Amnesty Zooms In On Trinidad Police

LONDON, England, Apr 26, 2006 – Taking the heat off Jamaica cops, international rights group, Amnesty International is now zoning in on Trinidad and Tobago’s police department.

In a report released today, the group claims argues that between 2003 and 2005, 35 people died after being shot by T&T police or while in their custody. Yet AI officials said that there is a lack of available information regarding investigations into any of the other reported cases. And they slammed the lack of disclosure as proof of the authorities’ lack of commitment in bringing those responsible to account, pointing to cases like the October 2004 killing of 17-year-old Sherman Monsegue, who was shot and killed by a police officer in the street.

AI officials also highlighted the April 2004 killing of 41-year-old Galene Bonadie, who was killed by a police officer in Morvant, a village in North-West Trinidad at close range with a rifle after she intervened to stop the police beating a man.

“Galene’s case perfectly illustrates how Trinidad and Tobago’s police forces respond to a rise in crime: using lethal force without measuring the terrible consequences it has on dozens of people and their families,” stated AI.

The rights criticism of the T&T cops comes as crime rate in the oil rich state remains high, with murders and kidnappings plummeting in the recent years.

But Kerrie Howard, Amnesty International Americas Program Deputy Director, insists, “A Code of Conduct, which includes what actions or omissions are considered abuses, and which holds individual officers accountable would not only prevent abuses from happening in the future but might have prevented the killing of 35 people in the islands since 2003.” (