Life in Morvant: Not just about Thugs and Bandits

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I usually pause whenever I am asked where I am from, because, people’s reactions usually piss me off. Telling people that I live in Morvant usually garners one of three responses:
1. Dead silence.
2. “Oh ho… well I ‘fraid there you know because there have plenty crime.”
3.”Doh beat meh up you know.”
Then, I have to decide whether to correct them about the notions stuck in their head (that sometimes seem to be permanently stuck there), ignore the temporary stupidity, and continue the conversation, or walk away and file them in my persona non grata list.
As a true-blue, third-generation Morvant denizen, I realize that most people know not of the Morvant of which they speak. Beyond reading the newspaper headlines that highlight crime, driving on the Lady Young, or feeling that everyone from Morvant is a ‘baddis’, how much does the average Trinbagonian know about this area?
*Insert sound of crickets.*
So, here is my attempt to tell you a few things that you may not know.
1. Morvant is not just one area
The usual misconception is that Morvant is just one area. Morvant is a huge district made up of several sub-districts – Coconut Drive, Chinapoo, Red Hill, Mon Repos, Angelina Terrace, Never Dirty, Valley Road, Marie Road, Almond Drive, Almond Court, Pelican Extension, Crichlow Hill, Caledonia, Las Alturas, and Paradise Heights…and I am sure I missed out some (doh kill meh Morvant people). These sub-districts are not just streets; they’re also fully self-contained communities. I have lived in Morvant, for over 30 years, and I still can go into a part of Morvant that I don’t know.
2. Not only bad bwoys/thugs/bandits live in Morvant
I am never one to lie and say that a criminal element does not reside in Morvant at all. That would be like saying there is no crime at all in Trinidad (and we all know that is simply not true). But go into Morvant on any given morning, and what you will most likely see is people going to work and to school. Despite what the news portrays, most of the residents of Morvant are either middle class, blue collar or service workers. So there is a mix of teachers, nurses, doctors, university students, shop workers, restaurant workers, bankers, accountants, engineers, plumbers, electricians, computer technicians, construction workers, mechanics , and other professions.
The average person in Morvant is likely to be the average person in Trinidad, just going about doing their business, trying to make a life for themselves on the right side of the law. Ah mean…a place with that many schools and churches per square mile can’t only be producing the people who will steal your cars.
3. Morvant on a whole may actually be safer than some parts of Trinidad
I know people who scoff at this statement, but I did not know how true it was until recently. When I am out of the house after 7 p.m., I have a heightened sense of safety awareness, but not to the extent of people in some communities – and these are upper class communities – where you DARE NOT be outside of after dark and if you are, you better time your journey home to the second so that someone is waiting at home to let you in. Then there are communities where, after 8 p.m., you can’t get any public transport. AT ALL.
I taxi home after 7 p.m., on a regular basis, with a lot less fear than many people I know. As for the crime part, I have lived in the same house in Morvant for 30-plus years, with only one robbery attempt. In Trinidad, in 2011, that is a damn record. Oh, and Morvant is one of the few places I know for sure where kids still play in the street and in their yards.
4. Morvant has a very strong taxi culture
This is why I can travel home at 9 p.m. and not feel so bad. Even though many people in Morvant have cars, the majority of people use route taxis to get home. Since Morvant is such a big place, there are lots of taxi drivers (‘PH’ and ‘H’), especially a core stable of regulars. There are taxi men in Morvant who have driven for years, sometimes decades, whom everybody knows. So your safety can be a bit easier to ensure, because if you want to be sure to get home, you can simply lime on Morvant stand (a time-honoured tradition), and wait for your regular.
Depending on how close the relationship is with a regular taxi driver, people can and do call their driver to find out if/when he is coming, or to do private jobs just to pick them up alone.
5. Morvant is the best of both worlds in terms of location
Even though your macocious neighbours can drive you crazy sometimes, it really can be the best of both worlds. I always say that Morvant is the closest thing to being in the country, but it is a 15-minute drive from Port of Spain. This is because a large part of Morvant is either actually on the Northern Range, or at the very foot of it.
You can wake up in the morning to cool air, frogs croaking and birds chirping. While people do plant gardens, there is also a lot of wild flora growing naturally. I get to birdwatch from my bedroom window. But, you also have the convenience of being ‘right dere’ from Port of Spain. It can be a drag at times, because you do have to travel to get some amenities, but, overall, it is a convenience, especially after a long day’s work.
6. Morvant is a food’s lover’s heaven
Morvant is a good place to be, if you like your belly. There are quite a few small, food businesses that operate all around the area. From doubles to bread, to bess chicken and chips, and many other things, you can always go ‘out de road’ to get something to eat. Additionally, because of the terrain and fertile soil, Morvant people tend to garden or just simply have fruits and veggies growing in their backyard just so. Here, there is always something to pick to eat.
You see…Morvant is so much more than what the media makes it out to be. So next time someone tells you he/she lives there, simply ask the question that makes any Morvant resident ‘cool’ – “Which part?”

I usually pause whenever I am asked where I am from, because, people’s reactions usually piss me off. Telling people that I live in Morvant usually garners one of three responses:

1. Dead silence.

2. “Oh ho… well I ‘fraid there you know because there have plenty crime.”

3.”Doh beat meh up you know.”

Then, I have to decide whether to correct them about the notions stuck in their head (that sometimes seem to be permanently stuck there), ignore the temporary stupidity, and continue the conversation, or walk away and file them in my persona non grata list.

As a true-blue, third-generation Morvant denizen, I realize that most people know not of the Morvant of which they speak. Beyond reading the newspaper headlines that highlight crime, driving on the Lady Young, or feeling that everyone from Morvant is a ‘baddis’, how much does the average Trinbagonian know about this area?

*Insert sound of crickets.*

So, here is my attempt to tell you a few things that you may not know.

1. Morvant is not just one area

The usual misconception is that Morvant is just one area. Morvant is a huge district made up of several sub-districts – Coconut Drive, Chinapoo, Red Hill, Mon Repos, Angelina Terrace, Never Dirty, Valley Road, Marie Road, Almond Drive, Almond Court, Pelican Extension, Crichlow Hill, Caledonia, Las Alturas, and Paradise Heights…and I am sure I missed out some (doh kill meh Morvant people). These sub-districts are not just streets; they’re also fully self-contained communities. I have lived in Morvant, for over 30 years, and I still can go into a part of Morvant that I don’t know.

2. Not only bad bwoys/thugs/bandits live in Morvant

I am never one to lie and say that a criminal element does not reside in Morvant at all. That would be like saying there is no crime at all in Trinidad (and we all know that is simply not true). But go into Morvant on any given morning, and what you will most likely see is people going to work and to school. Despite what the news portrays, most of the residents of Morvant are either middle class, blue collar or service workers. So there is a mix of teachers, nurses, doctors, university students, shop workers, restaurant workers, bankers, accountants, engineers, plumbers, electricians, computer technicians, construction workers, mechanics , and other professions.

The average person in Morvant is likely to be the average person in Trinidad, just going about doing their business, trying to make a life for themselves on the right side of the law. Ah mean…a place with that many schools and churches per square mile can’t only be producing the people who will steal your cars.

3. Morvant on a whole may actually be safer than some parts of Trinidad

I know people who scoff at this statement, but I did not know how true it was until recently. When I am out of the house after 7 p.m., I have a heightened sense of safety awareness, but not to the extent of people in some communities – and these are upper class communities – where you DARE NOT be outside of after dark and if you are, you better time your journey home to the second so that someone is waiting at home to let you in. Then there are communities where, after 8 p.m., you can’t get any public transport. AT ALL.

I taxi home after 7 p.m., on a regular basis, with a lot less fear than many people I know. As for the crime part, I have lived in the same house in Morvant for 30-plus years, with only one robbery attempt. In Trinidad, in 2011, that is a damn record. Oh, and Morvant is one of the few places I know for sure where kids still play in the street and in their yards.

4. Morvant has a very strong taxi culture

This is why I can travel home at 9 p.m. and not feel so bad. Even though many people in Morvant have cars, the majority of people use route taxis to get home. Since Morvant is such a big place, there are lots of taxi drivers (‘PH’ and ‘H’), especially a core stable of regulars. There are taxi men in Morvant who have driven for years, sometimes decades, whom everybody knows. So your safety can be a bit easier to ensure, because if you want to be sure to get home, you can simply lime on Morvant stand (a time-honoured tradition), and wait for your regular.

Depending on how close the relationship is with a regular taxi driver, people can and do call their driver to find out if/when he is coming, or to do private jobs just to pick them up alone.

5. Morvant is the best of both worlds in terms of location

Even though your macocious neighbours can drive you crazy sometimes, it really can be the best of both worlds. I always say that Morvant is the closest thing to being in the country, but it is a 15-minute drive from Port of Spain. This is because a large part of Morvant is either actually on the Northern Range, or at the very foot of it.

You can wake up in the morning to cool air, frogs croaking and birds chirping. While people do plant gardens, there is also a lot of wild flora growing naturally. I get to birdwatch from my bedroom window. But, you also have the convenience of being ‘right dere’ from Port of Spain. It can be a drag at times, because you do have to travel to get some amenities, but, overall, it is a convenience, especially after a long day’s work.

6. Morvant is a food’s lover’s heaven

Morvant is a good place to be, if you like your belly. There are quite a few small, food businesses that operate all around the area. From doubles to bread, to bess chicken and chips, and many other things, you can always go ‘out de road’ to get something to eat. Additionally, because of the terrain and fertile soil, Morvant people tend to garden or just simply have fruits and veggies growing in their backyard just so. Here, there is always something to pick to eat.

You see…Morvant is so much more than what the media makes it out to be. So next time someone tells you he/she lives there, simply ask the question that makes any Morvant resident ‘cool’ – “Which part?”

 

Image credit: Flickr; caribbeanfreephoto

Nicole G. Henry

Nicole Henry is currently pursuing a degree in Sociology with a minor in Social Policy at The University of the West Indies. She has a special place in her heart for disability and mental health issues. She also loves to write, and her taste in music ranges from gospel and soft rock to classical, roots and zydeco (Google that). Domiciled in the 'safe' suburb of Morvant, she is seeking to further fund her addiction to Bijoux Terner and Wonderful World merchandise.

15 Comments

  1. Dhanny

    August 15, 2011 at 6:58 am

    Loved this article…..
    Born and raised in Morvant myself, I have to agree with the embarassment of saying where you were from, the bad reputation Morvant had, the convenience to Port-of-Spain but also of it’s beauty.
    I left Morvant many many years ago but my sister still lives there. I believe the only transformation has been that it’s more populated.. As a young girl, I never felt afraid while living there but that could’ve been because everyone was afraid of my dad. HAHA!!

    Again, I loved your article. thanks for sharing

    • Ava

      July 9, 2017 at 2:43 pm

      I too enjoyed this article I am from Juniper Road.

  2. Bombshell

    July 29, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    Thank you very much!!! I totally understand!

  3. Warrior Empress

    July 30, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    I Loved the article I was born in Maloney when I say I am from Maloney people look at me like oh my gosh really! They say all the bad things about it crime, poverty, People never take time out to see the good part of anything.

    • Ava

      July 9, 2017 at 2:44 pm

      I moved to Maloney a few years later , but my grandmother and aunt remained on Juniper road, my aunt actually still lives there and it upsets me sometimes for her to say that she needs to be in by 6.

  4. Tapana

    May 26, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    A well balanced article about my home town. Similar to the writer I usually choked during my early days of disclosing my roots moreso originally from the Laventille. I eventually got the courage announcing proudly that I am from Morvant.

    Nonetheless we can for the most part reminisce on Morvant as many of our treasures is being washed away by new values of the new inhabitants whether they are of our fruit or exchange of title. I do miss my Morvant.

  5. Popo daughter

    May 1, 2014 at 11:43 pm

    Thank you for summing up my hometown, I love being born and bred in Morvant, and I am proud to say that I am from Morvant.

    • Michael

      July 25, 2016 at 7:03 pm

      Born in Morvant, left there in the 60’s at age 16, Ebonites, and Vat 19 Serenaders, Morvant EC school Chinapoo school. I attended to Eastern Boys. Morvant was a fun place in the day. as stated it was a self contained part of Trinidad. You had Rex theatre, clubs and groceries and small parlors. We just had a lot of fun growing up on the hill ( Red Hill) in those times the population on the hill was no more than two hundred, a very different time. just as a time line ” John street and Perseverance street were in my time.We just had a lot of fun on the hill.

  6. Gillian

    March 1, 2017 at 10:56 am

    Great people come out of Morvant. I grew up in Chrysanthemum Drive and loved everyday of it. I left at the age of 14 for life in the US playing basketball. I got a full scholarship to college. I graduated from North Carolina State with two degrees. Following my love and passion for basketball, I was drafted in the WNBA by the Washington Mystic. I represent my country and my area Morvant very strong. I love my area and great people come for Morvant.

  7. Aysha

    March 2, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    I was born and grown in Morvant, still living there. On my street children play in the road or at their neighbors until 8-9, (my children are in by six when younger though). I really appreciate this article. I proudly say I am from Morvant however – I always articulate the “vant” and never say Mova. I learned early I would not be called back in a job interview because of this. I still continue to walk the road after 9:00pm to this day.

  8. Michael young

    March 2, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    I love this article very much because I was born in Morvant lived inMon Repo Crow Trace Chinapoo my house is in Chinapoo and I go back every year and when I retire in the next 3yrs by Jah grace there’s where I am going Love and Respect

  9. Carla V

    March 2, 2017 at 7:32 pm

    Wonderful read😊
    Makes me want to add Visiting Morvant with a friend on my sight seeing list.
    Lovely article, highlights all that makes living in Trinidad so beautiful.

  10. Lennie

    March 3, 2017 at 4:57 am

    Great article. I think we used to go to the same church as well. 😊 I remember you. Though I left Morvant a little over 10 years now, it’s the place where I grew up for 26 years prior to moving. It had its moments but it was a nice mix of country life and city. I lived in Chinapoo as well. I faced similar prejudices when I said I lived Morvant which I had to defend as well. Persons who never lived there are totally ignorant to how life is there. Mind you, like you said Morvant is not just one isolated area. It’s so many. You did a good job listings the districts too!!!👍🏾. I enjoyed my childhood days there. 4 generations of my family grew up there and our memories of our little village is still strong in our psyche. #chinapoomassive 😉

  11. Taneeka Bournes

    March 3, 2017 at 10:46 am

    I love love love this I am also from morvant pelican extension to b exact I love my morvant I too went tru my prejudices but I stayed tru to my hometown if dey ain’t wnat to hire me is their lost cause we mova woman love to WK we ain’t fraid no job and we like to look nice and dress we kids so we wkng overtime travelling is no scene since we get car anytime and we drivers is who we grow up with so everybody knw everybody d best life ever #morvanttomyheart

    • Empress

      March 30, 2017 at 4:44 pm

      I myself live in morvant more than 30 years and morvant is one of the best area to live with nice people. It is also an area where many sporting activities take place daily especially during holiday time..People will always speak of what they know nothing about. Once the media say something people feel its accurate but most times its far from the true.People need to visit the area and stop profiling it, then they will know the real morvant.

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