Seven prison officers, including an assistant superintendent, are all expected to be charged in connection with last Friday’s daring prison break.
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Probe Kishawn’s death: Marlene calls for independent PCA investigation
PNM MP for Port-of-Spain South Marlene McDonald is calling for an independent investigation into the death of 19-year-old Keshorn Daniel, who was shot by police in the area of his Desperlie Crescent, Laventille, home at 12.35 am on Saturday morning.
McDonald said that she intends to write to the Police Complaints Authority and would personally get in touch with its director, attorney Gillian Lucky. She thanked Inspector Wayne Mystar, Information Officer of the Police Service, for offering to investigate the shooting but said that the matter was best placed in the hands of those “authorised to do so.” “This has to stop,” said McDonald, “...I am getting the perception that you can’t deal with crime so your policy is shoot on the spot.”
McDonald, who spoke to the media during a visit to offer condolences to Daniel’s family, said that “the recent killings in hotspot areas of young men” raise some bigger issues. “When the honourable Prime Minister can say to this country we will unleash the dogs of war,” said McDonald, “I want an explanation for that because in my simplistic mind and the simplistic minds of other people, you can find a synergy between what she said and what is happening.”
While assuring that she would never condone criminal activity, McDonald said that she believes that there is a way to deal with the young people in her constituency and the hotspots. “If you come into the area and you find antagonism,” she said, “you cannot respond with antagonism. Two wrongs don’t make a right. One has to temper it, whatever it is, but I can tell you there is a lot of frustration.”
Saying that she has been speaking “ad nauseum about the dismantling of Port-of-Spain,” McDonald said that under the current regime, there is an inequitable distribution of resources. Many of the projects she started, like the purchase of a piece of land and hiring of a contractor for the construction of the Picton dance theatre, have been abandoned. She took Minister of Community Development, Winston ‘Gypsy’ Peters, to task for his comments that she talk with her “elements.”
“It is very disrespectful to call my constituents elements,” said McDonald. “When this government could spend 27 million dollars overnight in a one-night stand to celebrate the 50th anniversary down in Jean Pierre Complex and you cannot complete a homework centre, a centre for the aged...you can’t release nine million dollars for us to do the swimming pool on Bazilon Street...they meet you with a sense of hostility. Will you fight back with hostility? You cannot.”
At the home of Keshorn Daniel, his mother Janet Daniel broke down in tears as she spoke to McDonald about the killing of her son. Daniel’s mother described seeing him as he made his way up the street to their home before he disappeared mysteriously behind a fence just two houses away.
Daniel’s sister Karlene corroborated her mother’s story that her brother had called home just minutes before to say that he was on his way home after being searched by police at the entrance of Desperlie Crescent, after purchasing a chicken dinner from the food place on the corner. She dismissed as untrue media reports that her brother had a gun. “He didn’t have anything on him,” she said, “cause they had now search him from there to there.” “He wasn’t perfect,” said Daniel’s sister, “but I don’t like how he died.”
She said her brother’s mouth was full of chicken when he died. She showed the media her brother’s bullet-ridden clothing, counting eleven bullet holes in his trousers alone. “All his guts was on his clothes,” said Daniel’s mother, “When he open that jersey and show me the guts I couldn’t believe. That is not my child that come from. Regardless of what, he didn’t have was to go that way. What he go shoot behind allyuh with—a chicken bone and a phone? They does lie too much. Turn around the story. That is what they does do.”
Daniel’s girlfriend Shaneqa Bonaparte, 18, who is four months pregnant, found out about his death on the Blackberry instant messaging smartphone app. “It was hard before his death,” she said tearfully, “it is even harder now.” McDonald promised to pursue the request for an independent investigation and to offer financial assistance with funeral costs.