The sons of a recent murder victim and a Cocorite businessman were among 60 people appearing yesterday in the Port-of-Spain Magistrates' Court charged under the anti-gang legislation. All 60 men were remanded in custody after appearing in court, in line with the recently-passed Anti-Gang Act and Bail Amendment Act. Micky Babwah, 33, and his brother Dave, 31, both of El Socorro Extension, San Juan, pleaded not guilty to being members of a gang and possession a Glock 9 mm firearm for the benefit of a gang when they appeared before Chief Magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar. Their father, Basdeo "Dragon" Babwah, 58, a watchman, was killed in his guard booth at a business place in Chanka Trace, El Socorro Extension, San Juan on Sunday afternoon.
He was the country's last murder victim before the state of emergency was announced by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar on Sunday night. The brothers were arrested on Tuesday by officers of the North Eastern Division Task Force lead by Sgt Roger Alexander and Cpl Sunil Bharath who were conducting inquires into their father's death at the time. They were represented by attorney Nicole Basraj. The matter was adjourned to September 20. Meanwhile, Jason Lewis, a Cocorite businessman, pleaded not guilty before Ayers-Caesar after being charged with being a gang leader under the Anti-Gang Act.
It was alleged that he is the leader of the "Water Hole Gang" based in Water Hole, Cocorite. Lewis was represented by attorney Patrick Godson-Phillip who requested from the police any evidence of his client's involvement in gang activity. Godson-Phillip said his client's arrest and 120 day detention before the possibility of bail under the anti-gang legislation will affect his clients, employees and family negatively. Lewis' matter was adjourned to September 20. Alleged gang members from Diego Martin, Laventille and Cocorite arrested during police exercises since last Sunday also appeared before Ayers-Caesar and were remanded.
Under the Bail (Amendment) Act, persons charged under the Anti-Gang Act for gang related offences are denied bail for 120 days, after which they may apply for bail to a judge in chambers. The arrest of and charges against the men attracted much complaint from their attorneys yesterday with many questioning the particulars attached to each charge. One attorney questioned why the exact gang his client allegedly belonged to was not included, while another requested the names of the other members of the gang his client was accused of being a part.