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Soldiers are to return to the streets of
T&T immediately to assist in searching
and taking out criminals, and they will
become a permanent fixture.
The decision came in the wake of the
outrageous killing of two schoolboys on
their way home in Laventille, on Thursday,
by gunmen who dragged them out of a
taxi and shot them dead.
Facing criticism over the surge in murders
which now stand at 33 in 22 days, Prime
Minister Keith Rowley announced at a
media briefing in Parliament, yesterday,
that soldiers would be assigned to patrol
Rowley, National Security Minister
Edmund Dillon and Minister in the Ministry
of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs
Stuart Young held a news conference at
the Parliament yesterday to outline meas-
ures to combat the spate of murders.
Rowley said, yesterday, he had "instructed
Dillon to instruct the Defence Force to
operate in conditions determined by them,
within the laws of T&T, virtually perma-
nently, on the streets where criminals have
armed themselves and have determined
the population is in siege."
Asked what will be different about this
return of soldiers to the nation s streets,
Rowley said: "This time they will stay."
He said the crime situation usually got
worse when the soldiers were taken off the
The PM said while he expected some
citizens to complain about this initiative,
he insisted he preferred to hear those com-
plaints "than to watch your children being
slaughtered in their school uniform."
He said whenever there was a police
killing in Laventille there would usually be
criticism from the residents but after the
slaughter of the schoolboys, "there is silence
and nobody knows who did it."
He said he wanted to tell the people of
Laventille and the rest of the country that
if citizens encouraged their family and oth-
ers "to arm themselves, to hide among you
and you provide them with care, then you
are as unpatriotic as the ones who pull the
Rowley said the police and other security
services "had no idea who were the ones
that would have done what was done yes-
He called on citizens to share information
with the authorities to help solve and pre-
vent such murders.
Rowley said the law provides for the
Defence Force to operate "freely and unim-
peded in the presence of the police," and
"given what we are facing in this escalation
of lawlessness, that the appropriate
response must be forthcoming and it must
He insisted his PNM Government "will
do what has to be done to bring safety to
the people of T&T," and said the criminals
were engaging in unpatriotic, destructive
action and not a war. He said a war does
not involve "innocent school children."
"So if there is anybody taking over the
streets in Laventille, Enterprise, Tobago,
Diego Martin, it will be security services
of T&T," Rowley said. Rowley said the sol-
diers would also be stationed in other com-
Dillon said he met yesterday with the
acting Commissioner of Police Stephen
Williams, the Chief of Defence Staff Rodney
Smart and Prisons Commissioner Sterling
Steward "and I literally read the riot act
to them because I strongly believe we have
to change the way we do business."
He said a strategy of offence and deter-
rence would be employed.
"We are going to take the fight to the
criminals, those who feel that they can
bear arms illegally in T&T," he added.
Dillon said all his ministry s available
resources would be used in the fight to
ensure citizens felt safer.
"It will be focussed and integrated, he
"All the forces will be mobilised," he
In response to a question on his comment
in Parliament days ago about there being
no murder spike in the country, Dillon said
it was not his responsibility to "create a
state of panic and be alarmist in T&T
because the fear of crime is worse than
Dillon said, in response to another ques-
tion, "Wherever the criminals are we are
going to search and take them out legal-
ly."Rowley and Dillon extended condolences
to the family of the deceased students.
PM: Witnesses who
stay silent unpatriotic
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley arrives for a press conference at the J Hamilton Room of the
Parliament, at Tower D, International Waterfront Centre, Port-of-Spain, yesterday. Also in
photo is Communications Minister Maxie Cuffie, left, and Finance Minister Colm Imbert.
PHOTO: SHIRLEY BAHADUR
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley
yesterday warned people who used social
media to make the "nastiest" comments
about the schoolboys who were killed in
Laventille on Thursday and other citizens
that they might be in breach of the law.
Rowley said his Government is "not
prepared to allow that kind of behaviour
to go unnoticed and would respond
appropriately as required."
There has been widespread
condemnation on social media over racist
comments celebrating the murders of
two Success Laventille Secondary School
students on Thursday.
Two Facebook users, in particular,
using the names Anita Persaud and
Adrian Maharaj, came under heavy fire
from other commentators for their
comments on a post on the CNC3's
Persaud posted "4 o' clock in the
morning and a dancing right now lol lol lol
two less criminal on the street, god a
happy KILL THEM (expletive) OUT."
After another user condemned the
comment, Persaud replied, "Kerlene
Dacosta that would not happen because
my boys is not drug dealer, but don't I am
praying, praying for more a them get
KILL. them little black (expletive)."
And then, "OMG hahaha i am really
surprise at the amount of reply and
attention i received from my comment,
first of all i would like to thank all of you
for your reply please keep it coming, and
second I still think the freedom of tought
and speech still lies in our country, if not
well well i just say what is in my mind
like it or not, so please feel free to say
what is on your mind too. after all every
one has their own thinking and that's it
our rights, so don't feel bad no one will
snatch that from you all, just know if you
are trying to make me feel bad you are all
doing a very bad job, I still feel that it's a
good thing KILL THEM ALL, by the next
two decades Trinidad will be crime free."
After users shared screenshots of
Persaud's comments thousands of times,
she took to Facebook to claim that her
account was hacked.
She wrote "please people try to
understand, I am not the one that write
these things, someone had a feast with
my acc last night I reported this to the
Toronto police and they are looking into
it, I tought was only one post but I am
shock a you all to see these other post, I
must let you guys know that I will the
person/persons that is responsible for
this, and everyone that share this post
will be investigated, this is not fair some
just damage my character while I was
sleeping, do you people think we in
Canada really have the time to get up 4
am to dance. ent"
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