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Regiment to probe ‘stakeout’ at GML
The T&T Regiment has launched a full-scale probe into reports that soldiers were staking out the T&T Guardian building in Port-of-Spain on Monday to capture, Dillon “Bandy” Skeete, who soldiers reportedly believe could help solve the murder of Lance Cpl Kayode Thomas.
Two teams of investigators assigned to the Military Investigations Unit, based at regiment headquarters, Knox Street, Port-of-Spain, visited the T&T Guardian yesterday to interview witnesses who saw and spoke to a group of soldiers who were parked outside the main entrance. Two witnesses identified one of the soldiers, who appeared in a photo on the front page of the July 4 T&T Guardian.
The head of the T&T Defence Force Investigations Unit, Sgt Hugh Thompson, and Cpl Kerwin Peters came to the T&T Guardian around 2 pm but Thompson made it clear he was not allowed to make statements on behalf of the regiment to the media. The unit investigates allegations of misconduct involving soldiers and takes the necessary sanctions under milliary laws which can include being discharged from the regiment.
Four hours earlier Cpl Kevin Ratmdoo and Private Maria Cooper, who are assigned to the same unit, came to the T&T Guardian to make inquiries about Monday’s incidents. A statement issued yesterday by the regiment’s public affairs officer Capt Stefan Affonso confirmed soldiers were on the compound of the newspaper while a man they were searching for was being interviewed.
The army distanced itself from a bomb threat which prompted the evacuation of the building and disrupted the CNC3 newscast and other media operations. A clearer picture emerged yesterday of where the soldiers were and with whom they spoke. Initial reports said they rushed into the car park and questioned the security guard on duty about a red Mazda car.
The soldiers, dressed in camouflage and carrying assault rifles, were in fact seen walking near the car and were approached by the guard. They asked how long the vehicle had been parked there and when told since 6.15 am, they walked away. They joined another soldier who was in a military vehicle parked near the entrance of the building. The soldiers showed up moments after Skeete, his relatives and his attorney arrived at the T&T Guardian to be interviewed.
The bomb threat was made at 3.10 pm while the interview was taking place. Shortly after, a senior soldier telephoned an editor, saying he had heard a man whom soldiers were looking for was in the building.