Colonel Rodney Smart, who leads the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment, yesterday strengthened the resolve of his troops to remain in Laventille as “no one should hold any citizen of Trinidad and Tobago to ransom
for their selfish needs”.
Speaking at the Regiment’s celebration of its 52nd anniversary, Smart reminded his troops why they were there, despite negatives being printed and broadcasted about them in the media.
Yesterday’s anniversary celebration was not held in a church in Port
of Spain as is usually done but rather at the Our Lady of Fatima RC Church, located off Picton Road, Laventille, where for the last month, the Regiment had stationed their troops following the death of Lance Corporal Kayode Thomas, who was killed while driving his car to visit his mother in Beverly Hills, John John.
Prior to Thomas’ murder, several other bystanders had been killed while merely walking through the streets of east Port of Spain on their daily business. Among them, a 39-year-old mother of five was shot dead while holding her infant child and a 16-year-old boy described as being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
What also occurred before the Regiment deployment or “troop surge”, according to Smart, was both police and Regiment officers would be routinely fired upon while doing their regular patrols, and at one time, even media reporters and photographers were shot at during an assignment in Beverly Hills.
Smart, in his speech to the troops, said, “We are not prepared to see one community under siege because before our troop surge, there were indiscriminate murders and this caused the liberty of residents to be threatened.”