Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 11th 2013 Contents A5
Wednesday, December 11, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
In 2013 violent crimes have
been reduced by 33 per cent, act-
ing Commissioner of Police
Stephen Williams said yesterday,
giving an update on the Govern-
ment s mandate to the Police
Service to reduce violent crimes
by 50 per cent in a three-year
Attributing this decrease to
"hot-spot policing," Williams
added: "The hot-spot policing
approach is showing by way of
confirmation that it is useful.
"What we are seeing is that we
have journeyed from January to
November pursuing an operative
plan and we have clearly recog-
nised a 33 per cent reduction in
violent crimes. And for an organ-
isation and its performance, for
me that is very satisfying but we
are still challenged by murders."
Williams spoke at a breakfast
meeting at the Faculty of Social
Sciences Lounge, UWI, St Augus-
tine. Organised by the Women s
Institute for Alternative Develop-
ment, it was titled: "Conversation
with the T&T Police Service."
He said from January to
November 30, 2013, there were
366 murders, with the Port-of-
Spain division recording 112, and
the East West Corridor---Carenage
to Arima---recording 73 per cent
A count by the T&T Guardian
showed there had been 369 mur-
ders up to last evening.
At the end of the year, Williams
predicted there could be 399 mur-
ders and 12,835 serious crimes.
Guns were used to commit some
70 per cent of murders, he said.
Over the last decade, he said,
there had been a continuous
increase in murders, with 2008
recording the highest toll of 547.
In 2009 there were 507 mur-
ders, in 2010 473, in 2011 352 and
in 2012 379.
Hev added: "In 2013 the organ-
isation was still facing high levels
of violent crimes. Firearms fea-
tured as the weapon of choice of
the criminal, especially in com-
mitting murders and other violent
"Port-of-Spain division con-
tinues to be the division with the
highest level of violent crimes
consistently over the years... 2013
was no different."
sees us as corrupt
Williams said the fear of crime,
mainly triggered by violent
crimes, remained a challenge for
Saying this resulted in low
public confidence in them,
Williams added: "The public has
seen and continues to see the
Police Service as corrupt, abusive,
unresponsive to the public s
needs, an organisation with
incompetent officers and the
issue of police misconduct being
The organisation, however, was
still in transition, he said, as there
was a movement towards being
more service-oriented and pro-
On border protection, he said
the police were not the only entity
responsible for combating crime
and his officers were not the ones
to protect the coastal areas.
He added: "The major chal-
lenge is, when we take guns off
the streets, more guns come back
into the country.
"The Police Service is not
responsible for securing the bor-
ders of the land. There are other
agencies that must come on
board in a serious way if we are
to impact firearm crimes in T&T.
Natasha Francis, one of three survivors of
Monday night s fatal car crash at Fen s, Mara-
bella, believes God saved her for a reason.
The accident claimed the life of the driver,
Gary Sookdeo, who suffered a massive heart
attack at the wheel.
Speaking from her Williamsville home yes-
terday, Francis, 38, said she believed God had
a greater purpose for her life.
She suffered damage to her spine when
Sookdeo s car ploughed into her and two other
pedestrians---Darryl Subero, 17, and Steve Flem-
ming, 44---who were standing at a bus stop.
"God does everything for a reason. At this
moment, I cannot see the reason but I am cer-
tain I will know the reason later on. I am just
glad for life," she told the T&T Guardian.
The mother of five children, ranging in ages
from ten to 22, works at the We Are All Angels
daycare and pre-school.
Francis said she got off her shift at 6 pm
and was waiting for the bus to Piparo shortly
after 7 pm. While waiting, she said, she inter-
acted with Flemming and Subero, whom she
knew, though not by name, from waiting for
the bus every evening.
"The young boy (Subero) joined us only sec-
onds before the accident," she recalled.
She said she did not see the silver-grey Opel
Astra driven by Sookdeo as it approached.
"All I hear was Bam! and I thought some-
body may have gotten hit. That was the last
thing I remember. It was only when I opened
my eyes, I realised I was in it too," she said.
"When I looked around, I saw the boy lying
on the ground. I thought he was dead.
She said she spent the night at the hospital
where she had X-rays and other tests and was
discharged yesterday morning. Francis said she
would be well enough to return to her job.
Around 7 pm, Sookdeo, 44, an operations
manager at Petrotrin, Pointe-a Pierre, had just
left the sports club after a game of tennis.
Sookdeo, who lived in Williamsville, was on
his way to pick up his wife, Kathy Ann, who
was working out in a gym at Market Street.
While driving east along Union Road, Mara-
bella, he suffered a massive heart attack, crashed
into two TSTT posts and hit the three pedes-
trians before coming to a halt after crashing
into the gate of Fen Mohammed s.
At the scene of the accident, eyewitness
Nigel Lewis, who was standing on the junction
at Union Road, said he first checked the injured
pedestrians then the driver, who was still alive
moments after the crash.
Lewis said after checking the driver he ran
back to where the three pedestrians lay.
" I don t know first aid but I did what I could
to the best of my ability to help these people."
Fire Service ambulances arrived and the three
were taken to the hospital, Sookdeo having
already died during the period.
Shortly after, Sookdeo s wife, Kathy Ann,
appeared on the scene but was too distraught
to speak as she waited for the DMO to come
and pronounce her husband dead and allow
the removal of his body.
A family friend, Sanjay Sanasie, described
Sookdeo as a really nice guy who was a very
safe driver. Sanasie said it was a normal routine
for Sookdeo to drop his wife off at the gym
while he went to the sports club and pick her
up later. An autopsy at the mortuary of the
San Fernando General Hospital revealed Sookdeo
died from a heart attack.
The 22-year-old son of a used car deal-
er was shot dead during a botched kid-
napping attempt at a bar near his home
in Bamboo Settlement, Valsayn, on Mon-
Police said around 8.30 pm, Shiva Ram-
narine, of Bamboo Settlement No 3, was
liming with friends at Naddie Street, Bam-
boo Settlement No 2, when a heavily-
tinted black Nissan X-trail pulled up in
front of the bar.
Two gunmen got out of the vehicle,
threatened limers with their guns and
ordered them to lie face down on the
Eyewitnesses said the gunmen also
threatened a group of neighbours who
were seated in the porch of a nearby house
and told them to go inside.
Police said the gunmen then asked the
patrons to identify the owner of a Lexus
car which was parked near the bar. Ram-
narine got up and said it was his.
The gunmen then attacked Ramnarine,
grabbed him by his arms and tried to drag
him towards their getaway car.
Ramnarine began to struggle with them
and one of the gunmen responded by
shooting him in his leg. Eyewitnesses told
police that after Ramnarine collapsed from
the gunshot wound, the other gunmen
stood over him and shot him in the head.
The gunmen then returned to their car
and drove off.
Ramnarine was pronounced dead by
the DMO and his body was taken to the
Forensic Science Centre, St James, for a
Speaking with reporters outside the
centre yesterday, Ramnarine s relatives
described him as loving and hard-working.
They said he worked at his family s used-
car, car rental and car parts businesses.
"He was a good child. He never had
arguments with anybody," Ramnarine s
father, who did not want to be identified,
Asked for a possible reason for the inci-
dent, Ramnarine s relatives were hesitant
to respond and said they did not want to
say anything that would hamper the police
investigation into his murder.
Investigators had not established a
motive for the murder up to late yesterday
but were said to be pursuing a number
Monday s incident was not the first
tragedy to hit the family in recent times.
On May 7, 2011, Ramnarine s uncle,
Ramlochan Ramnarine, 55, the owner of
Coke-See Foreign Used Cars in War-
renville, Cunupia, was stabbed to death
near his home.
In 1996, his 11-year-old relative, Sian,
was also kidnapped while on his way to
school. He was rescued shortly after, when
police were involved in a shoot-out with
his kidnappers, in which two men were
Sian s father, Steve Ramnarine, is the
owner of Bick s Auto Garage, also in Bam-
Detectives of the Region Two Homicide
Bureau are continuing investigations.
son killed in
Top cop: Violent crimes down but...
Murders still challenging
Heart attack victim dies after
crashing into 3 pedestrians
Fire officers place Natasha Francis, 38, on a stretcher on Monday night after she and two
others were injured when a car driven by Gary Sookdeo ran into them as they stood at the side
of Union Road, Marabella. Sookdeo later died of a heart attack. PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
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