Organised crime groups are well established and it is an uphill challenge for the police to gather evidence against them that would lead to their arrest, Deputy Police Commissioner Jack Ewatski said yesterday. Ewatski was responding to questions from the media on the release of several "big fish" who were held by the police during the current state of emergency, but later released due to a lack of evidence. He spoke to the media after delivering the feature address at a breakfast meeting organised by the Chaguanas Chamber of Commerce on the issue of crime. It was held at Kam-Po Restaurant in Chaguanas.
Cedric "Burkie" Burke, of Sea Lots and his driver, Keon "Baine" Bain, of Maraval, described by law enforcement authorities as "big fish," were freed on Tuesday by Senior Magistrate Cherril-Anne Blake in the Port-of-Spain Eight Magistrate's Court because of insufficient evidence against them. The two were arrested at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain, on August 26 by Criminal Intelligence Unit officers under the Anti-Gang Act. Some 499 people were arrested on gang-related charges up to September 22. Up to last Wednesday, 113 of them had been freed by the courts because the Director of Public Prosecutions felt there was a lack of sufficient evidence against them.
Asked to respond to calls from the civil rights group, Fixin T&T, for the removal of Police Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs over the matter, Ewatski said: "There is the Police Service Commission (PSC) for those like Fixin T&T. "They should communicate their opinion to the chairman (of the PSC)," he said.