PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, Monday August 5, 2013 – At least 12 people were killed during the long weekend here forcing national security officials to meet in an emergency session and a former national security minister criticising the coalition People’s Partnership government in Trinidad and Tobago over its crime strategy.
Police confirmed that the 12 people were killed over the long Emancipation weekend with National Security Minister Emmanuel George describing five of the murders as gang-related.
“The first thing all of us have to say is to express condolences to the families of the respective murder victims. This unfortunate turn of events must, I am sure, be very devastating to all the families involved,” George told reporters after he met with Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams, Chief of Defence Staff Major General Kenrick Maharaj, Commanding Officer of the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment Colonel Rodney Smart and Deputy Police Commissioner Mervyn Richardson.
“It is precisely because of this kind of spike in the murder rate that the police have been fighting constantly over the last few months. I had been pointing out that the exercise had been proving very fruitful in keeping a lot of guns off the streets over the last couple months, because every gun is potentially a murder weapon. It is the weapon of choice in these murders.”
The authorities said Jamal Michael Justin Fox, 28, aka “Blacka”, his nephew Jamal Fox, 21, and Shaquille Bishop, 21, were shot inside a house in Laventille along the east-west corridor , while Gregory “Jamdown” Charles and Sherwin “Dan” Cole were shot and killed in Santa Cruz, north-east of here.
The other victims of the weekend murder spree include Andrew Gibson, 50, who was stabbed by a close female relative following a bout of drinking, Venice Chattergoon, 27, who was stabbed a total of 28 times, 44 year-old Ganesh Ramroop, who was found in a car with a bullet wound to the stomach, Sean Duncan, 28, shot while playing cards in his yard, 19-year-old Shakeel Bethel, gunned down outside a bar and the unidentified charred bodies of two people.
The murder toll so far this year is 225 as compared with 244 last year.
George said that over the past two days, the authorities have “instituted certain measures” to deal with the crime situation.
“So the population can rest assured the police have responded and are taking the appropriate action to deal with this spike in murders,” he added.
Meantime, former national security minister Austin “Jack” Warner has criticised the Kamla Persad Bissesaar led coalition government for not taking putting in place adequate strategy to deal with the crime situation.
“I am appalled. Any government that wakes up a morning and sees seven murders in 12 hours and does not call the Cabinet into an emergency session, something has to be wrong,” Warner told reporters.
Warner, who won a by-election last Monday following his decision to resign as national security minister in April, said during his short tenure he believed he was “coming to grips with the crime situation”.
But he said nothing he started has continued and the country is at a standstill while crime escalated in “leaps and bounds.”
“Somebody has to wake up and take charge. That’s all I ask for. Somebody has to take charge of the country and not the cabal,” he said. (CMC) Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)
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