The murder toll for 2022 has now crossed 500 after the country recorded four more killings between Friday night and yesterday. A double murder at a cemetery in Tunapuna yesterday morning, a killing in Morvant yesterday morning and one in Enterprise on Friday night brought the toll to 501 up to late yesterday.
Two brothers, Nirmal Rambaran, 18, and Elvis Hernandez, 28, from Prescott Lane, Tunapuna, were shot dead at the Streatham Lodge Public Cemetery at 10.20 am by gunmen who opened fire on them after an altercation. A third man was rushed to hospital after being injured in the shooting.
The father of the murder victims, Dalsingh Rambaran told the Sunday Guardian that he was at home when he received the news that his sons were killed.
“I thought they were shot in the leg, but I didn’t know they were dead. They had an argument with some fellows, but I don’t know where they are from. After the argument, the fellows returned in a car and jumped out. Three were shot and one is in the hospital. One is a market vendor who took a day to clean the cemetery. The next son, Elvis came to lime with his brother. None of my sons gave any trouble.
“This country is in trouble. I wish my family and I could leave the country,” a distraught Rambaran said.
According to police, the third victim who is in the hospital gave them critical information and investigations are ongoing.
On Friday night, a 26-year-old father of two, Roger Charles was gunned down at Crown Trace, Enterprise.
Police are continuing investigations into that murder.
At 1.30 am yesterday, 47-year-old Noel Fermin, of Mon Repos Road, Morvant, who was shot, was taken to hospital where he succumbed to injuries. Police sources said that the facts of that murder are still sketchy and investigations are continuing.
‘A lot of officers despondent’
Ag Police Commissioner McDonald Jacob in an interview with Guardian Media called on the T&T Police Service (TTPS) to “not give up the fight” although the murder rate has crossed 500 for the year.
“The executive of the TTPS is very concerned with the number of murders we are having within the streets and communities. We have now reached 500 murders for the year so far with two more months for the year.
“I want to plead with my divisional commanders who are in command of their divisions and their spaces with streets and communities to provide proper service to our customers. I plead with them to remain resilient. A lot of them who are making an effort are despondent at this time as they see the murders in some divisions doubled and even tripled. Despite the recovery of firearms and the arrest of persons. I don’t want them as we reach 500 murders to give up the fight. I have to remain resilient.”
He assured the public that they will continue to implement the strategies that they have developed to fight criminals. The CoP asked critics not to be so negative and to give the hard-working police officers a chance.
“Rally around our divisional commanders. Give them encouragement to keep up the fight. See something say something. Hear something, say something. Those submachine guns that are proliferating our streets and communities and falling into the wrong hands of miscreants…We have recovered 102 of these submachine guns which are automatic rifles. It’s a record because the average over the last few years has been 66 per year. We have already seized 102 submachine guns out of the 580 firearms that are seized.”
He said internationally, obtaining firearms was big business as purchasing an AK 47 or an AR 15 is between $40,000 to $45,000, while a revolver is around $12,000.
“Somebody abroad is making a handsome amount of profits by sending these to T&T.”
Jacob said that the failure of the Bail Bill in Parliament was having an effect on some people as if they commit murder they can get bail.
“Our criminologists have done studies from other countries that show the effect of this. We need the support from other actors in the criminal justice system.”