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East Port-of-Spain residents: Masked soldiers assaulting us

Published: 
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Members of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force on patrol along Piccadilly Street, Port-of- Spain, shortly after 6 am yesterday. One of their colleagues, Lance Cpl Kayode Thomas (inset), was murdered in the district on Sunday. PHOTO: MICHEAL BRUCE

The investigation into the murder of Lance Cpl Kayode Thomas continued yesterday with residents of the Beverly Hills and opposing Desperlie Crescent and St Paul Street, East Port-of-Spain, pointing fingers at each other for the crime. Residents of St Paul Street told CNC3 news yesterday following Thomas’ killing soldiers, wearing masks, came into the area and assaulted them. 

 

 

They say the masked men could be anyone and were fearful for their lives. The residents claimed they could not be behind the shooting as they could not go into “enemy territory”. Their claim that they were abused had not been reported to the regiment as of 7 pm last night when the T&T Guardian contacted the Regiment communications officer Captain Stefan Affonzo. Affonzo said no report was made to them about the alleged beating and called on anyone who may have suffered at the hands of regiment officers to come forward.

 

 

Affonzo also denied soldiers were patrolling the area by themselves but were with police. However, shortly after 6 am, when the T&T Guardian visited the St Paul Street area a group of soldiers were seen on patrol by themselves. Speaking with the T&T Guardian yesterday, residents of Beverly Hills where Thomas lived denied they were responsible for the shooting and blamed rival gang members.

 

The residents claimed the shooting was unprovoked and random. They said gunmen would have opened fire on any car in the area and unfortunately the father of eight was the target. Also speaking to the media was Thomas’ mother, Marva Thomas, who said her son was undeserving of the death he received. Laughing lustily at any joke “Miss Marva”, as she was referred to, said if she did not laugh she would cry but had to stay strong for her family. 

 

She said she could not give her son’s killers the satisfaction of taking her son and her joy. “I can’t give them the two. After I fight to raise him in the right way this is the pay I get. That child was not to go that way,” she said, adding that her next step is to care for her seven grandsons and one granddaughter left by her only son. Thomas said her son would be buried on Monday under full military rites. She added she was visited by MP for the area Marlene Mc Donald but did not wish to divulge what took place during the meeting. 

 

According to police reports, around 11.30 pm on Sunday, Thomas was driving along Plaisance Quarry Road, John John, when a group of men stepped in front his Mazda 323 and opened fire.  Thomas, who was heading to the Beverly Hills home of his mother ran off the road and crashed. He died at the scene. Police recovered 30 spent shells at the scene of the shooting. Members of the Homicide Bureau are investigating. 

 

One day after Thomas was killed police officers distributed flyers in the Laventille area calling on residents to provide information about the killing confidentially.