“Trinidad and Tobago,” I patiently repeated for the second time.
“What?” She frustratingly retorted.
Fast acting police officers of the Chaguanas Police Station yesterday rescued a young, hysterical child from the back seat of a locked car, parked in Price Plaza, Chaguanas. Some 40 minutes later, the same officers arrested an older male relative who eventually made his way back to the car with a trolley full of goods from the nearby PriceSmart.
The police officers were forced to break the glass of the black Toyota Corolla to get the child out and the weeping young boy clung to a female police officer who gave him a bottle of water. The older man, of Chinese descent, did not speak much English but challenged the arresting police officer, asking what he was being arrested for.
The Sunday Guardian spoke with eyewitnesses who said the shoppers noticed the child crying and gasping for air in the locked vehicle. They flagged down a passing police vehicle and officers reacted quickly to remove the child from the hot, airless vehicle. No one could say how long the child was in the vehicle, but shoppers said the mall was very busy and shopping was taking some time.
The male relative, dressed in a grey T-shirt, blue jeans and white cap, paid little attention to the child in the officer’s arms; he gesticulated at the broken glass. Officers handcuffed the man and called a wrecker to remove his car. In a subsequent interview with Central Division head, senior superintendent Johnnie Abraham, the Sunday Guardian learned that the man would be charged with child endangerment. “The child is between one and two years old,” he said.
“He was noticed to be sweating profusely and gasping for breath and officers were forced to break the glass to get him out,” Abraham said. Curious onlookers and witnesses recalled a similar situation just last week when 17-month-old Jaedon Cudjoe died after being left unattended in a locked car for several hours. “People have to be held accountable. Jump high, jump low, he going to be charged,” Abraham said.