Major arrests

A heavy police presence in Port-Of-Spain.
A heavy police presence in Port-Of-Spain.

PORT OF SPAIN — After last week’s spate of murders in East Port of Spain and Laventille, which left a total of five young men and one pregnant teenage girl dead, the police backed up by the Regiment arrested a total of 90 men from Duncan, George and Nelson Streets yesterday morning.

This is apart from the 12 suspected gang members who were arrested in Laventille last week Thursday night.

Yesterday morning’s raiding party consisted of approximately 300 police officers supported by 100 soldiers.

For the last week residents of East Port of Spain in an area known as “The Plannings”, cried out for protection by the state as residents described being fed-up with the sometimes broad daylight murders along with the nightly and constant crackle of gun-fire.

Shot dead on Wednesday were cousins, Nyam Antoine aged 16 and Rasheeda Gomez who was also aged 16 but was pregnant for an 18-year-old resident of lower Duncan Street, Shondell Braithwaite who remains at the Port of Spain General Hospital in stable condition.

Killed in Laventille later that afternoon were Shawn Lewis aged 17 and another man Christopher Peters, 24, while on Wednesday night Samuel “Taboo” Brewster, aged 29, was found shot dead at Mango Alley, Laventille while Akin Perry aged 28 was killed at Blondell Alley in Laventille.

The following day residents received a visit from Prime Minister, Kamla Persad-Bissessar who empathised with them and their plight and even cried when she spoke to Natasha Rogers who was the mother of Nyam Antoine.

The delegation included National Security Minister Emmanuel George, Chief of Defence Staff Kenrick Maharaj and Acting CoP Stephen Williams, the latter who revealed some chilling statistics namely that in the last four years a total of 138 people had been murdered within a 200-metre radius in East Port of Spain.

Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar also promised residents some immediate relief from the violence by proposing that a police base camp be set up in the neighbourhood.

The Prime Minister held talks with Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley which will be followed by another meeting this Thursday with the goal of arriving at a solution.

Rowley visited the area Saturday along with Port of Spain South MP, Marlene McDonald.

Prior to last week’s murder spree however residents of East Port of Spain complained vehemently about gang members for Laventille occupying Duncan and Nelson Street apartments and throwing out the legitimate tenants.

Last week Saturday Housing Minister, Dr Roodlal Moonilal along with HDC’s Managing Director, Jearlean John met with Williams and the displaced residents were assured that their homes would be returned to them.

Yesterday’s raid began at 3 a.m. and ended at 10 a.m.

While searching the apartments those who were not detained were asked to remain outside as a thorough search of certain residences were carried out.

A few residents complained while the majority looked on and did not say much.

Those who complained accused the police of keeping them outside their apartments for a long period while officers along with sniffer dogs searched the buildings for arms and ammunition.

Other people mostly younger women complained that their brothers and respective children’s father were being detained for no reason.

Assistant Commissioner of Police, Glen Hackett, who headed the raid disagreed and cited several reasons for the detention of these men.

Out of the 90 arrested some are expected to be charged with gun and ammunition possession, outstanding warrants, shooting with intent, wounding, issuing threats, the illegal occupation of Housing Development Corporation apartments and murder. (Express)

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