When I lived in Plaistow, I used to pass through Canning Town often, and, admittedly, I don’t have any special memories of the suburb which is one of the busiest areas in Newham.
There’s bus after bus on the already jammed Barking Road, groups of boys in hoodies on the streets and kebab shops sliced between colourful African hairdressers and stuffy internet cafes. A 2000 government survey ranked the area as London's most deprived ward.
It is also probably one of the more dangerous parts of Newham. This weekend, 17-year old Biendi “Bobby” Litambola (pictured) was assaulted in the area, making him the 24th teenager to be murdered in London this year.
Last year Peter Woodhams (22), a young father, was murdered near his home in Canning Town, having suffered taunts from a local gang.
Bobby’s brother Sammy told the BBC: "Most of the teenagers killed this year are black and most of it is black on black crime. How can we explain this? It's not the police doing it, it's not other races doing it, we are doing it to ourselves. We need to stamp it out."
Hopefully, Sammy's words will be taken seriously.
May Bobby rest in peace.
Friday, 23 November 2007
Friday, 16 November 2007
One of the first things I heard about the new Queens hospital in Romford, Essex, was clearly negative – some one moaning about how bad the service “despite all the money the government – and hence the tax payer – has splashed on it!”.
Then I recently came across a story in the Ilford Recorder where a pregnant mother refused to give birth at the hospital.
The woman visited the hospital bleeding and in pain and claims that, after waiting more than 5 hours, she was dismissed and given two paracetemols when no consultants were available.
She said she’d rather give birth at the back of her husband’s van than at Queens Hospital – yes, it was that bad.
But is Queens that bad? Is it staffed with heartless nurses who discharge bleeding women with 2 paracetmols?
I tried to get the facts on the hospital and (what joy!) when I logged onto a site for the hospital and saw a Facts and Figures link. I thought I’d get some serious stuff about the place – but lo and behold - some of the facts were:
- The hospital is made up of approximately 1.5 million bricks
- There are 1186 alcohol dispensers
- The new hospital building footprint occupies 8.5 hectares of the 14.5 hectare site, almost 12 football pitches if applying FiFA regulations.
I hurriedly clicked off this page – for obvious reasons – and googled more about Queens.
Whereupon I came across a site for
who were discussing if they recommend Queens hospital.
I stumbled across a comment from one Pali who said her sister-in-law had a baby there and it was lovely. Pali did say, however, that the matron was quite abrupt. Another said most of the staff are good but some bad.
However you see it, if you live in the Havering area, count your blessings that you got Queens, because King George’s Hospital in Redbridge has been downgraded and women are being forced to go outside Redbridge to have their babies.
So at least you got a hospital – and that’s a lot better than the back of a van, believe me!
Tuesday, 13 November 2007
I was at university yesterday morning when I glanced up a TV screen in the passage to see the news that a warehouse in Stratford had caught fire.
‘What!’ I gasped to my classmate, ‘I hope that place is not near our house,’ I said, picturing the house, the people and my valuables (yes, I do have a few!) being destroyed.
It turned out the fire was at this one warehouse on Waterden Road, right at the Olympics site in Stratford, close to our house – but nowhere near enough to destroy it. At the time the story broke it appeared, according to news reports, that it may have been started by terrorists. Why terrorists would chose to blow up an empty warehouse may baffle some. But then again, this presumably empty warehouse is significantly located on the Olympics site.
‘It’s quite serious,’ I heard a man behind me say, ‘you can actually see the smoke from here in North London.’
‘Of course not,’ I said rather shakily, ‘it can’t be that bad. Surely, you can’t see a bit of smoke in East London from up here in North London.’
My friend indicated I was implying that the man was a liar. So I tried to make light of it and went away.
But it has occurred to me how hard it must be to be busy in a lecture at school or getting on with your job, only to turn on the telly and see your home up in smoke because it has probably been blown up by terrorists.
Yet some people go through this almost everyday. Is this what we’ll experience during the Olympics?
But as the day wore on, the police said the fire was not being treated as a terrorist incident.
By the time I got to Stratford in the evening, there was no sign of a breaking-news-fire. No, not even a whiff of the smoke that could be seen for miles across North London skies.
Monday, 5 November 2007
Newham police have recently been in trouble with a local Christian People Alliance councillor, Simeon Ademolake.
According to the CPA’s newsletter, Simeon and his wife Grace were at home when two policemen and a bailiff unlawfully entered their home and harassed Grace and destroyed photographic evidence of their assault on Simeon, who ended up in hospital.
I tried to grasp what actually happened here and I imagined Grace, probably, taking pictures while her poor husband was being assaulted.
Then I pictured the hefty bailiff grab the camera from Grace and trample it under his big boots (while the policemen kept punching or shoving Simeon around).
The question is who do you call when police are attacking you brutally? Clearly not the Police!
But wait – there’s more – Simeon was then charged! I know … it’s shocking.
My eyes raced to the end of the newsletter to find out what became of this bizarre case.
A picture of Simeon and his colleagues Cllrs Alan Craig and Denise Stafford smiling and sipping champagne gave a good hint.
The verdict: Simeon was completely cleared by Snaresbrook Crown Court of assaulting police.
Is police misbehaviour unique to East London? Simeon may have the answer.