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Police not doing enough to remove illegal guns—Hinds
The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) needs to do much better in getting rid of illegal guns off the streets, Minister in the Ministry of Legal Affairs Fitzgerald Hinds has said.
Hinds said he was not satisfied the police are doing enough to deal with the problem.
He made the statement yesterday as he visited the scene of a triple murder in his constituency of Laventille West.
Around 10.45 pm on Friday, 16-year-old Joshua James, 38-year-old Carlos Abraham, and 49-year-old Curtis Hepburn were shot dead when gunmen opened fire on the corner of Erica Street and the Old St Joseph Road in Laventille.
Hinds had one month ago arranged a “spiritual walk” throughout his constituency because of the ongoing crime spate. The walk was held yesterday and Hinds decided to end it at the scene of the triple murder to pay homage to the victims.
Hinds arrived with a contingent and a music truck playing gospel.
“I am very genuinely saddened and troubled by these state of affairs,” Hinds said.
Hinds said according to information he received from the police, the trio were killed while going about “their normal community affairs.”
He said the issue of crime in his constituency was a “community problem, a sociological problem where individuals have taken it upon themselves to get illegal firearms and to shoot wantonly around the place causing the mayhem, the trauma, the pain, the tears that you have witnessed here this morning”.
“There is a national security perspective on this which puts a responsibility on the Government, on the national security platform, and the police in particular to arrest this situation, to deal with this because this thing has been going on and on and on and on...there are a whole lot of illegal firearms around the place and it is the duty of the police to get them out of those hands and get them to safer places and I must say truthfully, I am not satisfied that I am seeing sufficient action in that regard,” Hinds said.
“But there is also a responsibility on the community because in all cases, not most, all cases people in communities will know who is who and what is what but there is a lot of silence based on fear, based on deceit and as a result, the criminals are able to hide inside of the darkness of that silence and continue to hurt and harm innocent people who have nothing to do with them and their affairs.”
Hinds said all hands are needed on deck to address the crime situation.
Last year the TTPS seized over 1,000 illegal firearms.
In 2016, 765 were seized.
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