being surrounded by so many police stations we are not safe.” 

He said during public holidays, police would set up speed traps but more people died in the country from murders than traffic accidents. Maharaj said, “I would much prefer that we bring the murder rate down than the speeding rate.” 

The pundit said there was notion by criminals that Aranguez residents were wealthy. 


He said, “They seem to think that Aranguez people have money but what you are seeing is generational wealth. It took generations to build some of the houses you see. Some of the businesses, generations to build it up, it did not come overnight.” 

Maharaj said, “We have no guns… We have no right to shoot back. The bandits don’t operate by the same rules as us. We are being picked off, one-by-one-by-one.” 

 He agreed with Rambachan that there was the need to reengineer society to have morals, ethics and values with religious leaders playing a greater role. He said former prime minister Patrick Manning had a plan to send religious leaders to help in crime hotspots with a $5million budget in 2009 but that fell apart when he lost general elections a year later. 

Maharaj said, “The crime in Aranguez is against East Indian people because we live in Aranguez. We are the ones being targeted.

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 He added, “But the perpetrators are not East Indians, the urban youth the miscreants of the (East-West) corridor. Those who have been allowed to fall through the cracks of society and emerge postpubescent to terrorise because they going to look for a lil change to give to their mother because their mother have 14 and 15 children to mind.” 

Maharaj said, “This is what we facing, we have to call it what we call it you know, call it what we see it.”

Click here to read pundits’ solution to crime in Trinidad and Tobago 

He said, “But the way to do it is not lock them up, if you lock them up, you send them to university. That jail is like the university for them where they get to network with bigger criminals. We need to do it before they commit they crime.”

Maharaj said the people must keep the pressure up by writing, speaking out and blogging.  

He said Aranguez was no longer a village but a suburb of Port of Spain. 

Maharaj said, “We are not the food basket of the nation anymore, but we are ripe for the picking from criminal elements.” 

 He said, “When you are robbed and you are asked to describe the perpetrator, you describe him in a certain way. And this is all the crime that is being committed in Aranguez.”


A man disturbed the conference saying that what Maharaj was saying was not true. 

He refused to give his name, but said what Maharaj was not speaking the truth. He said he was one of the people very active in crime solving in Aranguez and what Maharaj was saying was nonsense and racist.  He said that people were bringing in tenants who were doing the crime.

After the man left, Maharaj said that saying that landlords were renting to anyone was not so. 

 Maharaj said, “We want to be safe.” 

Asked if he was inciting people by what he was saying, Maharaj said, “Racism in this country is one of the best kept open secrets.” 

He said “a portion” of society was traditionally shielded from blame. 

Maharaj described the perpetrators of crime as miscreants of the East-West corridor who were the “the urban youth gang members.”

He said, “These are people who do not care and have respect for life. Death is a final thing… death is not a video game death.” 


 Maharaj said, “We need to face what has been happening.” 

He said the Araguez community was under attack. 

 Maharaj said, “As a people and ethnicity in Trinidad and Tobago we are under attack. We see ourselves as targeted.  And we cannot change the attackers. They are who they are.” 

He said, “If it is that the state allows children to be grown in communities where they are at risk because of the lifestyle of their parents of becoming their parents, then we have to ask ourselves do we really care.” 


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