Four relatives of challenger for the leadership of the People’s National Movement (PNM) Pennelope Beckles-Robinson—including a male relative who has worked with her campaign—are now in police custody after a number of guns were reportedly found at the relative’s house during a police raid.
Police reports indicate the illegal weapons and ammunition were seized and 11 people arrested during early morning raids carried out by Northern Division Police at two houses in the Malabar, Arima area yesterday.
Beckles-Robinson, an attorney at law, will come up against the encumbent political leader of the PNM, Dr Keith Rowley in the party’s May 18 internal elections.
Around 5 a.m. yesterday Nothern Division Police officers raided the relative’s home and another residence nearby following a tip-off.
The arresting officers conducted a news briefing at the Arima Police Station yesterday morning where they displayed the cache of arms and ammunition.
Officers confirmed that one of the houses is owned by Beckles-Robinson’s relative.
Police said search warrants were presented at both houses located at Phase III, Malabar after months of surveillance.
Police found one AK47 assault rifle, one pump action shotgun, one .44 revolver and one .357 revolver inside the Swift Avenue, Phase III, Malabar, residence where they arrested four people, including a man in his mid-20s, (who police described as the main suspect) along with three other people in their 50s.
Up to last night, police were engaged in tracing exercises and were still questioning the suspects.
The raid at Cocorico Avenue, Phase III, Malabar, turned up 37 rounds of ammunition and seven people were arrested there. Police may charge the suspects today.
Police believe the weapons may be linked to gang-related activities in the Malabar area, which has now become a hotspot for criminal activities.
Acting Sgt Harewood and PC Andrews are continuing investigations. The exercise was conducted by Insp. Garvin Simon. Yesterday Beckles-Robinson, a former member of parliament, and public utilities minister, could not be reached for comment despite numerous calls to her phone.
There were early reports that the former Arima MP would be hosting a news conference, but this did not materialise.
However, one of her candidates and spokesman, Chandrabhose Sharma —who is contesting the position of field officer — appeared shocked about the matter yesterday, and told the Sunday Express, “I cannot comment at this time. I don’t know what is really going on since I was with (relative’s name called) up until late yesterday and I really cannot comment without more information,” Sharma said.
Beckles-Robinson was holding a campaign meeting at Sangre Grande last night, where she was expected to comment on the incident involving her relatives. Beckles-Robinson spent Friday and part of yesterday in Tobago where she conducted walkabouts in Store Bay, Bon Accord and Scarborough.