For Sarah Perez, who is the head of her household, it is a constant struggle to keep up with rising food prices.
Perez lives in Chaguanas with her daughter and two grandchildren.
Three men were murdered in two separate shootings in Diego Martin and Port-of-Spain on Saturday night, increasing the number of people killed over the Emancipation holiday weekend to seven. In the first incident, around 7.30 pm, 29-year-old Shandell Dookie, Reinzi Pierre, 25, Allan Paul, 27, and an unidentified friend were repairing Pierre’s black Honda Civic outside Dookie’s home on St Lucien Road, Diego Martin.
Police said a stranger who was walking nearby drew a gun, ran towards the group of men and fired several shots. The gunman then ran away. Dookie, Pierre and Paul were shot several times, while their friend, who ran away and hid behind another car, escaped, Western Division Police led by Supt Balram arrived on the scene and took Dookie and Paul to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital.
Pierre, who was well known to police and is believed to be the gunman’s target, was pronounced dead on the scene by a District Medical Officer (DMO). Dookie, the father of two girls and a boy, aged six, four and seven months, died while undergoing emergency surgery for gunshot wounds to his chest and head. Paul remained warded in a stable condition up to late yesterday.
In an interview near to the scene of the shooting yesterday morning, Dookie’s relatives denied that the young mechanic was involved in crime and labeled his death as a case of mistaken identity. “My cousin wasn’t in anything illegal or anything wrong. He was killed because of the company he kept,” a male relative who asked for his name to be withheld said.
Dookie’s relative described Pierre as a troublemaker as he claimed his relative was probably killed because the gunman thought he was one of Pierre’s criminal associates. He said although he and other relatives warned Dookie about Pierre, he (Dookie) warned him of taking the job from Pierre.
“You see Shandell was thinking about he could make a quick hustle from Pierre, because the man have three children to feed. He went to Bamboo and pick up parts and thing with him. But like whoever was looking for Pierre they must be thinking that because they riding together they were friends. So they come and kill both of them one time. But that wasn’t the case at all. They just kill that boy for no reason. And now they leave three children fatherless,” the relative said.
Contacted yesterday, Pierre’s grandfather, Bertrand Ledger, who help raised him as a child, acknowledged that he had been imprisoned several times in the past.
“His problem was that he reached a certain age and thought he knew better and wouldn’t listen and he fell into bad company. He took the wrong road in life and this was the violent end to that road. Just the day before (Friday) he was in my home and I told him stay away from the company he usually keeps. I told him we living in a more serious time and he needs to live a better life if he wants to reach my age (77). But he didn’t listen,” Ledger lamented.
Meanwhile, a 27-year-old man from Laventille died in hospital yesterday after being wounded in a shooting in Port-of-Spain on Saturday night. Around 9.30 pm police of the Central Police Station were on patrol along Independence Square, Port-of-Spain, when they spotted a man in a blood-stained T-shirt running near to a make-shift shopping centre at the now demolished Salvatory building. The man, who was later identified as Kamalah Edwards, of Picton Road, Laventille, collapsed a short distance away from police.
He was taken to the hospital but succumbed around 8 am yesterday. Investigators said they were unable to speak to Edwards before he died and as such they had not determined where he was shot or the identities of his attackers up to late yesterday. The latest string of murders raised the murder toll for the year to 261, compared to 227 for the corresponding period, last year—an almost 15 per cent increase.
Investigations are continuing.