T&T PM, Opposition Leader join forces against crime

(Trinidad Express) Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley have agreed to join forces to deal with the country’s crime scourge, including “untangling the hurdles” in the implementation of the death penalty.

They held a meeting at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s last Friday night to discuss the “upsurge in crime and criminality facing the nation”.

They vowed to work together on any changes to existing laws and the implementation of new laws, a statement from the Office of the Prime Minister said.

There was more bloodshed in the country this weekend with three more murders, two road fatalities and the discovery of a body.

On Friday around 12.45 p.m. 20-year-old Nicholas Pierre and Karim Harewood were at a construction site in Morvant when they were approached by a gunman.

The gunman opened fire shooting both men.

Pierre died at the Port of Spain General Hospital during the night while Harewood was listed in a serious condition up to press time.

Around 11.30 p.m. on Friday Kervin Ansolia, 34, was fixing a car outside his family’s Mausica Lands, Arima home when he was approached by a lone gunman.

Ansolia was fatally shot.

Around 12.30 a.m. residents of Dundonald Hill, St James heard gunshots in their area and called police.

When officers arrived, taxi driver Jason Phillips, 32, was found dead in the middle of the road.

Phillips was not known to police.

According to information obtained by police an arrest is expected to be made shortly.

Gordon Ferreira, 29, who was shot last Thursday when he entered the Diego Martin branch of First Citizens with a cutlass and demanded money, died in hospital yesterday.

In addition to the fatal shootings, two road fatalities were also recorded.

Around 11.45 p.m. on Friday Candace La Barrie, 32, died in a car crash along the Uriah Butler Highway.

She was killed on the spot following the accident. Three-week old Haydn, four-year-old Omega and their parents Obede and Faith Bynoe of Freeport and La Barrie’s husband, Stephen, were also injured.

Around 9.45 p.m. yesterday a red Nissan Almera driven by a man from Barataria slammed into two men killing one and seriously injuring the other.

According to reports the driver of the vehicle was attempting to overtake a line of traffic along Saddle Road in Maraval when he slammed into a garbage truck.

A 64-year-old Santa Cruz resident known only as “Pappy” was killed on the spot while Rondell Wilson was rushed to the Port of Spain General Hospital.

The driver is in police custody after a breathalyser test showed his alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit.

This country has seen a spike in murders for August with some 32 murders recorded since the beginning of the month.

This situation caused Persad-Bissessar and Rowley to meet to find a solution, the Office of the Prime Minister stated yesterday.

Rowley requested the meeting.

Persad-Bissessar led a contingent to Duncan Street on Thursday, while Rowley went to the area yesterday.

Persad-Bissessar and Rowley along with their respective support teams are scheduled to meet again on Thursday at the Diplomatic Centre “with a view to taking immediate, responsive action to treat with the causative factors specifically related to the problems that have arisen in the last week”.

“The Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition have also agreed to collaborate on any amendment or adjustment to existing, or new laws with respect to the challenges posed by the crime situation,” the release stated.

“There was agreement to implement legislative measures to deal with the issues of: gangs, witness protection and witness tampering. Additionally, it was agreed that the Government and Opposition will work together to untangle the hurdles which would give effect to the death penalty,” it stated.

“Consideration will also be given to new laws, such as creating a new offence regarding the displacement of residents by criminals. Both Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar and Dr Rowley said that ‘on this issue we have common cause and we have agreed to approach the challenge that crime presents in a collaborative way’,” the release stated.

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