Tuesday, October 20, 2009
We dun Reach
I should really put this post on Bee's Up Front and Serious but that page of mine has fewer readers. On the other hand there are those I'm sure who will not want to know about this. I am posting it because even with the amount of crime there is in this twin island Republic which Desmond Tuto once dubbed 'a rainbow country', we are all in shock.
The perpetrators have no fear. There has been a complete breakdown as a result of which we are living in a totally lawless society. What is happening in this beautiful nation has to be stopped now. The problem starts at the top and until we get that sorted out, it will get worse.
My heart bleeds for this beautiful little country where we are all affected in some way or other by the disturbing events that are allowed to continue.
The article below is taken form this morning's Trinidad Express.
Murder accused gunned down in front court while escorted by cops
Richard Charan and Nikita Braxton South Bureau
Tuesday, October 20th 2009
Peter Garcia was in handcuffs, police officers at his side, on the compound of a court, with dozens of officers nearby, when he was shot dead by men mocking the State's ability to protect.
Garcia had no chance to defend himself, and no one to defend him.
The police constables escorting him to the police station next door released their prisoner and ran after the first gunshot.
The policemen who responded to the shooting came long after the suspects were gone.
Acting Police Commissioner James Philbert said the police response to the killing would "show criminals that we are in charge. Today we have lost some ground in the sense that criminals can be so boldface to do that. I want to promise the nation that we will find these men and bring them to justice in the quickest time".
The suspects were free last night. The killing happened at 10.30 a.m. moments after Magistrate JoAnne Connor made a favourable ruling in Garcia's case.
Garcia, who five months ago was regarded as Trinidad's most wanted, was in court charged with wounding with intent to commit murder, and with the murder of Rio Claro businessman Simboonath Kumar.
On the murder charge, the State was told it had one last chance to come prepared, November 4, to begin the preliminary enquiry.
Garcia had already been discharged on two kidnapping charges.
When the gunshots sounded outside the door Magistrate Connor asked, "Is that gunshots?"
A police officer ran in to announce the shooting. People began screaming and ran towards the Magistrates' Chamber.
Magistrate Connor fled first. Those standing outside the courtroom-witnesses to the killing-ran into the courthouse.
No Court and Process officer was armed, the Express was told, because the Police Standing Orders do not allow for officers in contact with prisoners to carry firearms.
The killers used Uzi submachine guns. They fired on the police station before leaving. And despite a response that involved multiple search teams, tracker dogs, road blocks, and a helicopter hunt, the suspects vanished.
The killers had no problem getting onto the compound. The entrance to the courthouse is not guarded. Only at the courtroom door is a person searched.
Garcia's attorney Jason Jackson, who heard the shots that killed his client, said, "Government should consider more security of high risk prisoners and judicial officers. It is unfortunate that the country has gotten to this stage where there is no respect for law enforcement."
The courthouse is being renovated, with a guard booth being constructed at the entrance with an extension to the main building for administrative staff.
The killers used the construction site as their guise. They dressed in steel tipped boots, hard hats and coveralls that hid their guns. No construction took place yesterday but no one appeared to have questioned the men who stood within the unfinished walls of the building and waited for almost two hours.
During Garcia's initial court appearances, he was defended by heavily-armed officers who surrounded the courthouse.
Police said yesterday the two "construction workers" approached Garcia as he was being escorted from the court by two police officers and one of them pulled a gun and shot Garcia at point blank range.
The officers ran, and as Garcia fell, the second man stood over him and fired at least five times into his head and chest.
The men climbed a chain-linked fence on the south side of the court compound, ran through the grounds of the Rio Claro Anglican Church, and left the area in a silver coloured Nissan Almera car. A bank nearby closed its doors as people ran from the courthouse.
A crowd of hundreds returned later to ridicule the police. Among them was Garcia's father, Harvey Huggins, who asked, "How could my son get shoot in police hands. Don't they supposed to protect him?"
Huggins said more people would die as a result of his son's killing. Garcia's handcuffs were removed before his body was taken away yesterday afternoon.
"We dun reach" as they say here.