Homicide officers are yet to determine a motive for the murder of 51-year-old Sherry Ann Watson, the ex-wife of a prison officer who currently works at the Armoury of the T&T Prisons Service.
However, investigators said yesterday that they are not quite ready to rule out the possibility that her murder could be linked to threats that began circulating via the WhatsApp medium, indicating a plot to “kill any two officers”.
Watson’s relatives strongly believe that she was killed by someone she had a close relationship with.
They said she was being stalked and had made several reports to the police.
The relatives, who were at the Forensic Science Centre in St James yesterday for the autopsy did not go on record when they shared their suspicions with members of the media.
They also did not confirm that she did in fact lodge official reports in the police station about the threats on her life.
When contacted, investigators said they did not have that information and added that upon checks, they came up with no reports to support the family’s claim.
“The motive and circumstances of her murder is still being investigated as no confirmation of any of the claims are forthcoming but we are not ruling out anything just yet,” an investigating officer said.
According to a police report, at about 5.30 pm Watson was about to enter her house at Albert Mark Street, Phase 4, Malabar when two gunmen ambushed her and opened fire. She died on the scene. Watson and her ex-husband, the Prison Armourer, have been divorced for the past 13 years and is currently on vacation leave.
Watson’s murder prompted the Commissioner of Prisons, Gerard Wilson to issue an advisory to all officers of the T&T Prison Service for them “to exercise extreme caution and vigilance especially when off-duty.”
The advisory came after several threats began circulating via the WhatsApp medium, indicating a plot to “kill any two officers”.
Guardian Media was told that the two messages of the threats came via the “Intel community.”
One read: “Word out there is a hit to kill two prison officers by (name called)...officers be very careful…word out Muslim contracted out to carry out the work.”
The second: “All jokes aside. Serious business now. Just got information from a very reliable source from within. A certain group of criminal elements has made it clear, they wish to kill two officers. This is serious. People, people, take note and be vigilant. I was told to let officers also beware of bars and frequented locations. Take necessary action please.”
According to Wilson, who spoke to the Guardian Media, all security agencies are on high alert and directives are in place, especially for officers who live in what are deemed “high risk” areas.
“The T&T Prison Service continues to partner with other security agencies in upholding its mandate of safety and security for all, “ Wilson said.
Asked what measures are in place for officers, he replied: “Well you know this is nothing new in the Prisons and we just take the same precautions as we did previously. The T&T Police Service is also very supportive so we also rely on them for protection and I know they will have surveillance in areas where officers may be vulnerable.”
Minister of National Security Stuart Young also gave full assurance that the safety and security of prison officers remain a top priority for the Ministry of National Security.
All National Security law enforcement and intelligence agencies are said to be on high alert and are working cohesively to support the safety of prison officers.
Young, in a release issued after Wilson’s statement, strongly denounced the recent circulation of threatening messages being made against prison officers.
In thanking all prison officers for pledging their support to the State and for their dedication to duty at the nation’s prisons despite the current challenges, he vowed to continue working together with the Trinidad and Tobago Prison Service to provide officers with a greater sense of security while performing their duties.
In October 2018, the Commissioner of Police, Gary Griffith implemented a Special Police Unit at the Maximum Security Prison in Arouca.
This was announced after Griffith and officers of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) turned out in a show of strength and support for the Prison Service, after the brutal murder of Superintendent of Prisons, Wayne Jackson. Jackson was gunned down seconds after he arrived at his Malabar home on October 2, 2018.
Griffith, along with a specialised unit of officers, conducted a walk-through at the Maximum Security Prison at Golden Grove, Arouca on October 4, 2018.
The walkabout was the result of discussions held with members of the Trinidad and Tobago Prison Service on October 3, 2018, the morning after Jackson’s murder.
Police said the exercise was conducted in a bid to ascertain areas where police officers will be deployed within the Maximum Security Prison.
The unit formed part of continued join efforts toward strengthening all agencies in the criminal justice system, which includes a comprehensive security system in the prisons.
Jackson, in charge of the Maximum Security Prison.