Trinidad Hit By 5th Explosion In Four Months

Hardbeatnews, PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Fri. Oct 28, 2005: A fifth explosion in four months rocked the Trinidad capital of Port-of-Spain just after 10 yesterday morning leaving police late yesterday unclear as to whether it is linked to the four other bombings or is the work of copy cats.

The latest blast, a low intensity device, went off outside the old Spektakula building on Henry Street, Port of Spain yesterday morning, but unlike the previous incidents that occurred between July and October 14, no one was injured.

HBN understands that an explosive device was placed in a plastic bottle outside the building, which is currently under renovation.
Fragments from the blast were reportedly found near the Roytec building on the opposite side of the street. Initial investigations revealed that the device was one of low intensity, and did not cause much structural damage.
Within minutes, police and army officers cordoned off the area and officers of the newly established Explosives Device Unit were on the scene with tracker dogs.

One FBI agent and a representative of the US Embassy also went to the site, along with Mayor of Port of Spain, Murchinson Brown, who said he’s relieved and happy that no one was injured in the explosion. He appealed to the culprits to refrain from carrying out such acts.

“If you really love this country you wouldn’t do anything to harm it or the people of this country,” he said, adding that he is confident that the police will catch the perpetrators of the acts.

However, Police Commissioner Trevor Paul was not immediately available, as he was attending to business in the Southern part of the island. Deputy Commissioner Glen Roach, who was on the scene, said the incident may not be the work of the rubbish bomber and is possibly a copycat.

At the weekly Post Cabinet news conference yesterday afternoon, Minister of National Security Martin Joseph said the government was informed of the event. He said a police officer who was stationed close to the site responded immediately and found a plastic bottle with the bottom end blown off and a “soapy, powdery” substance inside.

He assured that FBI experts were on their way to assist local cops in getting to the bottom of the spate of bombings. “The team will comprise expertise in bomb blast detection, device reconstruction and forensic scientists,” he said.

Minister Joseph also dispelled reports that the FBI was setting up an office in Trinidad and Tobago to protect American interests alone.

His comments came two days after he admitted that the perpetrator of the bombings was being considered a terrorist.

“The people who are behind this, they are engaged in terrorist activities,” he said then. “Our responsibilities as persons who have the responsibility of ensuring the safety and security of citizens is to eliminate just that, that fear and uncertainty.”

The business community has been pressing for the installation of security cameras in and around the capital city with the hope that the bomber would be caught on tape, but Minister Joseph says a lot needs to be put in place before that can happen. He assured, however, that surveillance cameras would be installed before the end of the year.

In a twist to the story, yesterday’s incident happened just an hour before the Downtown Owners and Merchants Association was scheduled to hand over a check to one of the victims of the first explosion on Frederick Street, Yvonne Mc Ivor. Ms. Mc Ivor lost her leg in that blast, which occurred on July 11th.

The other explosions occurred on August 10th, September 10th and October 14th. Four days after the October 14th bombing outside a popular pub in St. James, Prime Minister Patrick Manning announced in Parliament that the government knew who was behind the bombings.

“The government has a good idea of who ‘Mr. Big’ is in this matter … and let me say there is a difference between information and evidence. Under our Constitution you need much more than information to able to bring people to justice,” he said then. “We are collecting our information and we are bringing to bear the best technical expertise available to the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, which very shortly we will supplement with expertise from Scotland Yard and expertise from the FBI, so that we will give our country the best chance of successfully emerging from this situation and that we will more than likely be able to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

Manning is yet to name ‘Mr. Big’ but FBI honcho, Robert Muller this week flew to T&T and announced plans to work closer with the government and set up an attaché office here to help eliminate the crime scourge. –