Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 15th 2016 Contents JENSEN LA VENDE
Hours after the Police Service
warned drivers, particularly those
of Nissan cars, about an increase in
carjackings in T&T, thieves struck
a car lot belonging to the president
of the T&T Automotive Dealers
Association, Visham Babwah.
In a telephone interview with the
T&T Guardian yesterday Babwah said
around 1.30 yesterday morning he
was alerted by security officers that
his company, P&V Marketing Com-
pany Limited, at Mulchan Seuchan
Road, Chaguanas, was broken into
and three Nissan Tiidas stolen.
When he visited the scene, Babwah
said seven other cars, of the 15 he
had on the compound, were idling,
all Tiidas, save for one Nissan Sylphy.
He said he observed an ambulance
parked near the compound and it
drove off when he arrived.
After reviewing the closed circuit
television (CCTV) footage Babwah
said the ambulance had been parked
near the car lot from 12.30 am up
until he arrived and suspected the
occupants were part of the heist.
Babwah said the thieves cut a hole
in the fence and hot-wired the cars.
About six hours later police recovered
one of the stolen cars near Chan
Ramlal Hardware, Chaguanas.
Police told him the driver of that
car ran off the road and abandoned
the vehicle. The other two stolen cars
were recovered in Laventille about
30 minutes later. No one was arrested.
Speaking at Wednesday's weekly
media briefing of the Police Service,
Sgt Christopher Swamber, of the
Stolen Vehicles Squad, said for the
first three months of the year 211 cars
have been stolen and only 61 have
He said the Nissan Tiida, partic-
ularly the white and silver grey, were
easy to blend in on the roads. Also
at the briefing was public information
officer, ASP Michael
Pierre, whose figures
show that nearly one in
every five cars stolen is a
Tiida. This year 39 Nissan
Tiidas were stolen, com-
pared to 48 last year.
"This is a very fright-
ening situation for me as
a businessman. I know
we are in a recession but
that is no excuse. I blame
the shift in the (import)
policy from four to six-
year (old vehicles) because
now people can't import the cars
and people looking to steal them,"
On January 15, Trade Minister
Paula Gopee-Scoon announced a
new policy which prohibited the
importation of gasoline-powered
vehicles more than four years old.
Previously, foreign-used car dealers
were allowed to import vehicles that
were up to six years old.
"It is an organised business. These
thieves don't steal a car and don't
have somewhere to send it. They are
ordered to steal. They will not steal
a car and leave it hanging around,"
He added that was the second time
his business had been targeted. In
2006 he was robbed of three cars
and two were recovered. Babwah
praised the police for their hard work
and called for an increase in the
penalties against car thieves.
He said the establishment of the
Motor Vehicle Authority would assist
as well as all vehicles at the click of
a button could be checked to deter-
mine the original owner as there
would be paper trail from impor-
tation to sale.
He also called on the Minister of
Works and Transport, Fitzgerald
Hinds, to bring legislation to Parlia-
ment for the authority to be able to
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Four of five men allegedly held with 148 kilo-
grammes of marijuana after Coast Guard intercepted
a pirogue off Cedros yesterday were granted $3.5
The fifth accused, Marcus Lezama, 22, of Partap
Trace, South Oropouche, was denied bail.
Lezama, Kendell Singh, 19, of La Lune Road, Moruga,
Shaquille Gonzales, 42, of Diego Martin, Anthony
Antoine, 60, of Toco Main Road, Toco, and Claudius
Campayne, 44, of Clear Water, Rio Claro, appeared
before Siparia First Court Magistrate Margaret Alert.
The charge alleged that on Sunday they were in
possession of marijuana for trafficking at Columbus
Channel. They were charged by WPC Bailey.
In objecting to bail, prosecutor Sgt Baptiste cited
the quantum, the seriousness of offence and the
serious sentence such an offence would attract.
However, their attorney, Subhas Panday, argued
that while all indictable offences were serious, the
law specifies which offences in which bail was not
to be granted.
Listing the non-bailable offences, he said trafficking
marijuana did not fall within that category and bail
should be granted.
Singh was granted $500,000 bail on the condition
he reports twice a week to the Moruga Police Sta-
Gonzales, Antoine and Campayne were each granted
$1 million bail while Lezama was denied bail because
he has a 2011 marijuana trafficking charge pending.
The matter was adjourned to May 12.
$3.5m bail for 4
on drug charges Hours after warning from cops...
Thieves strike Tiida car lot
Visham Babwah, right, owner of P&V Marketing
Company Limited and president of the T&T
Automobile Dealers Association, looks through the
broken glass left behind by bandits who attempted
to steal ten vehicles from his foreign-used cars sales
lot in Chaguanas yesterday. Also in photo is
Babwah's employee, Mitra Sirju.
PHOTO: MICHEAL BRUCE
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