Friday, January 19, 2018

Top cop: Illegal guns still a challenge

This year was a good one for fighting crime, except in one area – murders.

And three-quarters of the murders in Trinidad and Tobago were committed by firearms despite the police having seized more than 500 guns so far this year.

That’s essentially how Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams is describing 2014 as the year comes to a close with the murder toll having crossed the 400 victims mark. 

“Unless the borders are effectively strengthened we will continue to face a challenge with firearms entering the country and people being killed. 75 per cent of all the murders committed in Trinidad and Tobago have been committed with firearms,” Williams said.

In a telephone interview with TV6 News aired last night, the nation’s top cop gave his own tally for the murder toll as of yesterday.

“Well it would be around 401 but I have to confirm with the Homicide Bureau at this point in time but it will be around 401 that’s what I would have by way of tabulating from where we were it could be 401 – 402. I just have to confirm that with the Homicide Bureau,” Williams said.

 An Express count has put the murder toll for the year so far at 401 up to Friday.

The numbers rose on Friday after a Diego Martin man was beaten and shot to death in a pub and a 59-year-old man was chopped to death at Pinto Road in Arima.

“We set ourselves some clear targets and most of those targets we have actually met and surpassed with the exception of the target to deal with murders. What has happened is that we continue to see a challenge with violent crime in Trinidad and Tobago heavily reflected by way of the commission or murders with the use of firearms,” Williams said.

 “For instance, the issue of homicides is dependent heavily on the issue of the control of firearms entering the country and the control of firearms entering the country has nothing to do with the Trinidad & Tobago Police Service. The Trinidad and Tobago Police Services does not control of our borders. So, therefore, what we have control over is control over the firearms in the country getting them out of the hands of the criminals,” Williams said.