Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 29th 2015 Contents JENSEN LA VENDE
Soca artiste Rodney "Benjai" Le Blanc
is lucky to be alive sources at the Presi-
dent s House said yesterday after they con-
firmed the car in which he was a passenger
was shot at because it was allegedly fol-
lowing the President s escort along the
Churchill-Roosevelt Highway, Aranguez,
San Juan, on Sunday.
According to the source, Le Blanc s car
was dangerously close to the escort detail
which was taking acting President Timothy
Hamel-Smith to the airport where he was
to meet with President Anthony Carmona,
who was returning from Bolivia.
At one point, one of the police vehicles
in the detail slowed down and a policemen
leaned out and fired shots at the vehicle in
which Le Blanc was.
One of the bullets reportedly blew out
one of the vehicle s tyres and the driver was
forced to stop. The police vehicle did not
stop and another police vehicle arrived on
the scene later. The police who arrived in
that vehicle took no action in the matter.
The entire incident was caught on video
and was subsequently posted on social
media. Le Blanc suffered minor injuries in
Yesterday, both the source at President s
House and the police claimed Benjai was
not only lucky to be alive but could face
possible charges arising out of the incident.
But in a telephone interview with the
T&T Guardian yesterday, Le Blanc s attorney
Keith Scotland said the comment that his
client was lucky to be alive was a "rather
unfortunate" one, since his client has anoth-
er side of the story.
Scotland said he would return to T&T
on Saturday and would be taking instruc-
tions from Le Blanc before sharing their
side of the story.
"We are not afraid of anything and we
are not going to run away from any charges.
The police can do what they will and we
will do what we must within the law," Scot-
land said when told his client was facing
Le Blanc was reportedly heading out of
Port-of-Spain after performing his 2015 hit
Phenomenal in the International Groovy
Soca Monarch competition at the Queen s
Park Savannah at the time of the incident.
In an interview with i95 FM yesterday,
president of the Police Service Welfare Asso-
ciation, Insp Anand Ramesar, said the officer
who fired at Le Blanc s vehicle was within
his duty and that the entertainer ought to
be charged with a criminal offence.
Ramesar was supported by secretary Insp
Michael Seales, who said based on inves-
tigations, the policeman acted correctly and
with restraint, as they are trained to "neu-
tralise" targets deemed to be a threat to
state officials by shooting at chest level. He
said in any other country Le Blanc would
have been a dead man.
"Enquiries should be conducted with a
view to bring criminal charges against the
person who would have breached the escort
that day," Ramesar said.
Speaking on his television programme
yesterday, vice-president of the Welfare
Association, Insp Roger Alexander, also
chastised the driver of the vehicle Le Blanc
He accused the driver of tailing the escort
in an attempt to breach traffic stops and
ignoring repeated calls by the police to desist
from the action.
Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
Thursday, January 29, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams
has assured that criminal charges will be laid
against Assistant Police Commissioner (ACP)
Peter Reyes in relation to his conduct on board
a Caribbean Airlines (CAL) flight last month.
After a meeting with the investigating team on
Tuesday, Director of Public Prosecutions Roger
Gaspard advised them that there was sufficient
evidence to charge Reyes with three criminal offences
arising out of the incident.
However, up to yesterday no charges had been
filed against Reyes.
In a brief telephone interview on the matter yes-
terday, Williams said the matter was in responsible
hands and it would not be swept under the car-
"The matter will be dealt with and the advice
given by the DPP will be acted upon," Williams
At the weekly police press briefing at Police
Administration Building, Port-of-Spain, yesterday,
ASP Joanne Archie also confirmed that the Reyes
matter had not been processed as yet when asked
for an update.
DCP Glenn Hackett is the lead investigator in
On Tuesday, Gaspard instructed Hackett and
members of the Professional Standards Bureau to
charge Reyes with three offences under Section 60
of the Civil Aviation Act.
The charges include threatening the safety of the
aircraft and passengers on board; using abusive and
insulting language towards a crew member and for
intentionally interfering with crew members in the
execution of their duties. The three charges carry
a maximum fine of $25,000 and up to a year impris-
It was reported that at about 4 pm on December
18, Reyes, who had only been recently promoted
to head the Tobago Division, was on board a CAL
flight at the Piarco International Airport bound for
Tobago to take up duties.
It is alleged that while seated in the aircraft Reyes
cellphone began ringing while the aircraft was
taxiing on the runway, prompting one of the flight
attendants to ask him to switch it off. Reyes report-
edly refused to comply.
The pilot returned the plane to the terminal and
Reyes was escorted off the plane to speak to security
personnel of the Airports Authority of T&T (AATT).
He was then allowed to leave and completed his
journey to Tobago the following day on another
After they completed their shift that night the
CAL crew reported the incident to the Piarco Police
Station. The flight crew also pointed Reyes out in
an identification parade earlier this month.
In defending himself against the allegations, Reyes
claimed he felt the flight crew was discriminating
against him because of his ethnicity. He also claimed
to be unaware of how to take of his phone because
it was newly assigned to him as part of his pro-
Lucky escape for Benjai
In the video, a marked police car is
seen driving along the highway near
Aranguez when a policeman appears
through the left side of the marked
sports utility vehicle (SUV) and fires at
the car Le Blanc was in. The video ends
after the shooting.
Contacted yesterday, Le Blanc said he
was not ready to disclose what
happened but said all would come to
light in due course. He denied, however,
that he was following the President's
security detail and that the video would
make everything clear.
Sources close to Le Blanc said the
entertainer was upset that the police
were attempting to cover their
ineptness by making him the
The source said the driver of the car
Le Blanc was in kept as far away from
the police vehicle as possible and they
only began filming when the driver in
the SUV began driving dangerously and
forcing cars off the road, almost
causing an accident in the process.
Reyes will be
Police attached to the
Port-of-Spain Task Force
Operations Unit search a
group of unidentified
men at the Port-of-
Spain General Hospital
yesterday after they
that a man fitting the
description of Azad Ali,
who is described as a
person of interest in the
shooting death of Salma
Chadee, was seen at the
health facility yesterday.
The police eventually
found the person but it
turned out to be a case
of mistaken identity.
See Page A10. PHOTO:
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