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Bandits rob, shoot bread salesman in knee
Upset over the shooting of bread vendor Naylan Farrel in the crime-stricken community of Pleasantville, San Fernando East MP Randall Mitchell says police must do better to protect citizens.
Speaking to the Sunday Guardian yesterday, Mitchell empathised with Farrel, saying the vendor had fallen victim to a senseless crime. He said serious crimes in San Fernando were up from the same period last year and the reason must be determined and remedied.
Residents were up in arms over the shooting of Farrel, who sells Coelho bread along Pleasantville Avenue on afternoons opposite The Village Plaza, which has been targeted by criminals in recent months.
Police said Farrel, 43, of East Dry River, Port-of-Spain, was selling on the roadside around 7.30 pm when two gunmen approached him. After robbing him of the $200 he made in sales they fired two shots, striking him in the knees.
Sgt Cornell and a party of officers from Mon Repos responded, but the gunmen were long gone. Footage of the incident showed Farrel on the ground grimacing in pain while a resident tried to help.
The wounded Farrel remained at the San Fernando General Hospital yesterday and is expected to undergo surgery in the coming days.
Business owners at The Village Plaza were too afraid to speak much on the issue yesterday, as they were afraid they would become the criminals’ next targets. However, a few of them spoke of the non-functioning camera on the compound, which if it were working could have helped police investigating Farrel’s case.
The Village Plaza has been the subject of several violent robberies and the murder of Christopher Wells outside the Top Notch Barber and Beauty Salon.
Mitchell said,”Mr Farrell would have made a conscientious decision to be a productive citizen, making a living for himself through entrepreneurship, only to be robbed and shot by the criminal scourge that plague us as a society.
“As a society, we must do better to eliminate this scourge. The police service must do better to protect us from the criminal element and we must all do it together. I have spoken to the senior officer in charge of this Southern Division and I have asked that we quickly convene a town meeting with the residents of Pleasantville with a view to exchanging ideas towards making San Fernando East safer.”
Councillor Robert Parris, who was robbed at gunpoint earlier this year at the Pleasantville Supermarket, which is also located in the plaza, said he is still waiting for that matter to be given some priority. Parris said he shares the outrage of the residents and business owners at The Village Plaza Mall.
“This needs to come to an end. I made statements when I was a victim of crime along with other shoppers at the time and I still await the matter to be treated as urgent, as it was when I first brought it up.
“The residents of our community are decent, hard working people, and we cannot lose our community for fear of the criminal element. Enough is enough,” Parris said.