T&T: Authorities fear bloodbath in Laventille
Mon, September 10, 2012 - 2:27 PM
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Sept 10, CMC – Four people were killed in the last 48 hours as rival gangs are blamed for forcing people to leave their homes and seek shelter away from the volatile Laventille area along the east west corridor in Trinidad, a local councillor has said.
Over the weekend, two people including a 51-year-old mother of eight, were gun downed in the Beverly Hills area of Laventille in what eyewitnesses said were random shootings by gang members.
Police confirmed that Alma Noray, who had resorted to sleeping on the floor in her living room of her apartment because she feared being killed by a stray bullet, was shot while sleeping on the floor of her apartment.
Police said that Joel Bodkin, 29, was also killed while at a shop in the area over the weekend.
On Sunday night, two other men, Robert Farrell and Earl John, were gunned down in Beverly Hill and a Councillor for the area, Ayesha Wells, told reporters “there is total panic in the area.
“It is panic and I want to repeat that. It is panic in Beverly Hills at this time. Persons are abandoning their homes and their belongings and sorting refuge elsewhere,” she said.
“We have a woman and two children who have been sleeping on the (Brian Lara) Promenade (in the city) since Saturday. They refuse to go home because since the killings started they just seem to be helter skelter in the place.”
Wells said that the killings were not planned and that gang members or “community leaders” as they are being labelled, were targeting “anyone and everyone” in the area.
She said that Noray, who was killed on Saturday night, was the mother of a community leader and her murder “sort of triggered off the reprisals we are seeing now.
“What we see is new community leaders emerging who are brothers, cousins, nephews of the slain gang members. I see what is happening in East Port of Spain as a social issue.
“If we had stepped in when these children were growing up when they lost their fathers, when they lost their uncles, when they lost their brothers and supplied them with some form of counselling to address the issues...if we had stepped in then we may not have been seeing what we are seeing now.
“What we are seeing now is the young community leaders who are angry and who are heartless” she told reporters.
Police said they have stepped up patrols in the area in a bid to deal with the killings.
Over the weekend, journalists covering the murder of Noray were forced to scamper for safety after gunmen fired bullets at them.
The journalists from a local television station and two newspapers hid behind a wall and were able to make it back to their media houses with the assistance of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).
So far this year 291 people have been murdered here.
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