Trinidad’s Murder Toll Continues To Climb
Hardbeatnews, PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Thurs. Mar 15, 2006: The murder toll in Trinidad and Tobago now stands at 80 in 74 days with ten murders recorded in the twin island republic in just the last week.
Compared to the same period last year, there have been 13 more murders this year, a 20 per cent increase. Detection rates have also gone down with 26.15 percent rate in 2004, 23.95 per cent in 2005 and 10.25 per cent for this year so far, police said.
On Saturday night, March 11th, 26-year-old Shawn Leacock of Maraval was gunned down just as he closed his vegetable and fruit stall and was walking to his Faustin Trace home.
Then half-an- hour later, in Sangre Grande, East Trinidad, 21-year-old Daniel Tang was killed after he and three other men allegedly entered the North-Eastern Settlement home of a 58 year-old man.
On Sunday morning, March 12, an accountant, Paul Roopsingh, 55, of Maracas, St Joseph, was found dead at his home. He’d been strangled with an electrical cord.
The last murder recorded for the weekend was that of Rasheed Ali, 25, who was found decapitated at his Coryal Road in Princes Town, home in South Trinidad.
On Monday police investigated two murders, in Diego Martin in West Trinidad, and in Arima in East Trinidad while on Tuesday morning, a 30-year-old man was gunned down mere meters from his home in Beetham Gardens, a slum area just outside the capital, Port of Spain.
Less than 10 hours earlier, police had responded to reports of another murder in the same community. Later that night, residents two men were killed in separate incidents in Belmont, a suburb of Port of Spain.
Residents reported hearing several gunshots and discovered the bullet-riddled body of Maraval resident Andrew Geoffroy, 57.
Then just over one hour later residents of Shafford Court Belmont discovered the lifeless body of Keron Harewood, 21, lying in a pool of blood. He’d been shot several times.
The murder rate has been steadily increasing over the last three years but there has been a decline in homicide detection rates.
Criminologist Professor Ramesh Deosaran says and that the statistics of increasing crime with lower detection rates reflect a dire indictment of the police.
“As the murder rate goes up, the detection rate goes down. You cannot stop murders but you can control the detection rate," he said.
Professor Deosaran also noted that the conviction rate for murder and kidnapping was also depressingly low and that judges and magistrates’ laxness in granting bail to repeat offenders must be dealt with by the state.
“The Police Complaints Authority had failed to clean up the Police Service regarding policemen who were clearly guilty of malicious prosecution, framing persons, nepotism and delinquency,” Professor Deosaran said.
Yesterday, the country’s parliamentarians debated government’s much touted Police Reform Bills as Opposition Leader Basdeo Panday launched a scathing attack on the government over its handling of the situation.
He called on government to take stringent measures in dealing with the escalating crime rate saying legislation alone cannot address the problem.
“Kidnapping has continued unabated! Crime has continued unabated!” he said. “We have had 20 percent more (murders) since last year, so the law itself is not dealing with crime and will never deal with crime.”
The opposition condemned the spending of millions of taxpayers’ dollars to hold a Cabinet retreat while ignoring the needs of the police service.
Panday noted that while the country undergoes a major construction boom, police stations are dilapidated and officers are left without the required resources to do their jobs effectively.
However, the opposition leader said the party would continue to support any meaningful measures undertaken to curb crime and will continue to hold talks with government on legislative reform. – Hardbeatnews.com