Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 8th 2014 Contents A5
Wednesday January 8, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Duncan Street, Port-of-Spain, residents yesterday
admitted to be living in fear over what they believe
will be the continued escalation of gang warfare in
east Port-of-Spain, in the wake of the execution of
two men on their doorsteps on Monday.
Irate residents said they lived in fear because gang
warfare was to blame for the numerous deaths which
have occurred in the community in recent months
and they believe it will not let up now.
They claimed the warring between rival gangs was
so bad that they could not walk past Queen Street or
they may be looking for their deaths.
Yesterday, when a T&T Guardian team visited the
area, residents were scarce from George to Duncan
"We getting kill like cockroach. Is flit and you drop
down. Around here is a ghost town by five," one res-
ident, who did not want to be named, said.
He added: "That is no way to live in this place.
Them (ministers and others) secure. The government
and parenting, that is what is needed. All who get kill
wasn t criminal. It had innocent people that get kill.
"Look at the blind man...but he could also hear and
talk. Police seeing them on camera and what sense
it make when they can t use it in court? They wasting
taxpayers money. They need to make a law like in
Texas where we have a right to bear arms."
Another resident said: "Is deceit and deception. All
skin teeth is not a grin.
"The only thing we worry about down here is a
stray bullet. The police not doing their job and it have
gang, police on both sides. Griffith have a lot of work
He added: "Ask them where the guns coming from?
New Year s was new guns I hearing... every morning,
every day. Who have control of these places for the
guns to come in? Clean up there. A fish don t rotten
from the tail, is the head."
The resident said many of the youths in the com-
munity were unemployed and had no work during the
"They need to have programmes to generate money,"
Police investigators said yesterday gangs from Trou
Macaque, Nelson Street and Beetham had been warring
for months but it escalated recently after the killing
of David "Jah David" Andrews of the the G-Unit gang.
Meanwhile, all leave for police officers was yesterday
pulled until further notice to deal with the recent surge
Yesterday, officers from every station received notices
from DCP of Operations, Earl Gonzales, who sent
message to all stations around 3.30 pm.
Up to late yesterday, sergeants at the various stations
were sending messages to all officers who had applied
for vacation leave that it would be cancelled until
In a phone interview yesterday, assistant commis-
sioner of crime Glen Hackett confirmed that cancel-
lation of leave was to allow the police to respond to
the surge in murders.
He said: "We are looking at what were the factors
causing the situation and the analytical work.
"We have done some evaluation and we have placed
some initiatives on the table to deal with the situation
as it is to prevent any further progression with respect
to violent crimes and murder."
Hackett said the police executive still had to have
discussions with the Police Service Social and Welfare
Association and "we hope they are eager to deal with
the situation and we won t have any disagreement."
Contacted yesterday, members of the association
refused to comment on the issue, adding it will hold
a press conference tomorrow to deal with it.
Horrific, horrendous and intolerable
were the words used by Prime Minister
Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday to
describe the 19 murders for the year.
She said so while speaking to reporters
after the launch of the Police Service s
Rapid Response Unit at the National Oper-
ations Centre, Queen s Park Savannah,
In her address, her first since returning
from New York after visiting her ailing
sister, Sally Ahamad, Persad-Bissessar said:
"For those families who are in the midst
of tragedy and loss, I want to say our
thoughts, our prayers and indeed my heart
is with all of you."
She said the new initiative, which initially
is being implemented in only three policing
divisions, was part of her government s
plan to strengthen the protective services
and reduce crime.
"I know that this is no comfort to fam-
ilies whose loved ones are gone but I think
we need to reiterate that we must intensify
the war on crime and on criminals," Per-
She said the unit would assist in quick-
ening the police response to reports of
crime and raise public confidence in the
She added: "The launch of this unit
represents an escalation on our war on
crime and will be an important strategy,
not only in helping to win that war but
also to help make our citizens feel safe
"The unit will operate by evidence-
based and intelligence-driven processes
which all focus on quicker and more effec-
tive responses to calls for help from cit-
Persad-Bissessar also called on citizens
to assist the Government in the anti-crime
initiatives, especially through participating
in upcoming national consultations sched-
uled to be launched later this month.
She also encouraged people to report
crimes and suspicious activity using the
999 and 911 emergency hotlines.
"If we each do our part as government
and as responsible citizens, we can together
make our country safe again," she added.
Acting Police Commissioner Stephen
Williams again called on citizens to work
with the police in the fight against crime.
The unit comprises a little over 80 offi-
cers and in its first phase will use almost
two dozen specially-modified and painted
Williams said its pilot project was intro-
duced in the Western, Northern and North
Eastern Divisions because statistics showed
a large number of the violent crimes
occurred along the East West Corridor.
in fear yet again
All leave for cops suspended
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar
has read the riot act to the National Secu-
rity Council (NSC), demanding that
members step up to the plate in the fight
against crime otherwise they will be held
personally accountable for any failure to
stem the tide.
Persad-Bissessar also announced yes-
terday that with immediate effect all leave
for police officers has been put on indefinite
"All hands would be on deck in the fight
against crime. This means all officers from
the top to the bottom," Persad-Bissessar
said after holding an emergency meeting
with the council for close to three hours
at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann s.
She admitted, however, that putting
more police officers on the ground was
not the answer.
"Just putting more officers on the
ground hasn t worked. That is one aspect
of it. It is also more use of all the resources
and technology," she said.
Describing the crime situation, partic-
ularily the spike in murders in the new
year, as intolerable, Persad-Bissessar said:
"Since the start of this new year, one week
ago, our nation has seen an unprecedented
spike in violence and murders.
"This spike occurred despite increase
in efforts in focusing resources, imple-
mentation, modified equipment, new tech-
nology and police visibility."
She said when she met with the council
yesterday she asked why that was hap-
pening and what could be done to stop
it.Based on the information she received,
Persad-Bissessar said: "I intend to take a
much deeper interest and action required
to reverse this spike in my role as chairman
of the NSC.
"At no time could crime be considered
acceptable and the recent spike in violent
crime has made this situation completely
intolerable. The Government and people
of T&T are demanding action and results."
She added that children must be pro-
tected and must feel safe and young people
must be able to live their lives and enjoy
"As Prime Minister and as chairman of
the NSC, we will no longer tolerate excuses
for failure by our protective and security
services to keep our country safe. At today s
(yesterday) meeting I was very clear to all
heads... a murder is simply not a murder...
violence is not simply violence," Persad-
A very small majority, she added, was
"eating away" at the peace and security
of law-abiding citizens.
"I have also made clear to each member
of the NSC that they would be held per-
sonally accountable for any form of failure
to keep the peace and protect our citi-
"As the ones in charge of the respective
arms of the protective security services,
they must perform... no shades of grey,
no excuses, no apologies."
• No leave for all police officers.
• Further modernisation and development
of National Operations Centre.
• Closer monitoring by PM on the
performance of National Security
• Greater collaborative effort between the
Police Service and the Defence Force.
• Police to work with Ministries of the
People and Gender to provide safe houses
to victims of domestic violence.
• New dogs for Canine Unit.
PM reads riot act to NSC...
No more excuses
in war on crime
Rapid Response Unit launched
Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams, from left, National Operations Centre
director Garvin Heerah, Vice Chief of Defence Staff, Anthony Phillips-Spencer and Chief
of Defence Staff Major General Kenrick Maharaj following yesterday's National Security
Council meeting at Diplomatic Centre, St Ann's. PHOTO: BRIAN NG FATT
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