By Nalinee Seelal and Darcel Choy Saturday, January 11 2014
LAW-ABIDING citizens of this country continue to live in fear after being terrorised daily and kept literally under the guns of bandits, hitmen and gangsters as Trinidad and Tobago yesterday recorded its 23rd murder for this year.
In addition, five middle aged men were shot and wounded as they were liming on George Street, Port-of-Spain, while in Couva, boldfaced gangsters sprayed expletive-laden graffiti threatening death to “informants”, on the walls of Housing Development Corporation (HDC) buildings. (See Page 5A)
The murders and general lawlessness continued unabated even as the House of Representatives sat yesterday to continue debate on the Bail (Amendment) Bill 2013, which National Security Minister Gary Griffith said was important legislation needed to fight crime.
The debate, for large periods, was punctuated by much picong and theatrics as members on both sides of the political divide threw picong at each other.
However, there was no picong or joking around outside Parliament where, while the House of Representatives was in session yesterday, police were at the scene of a murder in the hillside terrain of National Avenue, Mt Hope, where the bullet-riddled body of a man was discovered 50 feet down a precipice.
According to reports, at about 11 am, residents of the area heard several gunshots emanating from somewhere in the hilly terrain in the area.
Residents alerted the St Joseph Police and a party of officers led by Inspector Mark Maharaj and including Sgt Vetus Hernandez, Sgt Rene Katwaroo and others went to the scene along with homicide officers.
Officers later found the barebacked body of a man 50 feet down the precipice. Fire officers were contacted for assistance in retrieving the body. It took about three hours before the body could be recovered from the bottom of the precipice.
Firemen discovered a TT Passport in the pocket of a pair of black track pants worn by the man. The Passport, police said, bore the name “Arvin Maharaj” who was born in 1978. Police sources said they are not depending on this passport as a conclusive form of identifying the murdered man.
As such, the victim’s fingerprints were printed by police who were yesterday in the process of comparing it to prints in the Police Service fingerprint database in the hope of making a positive match. In addition, sources said investigators intend to liaise with officials from the Immigration Department in hopes of verifying the details of the Passport found on the man.
The body was later removed to the Forensic Science Centre where once formal identification is made, an autopsy will be done. No motive has been established for this murder and no arrest has been made.
Meanwhile, investigations are continuing into an incident in which a group of middle aged men were targetted and shot multiple times by gunmen on Thursday night liming in front of the Post Office at George Street in Port-of-Spain. The five were still warded at Port-of-Spain General Hospital up to press time, with one of them warded in serious condition after being shot in the back.
According to police, at about 10 pm on Thursday, Evans Friday, 62, of Shafford Court, Port-of-Spain; Carlos Thompson, 58, of Village Council Street, Laventille; Lyndon Samuels, 55, of Fatman Lane, Morvant; Jerad Manswell, 41, of Nelson Street, Port-of-Spain and Lennox Luces, 59, of Cajuca Street, Morvant, were liming at George Street with others when three men walked up, pulled out guns and fired shots at the limers.
Friday was shot in his left leg, Samuels was shot in his left foot, Manswell was also shot in his legs, Luces was shot in the right leg while Thompson was shot twice in the back, as he tried to escape the barrage of bullets. The gunmen then robbed a 60-year-old woman of her car which they used to escape.
The five were all rushed to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital where they were treated and warded. Several persons yesterday said the shooting victims were regular limers at the spot where the shooting took place.
Newsday was told gang members from Mango Rose have put aside murderous animosity to unite with gang members from Duncan Street to target persons from George Street.
Residents blamed the police for turning a blind eye to the crime situation in East Port-of-Spain and added that despite claims of increased patrols and police visibility, East Port-of-Spain is not patrolled at all at nights.
Up to last night, while the sitting of the House was still in session, no arrest has been made in the Mt Hope murder and the shooting of the George Street limers.