Despite a brutal attack on his family by a robber, former Congress of the People (COP) general-election candidate Rocky Garcia yesterday said he intends to continue the work he is doing in the Glencoe community. “This thing is bigger than politics and it has reached home by me, but it will not dampen my spirit,” Garcia said yesterday.
Speaking with the T&T Guardian about Tuesday’s robbery at his home at La Horquette Branch Road, Glencoe, Garcia said while his wife and daughter remain traumatised, he could not afford to turn his back on those in the community who depend on his guidance and help.
An armed robber broke into Garcia's home around 8.30 pm on Tuesday and tied up his wife and youngest daughter before stealing cash and jewelry. Unwilling to reveal much detail of the incident, which is now under investigation, Garcia said, “What we have is an ex-con on the loose who is causing havoc in the western peninsula.”
The T&T Guardian learnt that the suspect escaped from prison more than six months ago, and had been imprisoned for a slew of similar offences which include housebreaking and larceny. Saying his family was “coping and just taking things one day at a time,” Garcia, the vice-chairman of the Chaguaramas Development Authority (CDA), reaffirmed his belief that his family “will get through this.”
He said since the incident, which had “the whole district in a mess,” he has reinforced security measures at his house. Saying others in his neighbourhood had also fallen victim to robbers within recent times, Garcia strongly believes the incidents were perpetrated by the same individual who broke into his house.
Senior police in the Western Division yesterday denied Glencoe was under siege from bandits, but said there had been an increase in the number of night-time break-ins in the Westmoorings area during the last six weeks. One officer said the incident at Garcia’s house was “random” and that his family was not targeted because of who he is.
Promising that police were pursuing several promising leads, officials said the hunt for the suspect intensified yesterday as several searches were carried out in the hills around Glencoe. Expressing his gratitude for the overwhelming support he has received from relatives, friends, politicians and the community alike, Garcia said MP for the area Keith Rowley, his former general-election rival, visited his house for an hour on Wednesday, and offered to help in any way possible.
Garcia said he had also been contacted by fellow COP members, including the party's leader, Legal Affairs Minister Prakash Ramadhar, Public Administration Minister Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan, and former parliamentary secretary Nicole Dyer-Griffith, who all pledged their support.
Adding that his phone had been ringing off the hook, with people calling from as far as Australia, Germany, the United Kingdom and Miami, as well as around the region, Garcia said the outpouring of love and support is appreciated by his family during this trying time.
Confronted with how this incident might affect the work he is involved in, assisting youths in the community to empower themselves, Garcia said, “My life is focused on going into the community and working with people to get them out of that lifestyle, fostering relationships and teaching them real value and sense.
They know Rock as a rootsman and although I am paying the ultimate price for it, I won't stop doing the work. “I won't use this as a benchmark for disappointment as life is full of them...I am just glad that my family was not hurt,” he said.
Admitting he would be seeking professional help for his wife and daughter to help them cope with the trauma, Garcia said he had lived in the area for the past 20 years and was accustomed to “being open,” as he assured that would not change. “The love deep, the love deep,” he repeated.
While many of Garcia's neighbours were not at home yesterday when the T&T Guardian visited, one woman, who asked that her name not be used, said the area was “relatively safe” and that the break-in might have been an isolated incident.” However, another said many residents were affected by the incident and until the perpetrator was apprehended, they would continue to be on edge.