Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 21st 2013 Contents A4
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Opposition Leader Dr Keith
Rowley has described the arrests
and eventual release of suspected
gang leaders and members from
east Port-of-Spain as "blind
He added: "Is only a blind police
service that would go and pick up
a man you held the last time when
you have no new or additional evi-
Rowley made the comment prior
to a walkabout in Maracas/St
His comments came a day after
police released the majority of sus-
pects who were arrested following
the weekend raid in east Port-of-
Spain after an upsurge in murders
in the area last week.
Some of the suspects held had
also been charged under the Anti-
Gang Act during state of emer-
gency in 2011 and were later
released. They were arrested this
time under the same legislation
but were released after police
admitted they did not have enough
evidence to lay charges.
Police said yesterday, however,
that the suspects may be re-arrest-
ed once additional evidence was
Speaking about the issue yes-
terday, Rowley said: "This worries
me because it means that we made
no progress with respect to crime
detection or gathering information
to be used as evidence."
He accused the Government of
dismantling key national security
programmes used by law enforce-
ment agencies to gather informa-
tion and evidence.
"What this Government stands
guilty of is dismantling the infor-
mation-gathering systems in the
country and the Police Service is
now virtually blind," Rowley said.
When asked about his scheduled
meeting with Prime Minister
Kamla Persad-Bissessar tomorrow,
Rowley said he expected it to be
Persad-Bissessar is also expected
to meet with residents of east Port-
of-Spain today for a second time
since last week's murder spree,
which saw six residents being mur-
dered in less than 24 hours. The
meeting is scheduled for 1 pm at
the South East Government Sec-
ondary School, Port-of-Spain.
"I think by now, the PM would
have come to the conclusion that
things have not been working well
and there are very serious defi-
ciencies," Rowley said.
He said discussions would
include finding solutions for prob-
lems being experienced by national
"We have to look and see why
they (the agencies) have been fail-
ing and a lot of the answers are
quite visible and speak very loudly.
We need to pay attention to that,"
He said his discussions with Per-
sad-Bissessar would not only focus
on crime in east Port-of-Spain but
instead for the entire country.
He added: "There are people in
my constituency who feel just as
unsafe because we are not subjects
of effective policing.
"There is a general breakdown
of law and order. There is disfunc-
tionality on the level of the Gov-
ernment and there is a kind of
hopelessness that is strengthening
and emboldening those preying
on the population."
When asked about Persad-
Bissessar's announcement of a
reintroduction of legislation per-
taining to death penalty as an anti-
crime measure, Rowley dismissed
that as "public relations gimmick-
"There is nothing now prevent-
ing the Government from pro-
ceeding to carry out the death
penalty in the context of the law
we have and the dictates laid down
by our final court of appeal --- Privy
Council," he said.
Rowley said the Government
should not focus only on the death
penalty but rather crime detection.
"I don't know why every time
there is an explosion in crime in
the country the Government trots
out the death penalty. It is not
death penalty that is the problem,
it is security and law and order
and it starts with an effective Police
Service," he added.
Rowley on gang suspects' release:
Housing Minister Dr Roodal Mooni-
lal says legislation with harsher penal-
ties to deal with home invasion and
illegal evictions may be taken to Par-
liament soon, since these actions are
akin to terrorism.
Speaking with reporters at Soomai
Trace, Debe, on Monday night, Moonilal
said he had spoken to Attorney General
Anand Ramlogan about introducing
specific legislation to deal with those
He added: "It may well be that we
will go to Parliament to craft particular
offences of home invasion and unlawful
eviction of occupiers and tenants.
As it is now the police have the infor-
mation and they are looking into the
matter. They have an inquiry ongoing
but I have been in discussion with the
Attorney General and it will be dealt
with in the coming days."
He was referring to a recent incident
at Duncan Street, Port-of-Spain, in
which a tenant was evicted by a gang
who then occupied the apartment.
That led to a subsequent crackdown
on illegal tenants by the Housing Devel-
opment Corporation at apartment com-
plexes in Port-of-Spain.
When he acted as Attorney General
last week, Moonilal said he met with
the technical people to see what
offences for home invasion and illegal
eviction could be strengthened with
"I believe that if the penalties are
very harsh and persons are caught, they
are detected and they are prosecuted,
it will send a message.
"We have to be careful that this does-
n't become a regular incident in the
country where people believe that they
can just go into an HDC apartment,
fling out somebody from a window and
take possession of the apartment," he
"The related offence has to be an
offence of threatening, the offence of
threatening and intimidation almost
akin to terrorism.
"Several HDC tenants are terrorised
by gang elements so that we have to
look at offences of intimidation, harass-
ment, threat to lawful tenants and home
invasion and unlawful eviction," he
Commenting on calls by interim
Independent Liberal Party leader Jack
Warner to implement policies he
worked on during his tenure as national
security minister, Moonilal said those
policies were approved by the Nation-
al Security Council.
"Those matters that he is calling for
are already in place. They are already
in train, like the construction of court
in Remand Yard and so on. Those things
are in train now. Things like that don't
happen overnight you know. You know
he is calling for things that are already
in train," he said.
tougher laws for
An autopsy on Balliram Jagroop,
65, has revealed there was no foul play
involved in his death on Sunday.
After completing his work at the
Forensic Science Centre, in St James
yesterday, forensic pathologist Dr Valerie
Alexandrov revealed he died of multiple
blunt trauma consistent with falling
from a height, which police estimated
at 30 feet.
Cpl Ramlogan, of the St Margaret's
Police Station, and other investigators
have now deemed the death a suicide.
Police said on Sunday around 5.45
am, Jagroop was seen walking on a
black pipeline along the side of the
Union Road flyover, Gasparillo.
When he was almost to the middle
of the north-bound lane, he jumped
off.Jagroop did not die immediately from
the impact, as people who lived nearby
and saw the incident went to his aid.
He was moved to the shoulder but died
while emergency services were on the
The grandfather of two lived at Battoo
Describing him as a "tremendous
gentleman," his brother-in-law Kawal
Maraj said Jagroop was not sickly nor
did he have financial woes that would
have led him to end his life.
Maraj told reporters on Monday the
coverage of the incident was unfair, as
Jagroop's death should not be ruled a
suicide until the autopsy had been done.
He said then: "Whatever is the
results, let the truth come out. I don't
want to accuse anyone wrongly but I
don't want people to say he jumped."
Speaking by phone yesterday after
hearing the news that Jagroop's death
had been ruled a suicide, Maraj said
that could not be the end of the inves-
"Something wrong there," he said.
He said he would talk it over with
the family to decide what they should
No foul play in
death of 'jumper'
Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley greets Victor Walters as he leads a PNM team on a walkabout in St
Joseph yesterday afternoon. PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALES
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