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Police in Tobago move to stem crime wave
The Divisional Commander of Police in Tobago, Acting Senior Superintendent Joanne Archie, says the police are on the ground and will be proactively working to ensure that crime on the island is kept at a minimum over the Christmas period.
This in the face of 11 murders for the year and the seizure of 15 illegal guns.
Speaking to the T&T Guardian yesterday Archie said: “One murder in Tobago is of concern,” since the island is not just a tourist destination but is also a “vacation destination and we have to ensure that people who visit and those who live on the island are kept safe.”
In 2016 there were four murders for the entire year.
Archie said of the 11 murders recorded this year, two had been solved.
“One was domestic a murder-suicide and the other where we charged two Trinidadians,” she said.
“We have made inroads into the others, but there is the issue of the evidential threshold,” she said.
In February, 15-year-old female footballer Abiela Adams was found with her throat slit. Archie said investigators “have made inroads and they are just a short time away from going to the Director of Public Prosecutions for directions.”
She said the investigation took some time but “we are awaiting the results of scientific evidence for further instructions to pursue charges.”
While investigations into the other murders continue, Archie said, the police have been unable to determine motives for the murders of two recent victims — Rondell ‘Barry’ Campbell, of Mason Hall, and 28-year-old barber, Rijkaard Ramos Carmona.
Archie is also expressing concern about the growing number of illegal guns on the island.
She said had seen this year they have had the highest number of gun seizures.
She believes that the guns may be coming in through “illegal ports. Tobago is surrounded by water and given the dynamics and the geographical constraints we rely on sea surveillance. We will want support from the Coast Guard. They have their patrols but we want to seek continued assistance where that is concerned.”
The absence of proper scanners on the Scarborough Port, she said, is also a major issue.
Recently, she said, “vehicles from Trinidad were intercepted on the Port carrying illegal drugs.
We utilise CID, regular police, narcotics and the canine department. So far, we have had some seizures.” That kind of surveillance, she said, will be heightened.
In the past week, 60 people were arrested for various offences including possession of narcotics and over 200 kilos of marijuana was seized.
Recognising that they cannot fight crime alone, Archie said the police in Tobago have an “excellent relationship,” with the stakeholders including the business community and residents. “The community policing unit is doing a lot of work on the ground in the villages and communities as a pro-active measure in crime initiative and we engage the community in crime-fighting initiatives. That is critical to success,” she said.
She admitted to some manpower challenges, but she said “it is how you utilise what you have to ensure there is a proper spread across the island.
We have had some gains and we are pursuing leads. We hope to bring the perpetrators of crime on the island to justice.