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JENSEN LA VENDE
A 19-year-old father of twin
girls was killed a few houses away
from his Nicholasville, Barataria,
home yesterday, in what police
and residents believe was a case
of mistaken identity.
According to police reports,
around 8.45 am Jerron Douglas was
shovelling sharp sand at a con-
struction site when three armed,
masked men pulled up in a vehicle
and shot him several times.
Douglas collapsed and died with
the shovel on his chest. His killers
then got back into the car and
Residents said yesterday there is
an ongoing war between gangs
from Malick, Barataria and Sun-
shine Avenue, two areas neigh-
bouring Nicholasville, and they
believe the intended target was a
man who was seen in the area
recently. Residents said Douglas'
hairstyle closely resembled that of
the man they believe the killers
Smith, Douglas' girlfriend, said
they were to be married next year.
"The last thing he told me was
he love me and that was it. He was
always a family person and a people
person too. I want to see justice
and I want some kind of help for
my two children, because the help
we had just gone," she said.
"If I didn't have two children
and you had ask me what was the
next step, I would have told you
down in the grave for me, but I
have the children so I have to be
there for them.
His goal was just to work to get
money to build a place, so we can
have a life."
Resident Derick Cooper said
Douglas had raised his infant twin
daughters by himself after their
mother Natisha Smith was arrested
shortly after their birth. Cooper
said Douglas was a man who placed
family above all else, and turned
down an additional $50 daily else-
where just to be closer to the chil-
"A young innocent man lost his
life for nothing, I never know him
to be in crime or anything; all he
does is mind his two children. The
Government need to camerise' the
whole country if they want to make
a difference," Cooper said.
"If a man do a crime anywhere
they could ketch him on camera
because he have to stop somewhere.
What they waiting on? Police can't
be everywhere and people fearful
to give information most of the
time, so this is the best solution."
Cooper, who was very vocal in
his condemnation of Douglas'
killing, said the killers were "mon-
sters," adding that things like boot
camps should be mandatory for
teens who seemed to be heading
down the wrong path.
"I telling you this boy don't be
in anything. His only crime is
what? Being a rasta? This hurting
me because I doing construction
by my place, and I was offering
him a job paying $250 but he take
this job here because it closer to
home and he rather be closer to
You understand the discipline
that man have and the love he had
for his children? This is just
My message to them youths is
put down the gun. We done know
we have to die and we can't live
forever, so what allyuh shortening
allyuh lifespan for?"
Douglas' father, Godfrey, told the
media he gave his son a small level
and measuring tape after he began
his career in construction. He said
his last of six children was never
involved in anything which war-
ranted him being killed.
"I just want justice. Let the police
or relevant authorities take the nec-
essary step and get the perpetrators
who do this. I don't have to lie to
tell you he would smoke a little
weed, but that's it," the senior Dou-
In an unrelated incident, police
are also investigating the murder
of Cunupia resident Ashton Vil-
According to reports, Villafana,
26, of Homeland Gardens, had gone
to a nearby lotto booth along the
Southern Main Road on his bicycle
around 3.30 pm, when he was
approached by two gunmen who
shot him several times. The men
then got into a green Toyota Yaris
and escaped. Police later found the
vehicle abandoned in Chaguanas.
The murder toll stood at 79 up
to last evening.
Dad of twin
Rowley on escalating murder rate
Urgent action is being taken to
deal with the unacceptable mur-
der rate in Trinidad and Tobago,
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley
Rowley, who is also the chairman
of the National Security Council,
made the comment as he respond-
ed to questions put to him by
Naparima MP and former Ambas-
sador to the United Nations Rodney
Charles in the House of Represen-
Charles had asked Rowley if,
given the high murder rate for the
year-to-date in the country, he
was satisfied with his government's
plans to reduce the murder rate.
Rowley got up and said: "The
answer is yes."
He then took his seat.
The Opposition MP then asked
Rowley if he agreed that the coun-
try was likely to have its highest
annual murder rate this year and
that there was need for urgent
action to prevent that from becom-
Rowley said: "The answer is that
the trajectory is unacceptable and
urgent action is being taken."
He did not elaborate further.
There have been some 79 mur-
ders within the first 57 days of this
year, among them 30-year-old
Japanese pannist Asami Nagakiya,
whose body was found under a
tree in the Queen's Park Savannah,
Port-of-Spain, on Ash Wednesday,
and four teenage schoolboys---
Denelson Smith, 17, and Mark
Richards, 16, in Laventille (January
21), and Stephan Singh and Daniel
Halls, both 16, in St Augustine on
Tuesday of this week.
Days after the killings of Smith
and Richards, Rowley said joint
army/police patrols would intensify
in crime hotspots and remain in
effect for as long as deemed nec-
essary by the authorities. But the
murders continue in Laventille and
across the country.
Rowley arrived in the Parliament
more than two-and-a-half hours
after the scheduled 1.30 pm start
of the sitting yesterday, after
attending the funeral of a PNM
stalwart in San Fernando. (See page
A6) The questions to the PM were
therefore deferred to shortly before
the 4.30 pm tea break when he
arrived in the Chamber.
Responding to another question
on the Couva Children's and Adult
Hospital which was opened by the
former government days before the
September 7 general election last
year, Rowley said the project was
still under construction and was
scheduled for completion at the
end of March.
He said consequently the defects
liabilities provision will take effect
from April this year.
He said pending the completion
of the hospital, Udecott would con-
tinue to provide oversight and have
any defects identified and
addressed by the contractor. Ude-
cott will also ensure that the secu-
rity of the facilities and equipment
at the hospital was maintained, he
He said, however, that if the
Government was unable to secure
the equipment for the institution
the former government would be
held personally responsible for put-
ting it there while the hospital was
still under construction.
Rowley added that the issue of
providing staff to operate the hos-
pital when completed remains a
"Where will the staff come
from?" he asked, adding that it
was not his government's intention
to take staff from other hospitals
with the risk of compromising the
services at those facilities.
He said consideration was also
being given to have the facility at
Couva operate under a public/pri-
vate sector partnership.
The Prime Minister also updated
legislators on the number of people
who have benefited from the Chil-
dren's Life Fund since September
The fund was established by the
former People's Partnership gov-
ernment to assist children in need
of life-saving operations abroad.
Rowley said since September 2015
to present, seven children were
assisted at a cost of over $2 million.
He said for the same period, 16
applicants were approved at a cost
of over $4 million. He said for Feb-
ruary 2016, six applications were
He said since the PNM assumed
office last September "we have
received no complaint of money
being stolen from the fund."
The Prime Minister said the CSO
had also informed the Government
that the unemployment rate for
the third quarter of last year was
3.4 per cent, in response to a ques-
tion from Princes Town MP Barry
Prime Minister Dr
Keith Rowley, right,
greets former People's
leader and prime
Manning during the
funeral service for
Winston Moore at Our
Lady of Perpetual Help
Catholic Church in San
(See page A6) PHOTO:
KRISTIAN DE SILVA
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