Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 15th 2014 Contents KALIFA CLYNE
A military manhunt for a man
who soldiers say can help them
solve the murder of their colleague
Kayode Thomas led to drama on
the doorstep of Guardian Media Ltd
The suspect, identified as Dillon
"Bandy" Skeete, agreed to meet with
a T&T Guardian reporter earlier
After several conversations
between the reporter and a lawyer
representing him, Skeete eventually
agreed to meet at the T&T Guardian
building at St Vincent Street, Port-
of-Spain, around 4 pm.
A series of incidents took place
shortly before the meeting.
Armed soldiers rushed into the
Queen Street carpark of the news-
paper and questioned the security
guard and another member of staff
about a red Mazda car which had
been parked there since 6.15 am.
The driver of the car told the secu-
rity guard on duty that she was a
new employee and worked at CNC3.
When she left, however, she said she
was working at the T&T Guardian
Another group of soldiers were
seen parked on St Vincent Street,
metres away from the entrance to
the T&T Guardian building, in a mil-
Shortly after 3 pm, Skeete s lawyer,
Russell Warner, arrived in the lobby.
Skeete, accompanied by three
women, arrived moments later. Dur-
ing the interview, Skeete claimed he
was being hunted across the country
by soldiers and feared for his life.
As the interview was ending,
about 20 minutes later, an uniden-
tified man telephoned the T&T
Guardian operator and said there
was a bomb in the building and it
would blow up if "you all don t --
--ing come out."
By then Skeete had left the build-
A senior soldier then telephoned
an editor saying he had heard a man
who soldiers were looking for was
in the building.
After the bomb threat, alarms
were set off and staff from the var-
ious media arms of GML, including
television station CNC3 and the
GML radio stations, began pouring
out of the building to gather at the
muster point at Woodford Square.
Police and firefighters blocked off
St Vincent Street, directing rush-
hour traffic along alternative routes.
Police assigned to Special Branch,
the intelligence-gathering unit of
the Police Service, were the first to
respond. They were later joined by
police assigned to the Canine Unit
and two bomb-sniffing dogs.
During a detailed search, which
lasted almost two hours, the police
were accompanied by three members
of GML staff. They gave the all-clear
to return to the building around 5.45
The disruption delayed the CNC3
7 pm newscast and affected the
Crime Watch programme and other
Skeete s lawyer said his client was
able to elude the military dragnet
and made it to a safe location.
Tuesday, July 15, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
GEISHA KOWLESSAR & JENSEN LE
About 20 heavily armed soliders
went to the Couva home of Dillon
"Bandy" Skeete s relatives yesterday
in three military jeeps, demanding
that his relatives give him up.
One of the jeeps carried the licence
Skeete s aunt, Pamela Lee, said
around 6 am her mother ran into
her kitchen saying the house was
surrounded by soldiers.
She said there were four people
in the house, including a four-year-
old. Lee said she then called her
lawyer, who called the police.
"I was terrified. The soldiers were
all around the house and they were
taking pictures of the house.
"The place was scary and it was
very embarrassing for me because I
live in a residential area and these
things don t happen to me. The sol-
diers said I am not the police, I will
deal with him (Skeete) different, "
She said other soldiers told her
they were doing a check in the area.
"My husband was on his way to
work and the soldiers stopped the
van and searched it and then they
let him go. The police told me they
were doing a check but they did not
tell us what they were checking for
or who they were looking for," Lee
Another soldier, who only iden-
tified himself as "Robbie", she added,
urged her to surrender Skeete and
suggested they meet alone at a loca-
tion in Couva.
She said she told him she preferred
that Skeete surrender to the police
but he insisted Skeete should give
himself up to the soldiers.
Contacted yesterday, civil military
affairs officer of the Defence Force
Major Al Alexander only confirmed
there was a joint police and military
operation in Couva.
Military manhunt, bomb scare at GML
In the interview Skeete said mem-
bers of his family were being ha-
rassed by soldiers in different parts
of the country.
He said on July 9, his mother's
house in Toco was searched, operat-
ing without police assistance.
Skeete described similar searches
at his home in East Dry River, Port-
of-Spain, and at a relative's home in
Couva. Soldiers also searched an-
other relative's home in Champs
"I'm scared for my life," Skeete
said, adding that there was no war-
rant out for his arrest.
A member of the police Homicide
Bureau confirmed there was no war-
rant out for Skeete nor was he
wanted for questioning over the sol-
Skeete said he has had no direct
conversation with either police or
soldiers and had been speaking to
police through his lawyers.
"To me, it looks like those soldiers
just want to out my lights. They are
coming in masks and they are
threatening my family," he said.
He admitted that he has two mat-
ters pending in court for purchasing
a stolen phone and obscene lan-
guage and said some other matters,
which he did not identify, were
thrown out of court.
Skeete said soldiers had harassed
his eight-year-old son and his girl-
Asked why he felt soldiers were
looking for him, he said he was told it
was in relation to the murder of
Thomas on June 29.
"He (Thomas) was my cousin. He
was killed in Beverly Hills. I am from
East Dry River. There is no way I can
He explained that was because of
conflict between some residents of
He said he could not go to work as
a contractor with the Housing Devel-
opment Corporation or stay home
with his children but was forced to
hide in fear for his life.
"I really want this to stop," he
The T&T Guardian contacted
civil military affairs officer of the
Defence Force Major Al Alexander,
who said soldiers were accompa-
nied by police when they searched
Skeete's relatives' home in Couva.
Neither Alexander or Public Af-
fairs Officer of the Regiment, Capt
Stefan Alfonso, said they were
looking into information provided
by the media yesterday.
Alfonso said: "The regiment is
investigating these reports and we
are also asking members of the
public to co-operate with us and
provide any information or evi-
dence of abuse by soldiers to help
We warned this
Secretary of the Police Service
Social and Welfare Association
Insp Michael Seales said an inci-
dent like that was bound to hap-
pen and for far too long some
soldiers had been acting outside
their stipulated duties.
He pointed out: "We have been
warning about this for a while. Sol-
diers have no investigative pow-
"It is wrong. The association
frowns on that type of behaviour
and we will do everything in our
power to grind this to a halt until
there is some semblance of bal-
"Police are the only ones with
investigative powers. If the De-
fence Force wants to continue
with this behaviour---and we are
sending this message to the Chief
of Defence Staff also---that if they
want to travel down this road, it
will destroy the democracy and
break down every institution that
has been constitutionally estab-
"The police commissioner must
come clean and say what is the
next instruction he must give po-
When contacted National Secu-
rity Minister Gary Griffith said sol-
diers had not been given extra
powers and warned that any soldier
caught breaking the law would face
the full brunt of the law.
He said: "Soldiers have not been
given any extra powers. They are al-
lowed to patrol and the soldiers
have been doing a very good job in
Laventille and in the other hot spot
areas where they have been pa-
trolling. I cannot please everyone
and I am not here to please every-
"But all the soldiers cannot be
painted with a broad brush because
of the irresponsible actions of a
few," Griffith said.
He said he would ensure that
nothing was swept under the car-
pet, adding that he was not afraid to
stick his head out to ensure justice
was served for all.
Commenting on the bomb
threat, managing director of
Guardian Media Ltd Lisa Agard
said it was an attack on press
"I am very concerned if some-
one can so easily and so noncha-
lantly call in a bomb threat in to a
media house and disrupt our oper-
ations so significantly.
"We have to be very concerned
and we have to be worried about
this attack on the media --- and we
regard it as an attack on the
media," Agard said.
A member of the Canine Branch makes his way yesterday to the GML building, St Vincent Street, Port-of-Spain,
with his sniffer dog. PHOTO: KALIFA CLYNE
Skeete: I'm scared for my life
No extra powers for soldiers---Gary
Soldiers raid relatives home in Couva
A masked soldier stands guar
outside the home of Pamela
Lee during a search of her
home in Couva yesterday.
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