‘Blame PNM for murder’
By Darcel Choy Wednesday, October 10 2012
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Final briefing?: National Security Minister Jack Warner tells reporters that he would have the police stop the public release of murder statistics dur...
National Security Minister Jack Warner yesterday described the killing of 30-year-old Stephon Morris as a “PNM murder.”
At a press conference in the Parliament building yesterday, Warner provided details of Morris’ murder which took place in Eastern Quarry, Laventille.
“At 3.45 (am), Stephon “Social” Morris, 28, of Simeon Road, St Ann’s, he went to Eastern Quarry, Laventille to visit his girlfriend and when he was leaving at 3.45 am he was approached by two gunmen who opened fire on him. The gunmen then escaped and he died on the spot. Police recovered 29 spent shells on the crime scene. Morris has been accustomed to visiting Laventille for the past year and only this morning, they thought it best to kill him. The police don’t as yet have a motive for the killing,” Warner told reporters.
Newsday later learned from Morris’ uncle, former Strike Squad captain Clayton Morris, Morris lived at Simeon Valley Road, St Ann’s, and had turned 30 on September 30.
Warner said he believed the murder could have been prevented if the Opposition had worked with the Government in the fight against crime.
“This murder could have been avoided if the PNM had gotten on board with us to make Laventille and this country safer. This murder could have been avoided if the PNM were not trying to glamorise murder and mayhem in the constituency. This could have been avoided if the PNM weren’t sponsoring crime, this murder is a PNM murder,” he said.
Warner said he has instructed the police not to release murder figures with immediate effect as an interim measure in an effort to “take away the Opposition’s desire to create mischief.”
“People are being encouraged when they see no crime happening in an area they want to make news, they want to make headlines. They get an incentive to do this. I gave figures. There has not been a murder for one month. The last murder was on September 9, there were 81 murders before that, (every) 24 hours a guy is dead, in some ways I feel guilty,” he said.
Warner in the Budget debate in Parliament on Monday provided murder statistics noting that the last murder in Laventille occurred on September 9. The killings stopped after Warner ordered soldiers to be stationed in Laventille to assist police patrols. Joint army/police patrols were also deployed under the former PNM administration with limited success.
When asked if he felt withholding the figures will reduce the crime rate, Warner said that was his feeling.
“I could be wrong, if I am wrong, time will tell. For me, at this point in time, advertising the number of murders that took place in an area, for me advertising that, I realise now it does not help. I will change my style and I will instruct all the police officers as of today. This has hurt me. This man should not have died this morning. People in Laventille were walking the streets once again, and this is to prove the Government wrong, to prove Jack Warner wrong and that does not make sense,” Warner said.
He said it was a pity that in the PNM’s constituencies “they were the ones who were sponsoring and encouraging mayhem and murder.”
“I say that unabated and without fear. I am telling the national community that as long as this continues, it means the PNM will be on one side and that side is crime, mayhem and murder and the Government will be on the other side for law and order,” he said.
Warner said he would have met with heads of security forces at his ministry yesterday to discuss further plans to provide security and safety for Laventille as well as other hot spots in the country.
“Unless this is done, we shall have a return of the old days when gang warfare was the order of the day,” he said.
Warner said he was angered that the Opposition now felt like their prayers were answered with Morris’ murder.
“At the end of the day today it is your children, tomorrow it is mine. All of us, in this one matter of crime have an investment,” he said.