A watchman had to run for his life after intruders made a failed attempt to steal livestock at the Chatham Youth Development and Apprenticeship Centre in Cedros on Saturday night. Angry that they could not get at their intended bounty, the thieves torched the watchman’s car before leaving the site. Fearful for their safety, the 30-plus employees at the centre are now calling for proper security measures and lighting at the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs-run facility, which was established in 1966. Recalling the frightening ordeal yesterday, Davanand Seetaram, 49, who has been working there for the last 15 years, said around 11.45 pm on Saturday, he heard a noise to the back of the compound where they keep the animals which include cattle, goat, sheep, pigs and ducks. Saying that area was pitch black in the night, he recalled, “When I flashed my flashlight I hear a voice say ‘they coming.’ I run, but I did not see anybody.” While he was running out the compound towards the main road, Seetaram said he looked back and saw his burgundy Almera on fire. He called a co-worker, the centre’s director, the police and his relatives. Nothing appeared to be stolen from the centre, but the hinges of sheep’s pen were broken, Seetaram explained. The employees believe the intruders went to steal the animals. The centre is a training camp for youths interested in masonry, woodwork, carpentry, agriculture and other skills. The employees said over the past few years they have had several break-ins and larcenies—the most recent being four days ago when the air condition unit was stolen. Employee Ramsajan Manohar said the lighting system was very poor and there are no lights at the back where the farm area is housed. Another employee, Depoo Baldeosingh, complained, “We not taking no chances to go in the back there (in the night). We have no form of protection. We are not going to risk our lives.” Baldeosingh was hired as a handyman, but like Seetaram, who was hired to care for the animals, they have to double up on their jobs because of a shortage of workers. “It getting more and more worse because look at where it reach to now. My co-worker’s car burn down. What if he lose his life, what they will say next?” Is a real terrible situation on our job site. We need some sort of action,” lamented Baldeosingh. Cedros Councillor Shankar Teelucksingh said the situation at the centre was alarming and immediate steps must be taken to address the employees’ safety and manpower shortage concerns. With $.5 million worth of livestock at the compound and no ongoing apprentice programme, Teelucksingh called on Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and Sports Minister Shamfa Cudjoe to indicate what is the plan for the centre. Teelucksingh said it appears as though the Government plans to shut down the facility, noting three years ago they shelved refurbishment works for the facility and workers have since been sent home and the facility is in a state of neglect.