By ALEXANDER BRUZUAL Friday, January 3 2014
The new year has had a murderous start, as over the course of two days, seven persons were killed and a body was found — making it one of the bloodiest 48-hour periods in the nation’s history.
The murdered victims are Pastor Casimir Khan, 52, Leroy Haynes, 65, Francis Bernard, 31, Curtis Lovelace, 55, Omardath Deokienanan, 43, and his 47-year-old wife Sharon Bahadoor.
In 2013, it took more than 10 days for the murder toll to reach seven.
a body, which was found near the Caroni Bird Sanctuary yesterday afternoon, has yet to be identified, but police believe foul play was involved.
Police reported, at about 3.45 pm yesterday, a group of persons were catching crabs along the TTEC Link Road, off the north bound lane of the Uriah Butler Highway, when they stumbled upon the body of a man floating face down in the river.
The man, reported to be of East Indian descent, was wearing a pair of blue three-quarter pants and a blue jersey. Police said the man had a tattoo on the left upper arm, and appeared to be between 35 and 40 years old. He appeared to have marks of violence about his body and two concrete blocks were tied to his legs.
The police were notified and a party of Central Division Officers and officers from the Homicide Bureau of Investigations, including Acting Senior Superintendent Johnny Abraham, Inspector Terrence Williams, and Sgt Jitindra Tooleram visited the scene.
The man was officially pronounced dead by District Medical Officer DR Ramlogan who ordered the body removed to the Forensic Science Centre, St James where an autopsy will be performed if it is identified.
About nine hours earlier, Leroy Haynes was savagely beaten and set on fire by a resident in Cocorite yesterday morning.
Police reported at about 6 am, a resident of Waterhole, Cocorite, was seen beating Haynes. The police were notified, however, before they could arrive, the individual doused Haynes with a flammable substance and set him on fire. The suspect then fled the scene as residents tried to put out the flames that had engulfed Haynes. Shortly after, a party of Western Division officers and officials from the Homicide Bureau of Investigations, including Inspector Henry Dan, Inspector Kern Ferreira, Inspector Roger Thomas, Sgt Beard and Cpl Beckles, arrived along with officials from the Emergency Health Services.
Haynes was rushed to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital, however, he succumbed to his injuries at about 7.30 am.
The officers returned to the scene, questioned several persons and were able to detain a 25-year- old-man. Haynes, police said, was “from the area” but had no fixed place of abode. They said he used to spend his nights in abandoned homes, and by residents who took pity on him. They also said Haynes had a history of “mental problems” and could sometimes be an annoyance, but despite this he was well loved in the community.
In the third killing, police reported that on Wednesday, New Year’s night, Francis Bernard, 31, of Agua Santa, Wallerfield, was at home liming with family and friends when, at about 8.30 pm, he left the group and went outside.
The relatives continued their lime, assuming the 31-year-old father of one had gone to get some fresh air, however, at about 10 pm they heard loud explosions. Upon investigating, they found Bernard’s body at the back of his home.
The police and emergency services were notified and officers from the Eastern Division and the Homicide Bureau of Investigations visited the scene. The area was cordoned off and several persons were questioned, as crime scene investigators recovered several spent shells.
Bernard’s body was then removed to the Forensic Science Centre, St James where an autopsy was performed yesterday.
Bernard’s sister Curlene J Daniel told reporters her brother was a kind and loving person, who tried to rise above his “troubled past” for the sake of his loved ones.
“He wasn’t perfect and he did spend some time in jail. He kept company that was not good for him, but since he damaged his leg and was on a disability grant he was trying to be a better person.
He was a good man to me and to his family. Last time I spoke to him he was in front my house and he came and wished me all the best for the new year,” Daniel said.
Earlier at about 8 pm, Tobago recorded its first murder with the death of 54-year-old Curtis Lovelace.
Lovelace, who police said was originally from Toco, was killed by a visitor to his home at Bacolet Point. They said the visitor went to the house to see his son, whose mother is Marilyn Thomas, Lovelace’s common-law wife. The man got into an argument with Thomas, during which he got hold of a sharp instrument and stabbed Thomas several times.
Thomas ran to the bathroom where Lovelace was and told him what happened before running from the house screaming. The suspect gave chase and when Lovelace confronted the man he fatally stabbed him. The suspect has since been detained. Thomas received treatment at Scarborough General Hospital and was discharged.
Khan, the first murder victim, was shot dead outside his home at Mausica Road, D’Abadie, at about 2.25 am during an attempted robbery.
Khan’s son Ezra, 18, was shot in the face and back and is on life support at San Fernando General Hospital, after being transferred from the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope.
In a statement, the Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers Association (TTMA) yesterday expressed alarm at the continued high murder rate, citing the more than 400 murders recorded in 2013.
“Four hundred murders for 2013 is 400 too many for our society. We need all stake holders (government and non-government) on board to work toward resolving this very serious problem in order to move forward with our nation’s developmental goals,” the TTMA said.
The TTMA said the protection of TT’s borders and the implementation of scanners at ports must be fast-tracked. The association noted the country had “ a plethora of legislation in place to deal with crime at all levels; however there is a deficiency in enforcement, detection and conviction.” The TTMA called for measures to be put in place to address the shortcomings.