PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad — January 2018 will go down in Trinidad and Tobago’s history as the country’s bloodiest month, with the highest number of murders recorded over a 31-day period.
According to the Trinidad Guardian, at least 63 people were murdered in the country since the start of the year. This surpasses the 2008 figure for January when 57 people were killed.
Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams, speaking on a television program, said that despite the police seizing more than 1,000 illegal weapons, the country’s porous borders were making it easy for the illegal guns to enter the country.
“They are coming from the USA, they are coming from Latin America generally and, therefore, our challenge is how we secure our borders against the entry of those weapons.
“The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service has focused on firearms seizure as a critical area of our consideration and we have been annually increasing the number of firearms seized in Trinidad and Tobago”.
Williams said that the seizure of 1,064 weapons last year “is way beyond my wildest dream, [in] that, we would have been ever able to seize in excess of a thousand firearms in Trinidad and Tobago”.
He said despite the record seizure it has failed to dent in the number of gun-related crimes here, including murder, reiterating an earlier position that law enforcement agencies need public assistance in order to deal with the escalating criminal activities.
He said the seizure “has not… impacted our violent crime situation and we are exploring different strategies clearly geared towards ensuring that we can create a safer environment.
“But it is tough business,” he said, noting that he had listened to a former police commissioner speaking to the Joint Select Committee of Parliament and he was emphasising, in addressing our situation, that we have to look at it in a broad context.
“Agencies like the police service are just addressing one form of social control but we have a broader consideration to look at, the issues of around the family, the church, education, the community, all those are key institutions of social control,” he said.
He said these institutions must be strengthened if the country is to win the battle against crime.
Last year, Trinidad and Tobago recorded a total of 495 murders, as against 463 the previous year. Head of the Homicide Bureau, ACP Anthony James, believes that with time, the right equipment, legislative backing and the public supporting them, the murder toll can be significantly reduced.
Among the recent casualties is 20-year-old Ricardo Prescott, who was fatally shot at his home in Trou Macaque on Monday. Police said Prescott lived near the area where schoolboy Joshua Andrews and PH taxi driver Devon Fernandez were shot and their bodies burnt in a vehicle in Laventille on January 7.
Police are yet to determine a motive for the killing but believe that it was gang-related.
On Sunday at about 8.15 pm, Miguel Cruickshank, 30, was shot while at Furness Witty Road, Upper Erica Street. He died at the Port-of-Spain General Hospital while undergoing treatment.
Also, at 10.30 pm Keston Mayers was gunned down at Never Dirty in Morvant.
On January 26, the body of a man that was found at Wharf Trace, Maracas/St Joseph was identified as Christopher Crosby, 49, of Carenage. An autopsy revealed that he died from a single gunshot wound to the head. The Sunday Guardian reported that between January 1, 2013, to December 31, 2017, 2,190 people were murdered.Of that number, 391 of those killings have been solved.