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.


  1. I think this is more universal than just your tiny island. Since O.J. Simpson got off we all feel the only way justice can be done is to take it in our own hands.

    More than two decades ago I was asked by a man I respected who what running for district attorney (in a district with over 20 unsolved homicides and no prosecuted rape or domestic violence cases) if I would file charges if I was raped. I honestly told him no. I said if I spent time in a court house it would be to defend myself against the charge of murdering my rapist.

    I think since I said that it has gotten worse not better. Some people have been brought up on murder charges but they have all walked and in some cases because the witnesses have been killed.

    If you think I should be shocked that a man accused of murder was shot down while in police custody I have to disappoint you. I frankly think whoever did it should get a medal. Justice doesn't exist any more.

  2. I'm not yet as jaded as you, Jacqui, about our justice system, thought I agree that plenty of criminals go free and commit further heinous crimes. But I stop short of advocating vigilante "justice", the uncoded law of the old west. Too many times the wrong guy was shot or hung, and too many innocent bystanders were caught in the crossfire.

    As flawed as it is, our justice system is the only thing that stands between a peaceful society and chaos and anarchy.

    In the U.S. it is well known that a great many people not only carry guns all the time, but are prepared to spring into action to "protect" the rest of us should they perceive the need. I fear those people as much as I fear the criminals.

  3. I think spending two years with a stalker that the justice system could do nothing about until he actually killed me changed my perspective. I used to be a decidedly on the liberal side of the NRA's efforts but now I am one of those pistol packing mama's you dread, Becky.

    Thankfully my stalker has been silent for more than a year. But as I found out before that can change at any moment and without warning. I lead a public life and I am not willing to run and hide so I must be willing to protect myself. Average response time at my house is 45 minutes. I guess I hope one of us would be dead before the police arrive. And I would rather it not be me.

  4. I understand both points of view here. It is very difficult to accept the inadequacies and poor response of the security services and therefore one would want to be in a position to be able to protect oneself or those around us.

    On the other hand, if everyone goes into 'vigilante' mode where does it stop? There is too much of that here.

    A great deal of the crime is gang related - since the above, we had had several more murders. Also several state witnesses who have left the safe house for whatever reason (to see mother/girlfriend/wife) have ended up in a body bag within hours. The safe houses are not safe - everyone knows whee they are.

    Sadly too, a great many in the police force are known to be corrupt - there are several cases at the moment where police officers have rented out their weapons to known criminals, dumped drugs on people prior to a search etc... etc... there are rumours of a police disguised 'hit squad' which wouldn't surprise me and it is even being said that this particular couple who were dressed as construction workers, were police officers. There is a construction site by the court and that morning, there were no workers on it!


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