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Less than three months before she was due
to start primary school, a six-year-old girl died
in an early-morning fire in east Port-of-Spain
Investigators said Ronase Osbourne was found
dead on her bed after fire officers extinguished
a fire at her family s Duncan Street apartment.
According to reports, around 6.30 am,
Osbourne s aunt, Natalie Telesford, left her sleep-
ing and went to a nearby shop to buy food for
Police said when Telesford was returning
home she realised that her third-floor apartment
was engulfed in flames and her neighbours were
evacuating the building.
Telesford tried to get into the apartment but
had to run for safety when the fire spread out
Fire tenders from the Wrightson Road Fire
Station responded soon after, and put out the
blaze before it spread to neighbouring buildings.
Fire officers later discovered Osbourne s body
in the burnt-out apartment.
She was burnt beyond recognition, investi-
gators said. Her body was removed and taken
to the Forensic Science Centre in St James, where
a post-mortem is expected to be done on Mon-
Telesford was taken to the Port-of-Spain
General Hospital, where she was being treated
for smoke inhalation up to late yesterday.
No one else was injured in the fire.
A news team from the T&T Guardian vis-
ited yesterday and spoke to Elizabeth Greasley,
who lives in a ground-floor apartment.
Greasley said she would look after
Osbourne on afternoons when her aunt went
"She was a loving girl. She loved to sing,
especially at church...She always like to go
to church," an emotional Greasley said.
She said Osbourne was due to start school
"Is only last week we get the books and
uniform for her and now look, she gone
today," Greasley said.
"Is a sad day for Duncan Street. Everybody
Staff from the Ministry of the People and
Social Development visited and distributed
emergency supplies to the 27 residents of the
building. Housing Development Corporation
(HDC) staff also visited and helped displaced
residents find temporary accommodation.
Police and Fire Service sources said the
fire was likely to have been caused by a faulty
Investigations are continuing.
Police should be cautious when they
think of giving the public statistics on
crime, president of the Downtown
Owners and Merchants Association
(Doma) Gregory Aboud said yester-
"With the greatest of respect to all
officers in the Police Service, I would
like to suggest that they be cautious
when they think of giving us these sta-
tistics, which supposedly should make
us feel safe, because for some reason,
every time we are told that the crime
rate is improving we somehow seem
to have some gruesome, murderous
incident that puts us back in reality,"
Aboud said in a telephone interview.
His comment came in the wake of
another wave of violence in east Port-
of-Spain which left two people dead
and saw the police in a confrontation
with a group of armed men.
Only on Thursday, acting Commis-
sioner of Police Stephen Williams crit-
icised the media for not highlighting
the fact that the police had been able
to reduce the murder rate by ten per
cent in comparison to last year.
Yesterday, Aboud said one could
sympathise with Williams for wanting
citizens to believe the crime situation
"After all, the sensational daylight
and night-time murders and executions
have changed the way we live and
caused us to focus on the work of the
police much more intensely than in the
past," he said.
Aboud said Doma felt its own dis-
satisfaction with the police effort on
crime and murders in particular was
justified because of the glaring failure
to convict murderers.
"We know, despite all of the assur-
ances given, that the murder rate will
continue to remain high until arrests
start to occur and until convictions
start to be registered," he said.
"To validate feelings of fear, which
rise every time the police tell us that
we are more safe, is the sure and certain
knowledge which we have that of 160
countries surveyed, T&T now ranks at
number 14 in murders per capita."
Aboud admitted Williams was in a
"He is the only one called upon for
answers...No constable, no corporal,
no sergeant, no inspector and no super-
intendent are ever questioned by the
media, and therefore the commissioner
faces the music alone," he said.
Aboud said, however, that the com-
missioner should be able to demand
answers from "the many officers" who
were not performing.
"Where arrests and convictions fail
to occur, demotions should happen and
where success is achieved, only there
should there be promotions," he said.
A Belmont roti-shop owner was one of two peo-
ple who were shot dead in Port-of-Spain between
Thursday evening and yesterday morning.
Around 6 pm on Thursday, Dwayne Bennet was
standing in front of his Norfolk Lane, Belmont, busi-
ness when he was approached by a gunman.
Police said after a brief conversation the gunman
shot Bennett several times in the head.
Bennett, 28, of Palmiste Street, was taken to the
Port-of-Spain General Hospital, where he was pro-
nounced dead on arrival.
A little over 12 hours later, Tricia Harriet was found
dead in the living room of an apartment at George
Residents told police that around 2 am, Harriet,
a drug addict, began arguing with a group of neigh-
bours. Harriet reportedly went inside and returned
with a meat cleaver which she used to threaten the
residents. Both parties eventually dispersed.
Police said around 8 am yesterday, Harriet s male
companion returned home and found her lying on
a sofa. She had been shot several times in the head,
chest and abdomen.
Insp Nigel Birch and detectives of the Region One
Homicide Bureau are probing both murders. (DA)
From Page A1
Senior police sources said on seeing the gunmen,
the homicide detectives ran out of the apartment,
got into their vehicle and drove off.
Police from the Port-of-Spain CID and Task Force
led by ASP Ajith Persad and Insp Sahadeo Singh,
who were on mobile patrol in the area, then came
to the scene.
They confronted the armed men, who ran away.
Police shot at them, but they were not injured and
Police chased them to Mango Rose, East Dry River,
where three of the men were eventually arrested.
The suspects were detained at the Besson Street
Police Station, where they were being questioned by
detectives up to late yesterday. Investigators said the
suspects were well known to police and were members
of gangs based in East Dry River.
A police helicopter was dispatched and was seen
circling east Port-of-Spain for several hours yesterday
When a news team from the T&T Guardian visited
shortly after the incident, heavily-armed police in
tactical gear were seen questioning and searching
male residents of both communities.
Some of the residents of George Street hurled
insults at the police, accusing them of favouring res-
idents of the opposing community.
Several residents also warned that despite an
increased police presence, gang violence would con-
tinue this weekend.
After several hours of tension, homicide detectives
eventually returned at around 3 pm.
Police sources said several temporary measures
would be implemented this weekend to prevent
further gang violence.
Girl, 6, dies in apartment fire...
Guard and Emergency Branch officers walk in formation along Nelson Street, Port-of-Spain,
as they were called out to assist in the search for a shooting suspect yesterday afternoon.
PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
SEARCH FOR SUSPECTS
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