Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 29th 2014 Contents A6
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Passengers wait on a flight to return to Trinidad at the terminal at the Arthur NR Robinson International
Airport, Tobago, yesterday. They were among the thousands who visited the island for the Tobago Jazz
Experience. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
"We don t negotiate with crim-
inals." This was the statement
made yesterday by National Secu-
rity Minister Gary Griffith as he
plans to wage war against gangs
leaders and other criminal ele-
He was speaking in the wake of
recent shootings by gang members
against law enforcement officers in
the past month.
Last week Saturday, gunmen
opened fire on officers who were
parked at the side of a road in John
John, Laventille, which injured three
people, including an eight-year-old
The day before that officers were
subjected to rapid gunfire by gun-
men at Beverly Hills, Laventille.
In a phone interview yesterday,
Griffith said when officers defended
themselves, members of the public
protested against it.
"What happens is when the offi-
cers retaliate it is the same indi-
viduals who associate with them
(criminals) jump up and defend
them. They are not helping society,
they are leeches and parasites.
"If they want to fight, they pick
the wrong one. The law enforce-
ment agencies need to fight back
and let them know their place," he
Griffith said he had no plans for
T&T to end up like Jamaica where
gang members controlled commu-
He added: "T&T would not end
up like Jamaica where certain gangs
took control of communities and
called it their turf.
"They don t own that and if they
want turf let them pay for it and
it is not through the barrel of a
gang. This would not be a place
where in communities no one has
access to it.
"I am not talking the talk. I am
demanding that no criminal ele-
ments involved in criminal activity
should get contracts from the State
in any way.
"The reason is the principles of
war. You don t financially support
them and pay for their drugs and
their gang members.
"How can we now ask law
enforcement officers to take care
of the enemy. My concept is to cut
their financial supply which feeds
their support base.
"We don t negotiate with crim-
inals and I need support from mem-
bers of the public for evidence for
successful arrests," he said.
Crime had been reduced by 38
per cent and homicides by 25 per
cent, he said.
handful of figures are manipulating
the younger ones and they are the
big fish. I am calling on the public
to assist. They want fight... they
will get one," he said.
Griffith said his ministry was
forming a National Security special
operation group of highly trained
task force officers to deal with crim-
inal activity, terrorism, explosives
and gang-related activities.
JENSEN LA VENDE
Continuing gang warfare in
east Port-of-Spain left a three-
year-old boy nursing a gunshot
The incident occurred one day
after an eight-year-old boy was
grazed by a gunman s bullet in
Police said as a result of the
shooting incidents, there would
be increased presence of officers
in the area.
According to police reports,
three-year-old Gabriel Cuffie,
while at his home at Morvant
Old Road, Success Village,
Laventille, on Sunday night, was
shot in the left shoulder, with
the bullet exiting his arm,
Police said around 11 pm, four
gunmen stormed into the yard
and opened fire on those gath-
The shooters shot Cuffie and
Nisha Vincent, 24, who was
holding her four year-old son
Josiah in her arms.
On Saturday, eight-year-old
Brent Bonaparte was also shot
in the shoulder at Block, 22,
Officers of the Inter-Agency
Task Force reported that there
were responding to reports of a
shooting in Block Eight, Laven-
tille, when on reaching Foster
Road they were fired on.
They returned fire but the
three gunmen escaped. The offi-
cers then went to the Port-of-
Spain General Hospital where
they found Michael Singh, 26,
who had been shot in his right
shoulder and abdomen; Latisha
Lewis, 22, who was shot in her
lower back; and Bonaparte. All
three were believed to have been
shot by the three escaped gun-
In a telephone interview with
the T&T Guardian yesterday,
Cuffie s mother, Luanne Cuffie,
38, said she was bathing when
the shooting started.
After hearing the gunshots she
raced outside to see the gunmen
shooting in her children s direc-
"I saw my son Jeremiah hold-
ing his brother s hand and they
were asking where mummy? I
see fire coming out of the gun.
I just grab my towel and grab
my children and run."
"When they came they told
everybody lie down on the
ground and they start to shoot.
Them (gunmen) don t study
anyone. They just do what they
want. I not feeling safe again. I
can t go back there and sleep. I
am worried for my children,"
Cuffie said, adding the police
told her over 30 spent shells
were recovered at the scene.
She said only after she ran
into the roadway she realised
her son had been hit. Cuffie said
she would be taking it one day
at a time and that her son was
"good" at the Eric Williams
Medical Complex, Mt Hope,
where he is warded.
A few houses away, Vincent s
mother, Martha Vincent, said
she heard gunshots and yelled
out her daughter s name. She
was later informed her daughter
had been injured.
Vincent said her daughter was
running home when she fell
clutching her son, Josiah Vin-
She described the situation as
"frightening and sad" and
thanked God her daughter and
the child "made it." She said it
was the first time she had ever
experienced something like that.
She said her grandchild told her
"he was with mummy when she
get shoot and both of them fall
Head of the Port-of-Spain
Division Snr Supt Cyril Harry
in a telephone interview said his
men were continuing their
investigations with the hope of
identifying and prosecuting the
men. He added that the lawmen
were asking the public to assist
"We will have increased
patrols in those areas, based on
discussions we had this morn-
ing, those areas in Laventille,
we are putting special focus on
them," he said.
Another child shot
in gang warfare
Griffith plans war
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