Residents march against drugs

2015-11-10 06:00
Community members marched this past weekend to send a stern warning to drug dealers that they are not tolerated in Maitland or Kensington. PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

Community members marched this past weekend to send a stern warning to drug dealers that they are not tolerated in Maitland or Kensington. PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

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Members of the Maitland Community Police Forum and local neighbourhood watches, as well as residents and police officers marched through the streets of Maitland and Kensington to voice their frustration about drugs that are destroying the future of their community.

The anti-drug march, to raise awareness of the devastating effects that drugs have on the youth, took place on Saturday. The marchers started at Maitland town hall and walked through Kensington all the way up to Coronation Road and back to where it started.

Along the way they chanted slogans and sang to send across a message that they were sick and tired of drug dealers.

They stopped at six hotspots where drugs are sold to make it clear they were aware of the drugs sold to their children and they wanted it to stop.

Vanessa Hendricks, a Kensington resident, said she took part in the march as she has seen the devastating effects drugs had on children.

“I drive this road every day and I see how our children are being destroyed by the merchants. They deal in drugs outside and they are selling them to young children. They pretend to be playing pool, yet in fact they are dragging our kids into drugs.

“We are sick and tired of them. We can’t take it anymore, we want a change. Though we are marching a lot has to be done as Maitland is getting worse. Our children are dying. These clubs along the road are always in the dark, so there is nothing good that can come out of them,” she said.

Another resident, Michael Prag, said children were fed drugs and it had to stop.

“Parents are trying all they can to raise their children in the right way, but these drug dealers are destroying them. Drugs are a problem and it’s time that we take a stand as a community. The drug dealers don’t care; they sell to anyone no matter what their age and that is destroying our community. Due to the use of drugs we now have a lot of crime like burglaries, robberies and gangsterism. We want our streets back and we will not allow the drug dealers and merchants to ruin the future of our children. We are taking back the streets and saying no to drugs,” he said.

Ward councillor Lisa Mcbride said she praised those who came out to take ownership of their streets.

“They are an example to the whole ward as to what needs to be done to see real improvement and growth and peace in our communities,” she said.

Police also said they were not taking things lying down.

Constable Lorencial Johnson, Maitland police station spokesperson, said they were working around the clock to make sure criminals were brought to book.

“We will continue to raid and search all the hotspots.

“People are getting arrested and it’s a pity that the job of selling drugs is an easy one. When we arrest someone, another one easily takes up the job. However, that will not deter us. We are watching and we will not let them destroy our community. We will continue to arrest those who are found on the wrong side of the law,” he said.

JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security, also took part in the march and promised the residents that something would be done.

“We will do several operations and makes sure the area is clean of drugs,” he said.

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