SHANE SUPERVILLE and SASHA HARRINANAN
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley yesterday said he was relieved to learn that suspects had been detained shortly after PC Richard Babwah was gunned down during a robbery attempt at an Chinese restaurant in Arouca on Monday evening.
Speaking at the end of a Christmas carols show put on by primary school students at the Education Ministry in Port of Spain, Rowley expressed his condolences to Babwah’s family and colleagues and said he was happy to note that arrests were made, so that the law can take its course.
For his part, Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi blamed Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar for Babwah’s murder. He attacked Persad-Bissessar and Opposition MPs over their refusal last week to support the Government’s anti-gang bill which sought to give police legal powers to reign in the country’s criminal gangs.
Declaring that the Opposition had betrayed the nation, Al-Rawi said, “the murder of a police officer last night is definitely one which could have been disrupted by the disruption of gang activity and the anti-gang legislation was specifically designed as a disruptive element to gang behaviour.
“Every death that occurs in this fashion and in particular to members of the protective services is something to be bolted to the chest of one person...Kamla Persad-Bissessar.” Al-Rawi said preliminary reports suggests the incident while led to Babwah’s murder, was gang-related.
Contacted for comment, National Security Minister Edmund Dillon said Babwah’s murder would serve to strengthen the resolve of fellow police officers. “This will strengthen our law enforcement community to continue to treat with the issues of crime and criminality and violence and especially those perpetrators committing those actions,” Dillon said.
He lauded the police for their quick action in catching the suspects and lambasted the Opposition for its “timid stance” on the anti-gang legislation.
“I think the Opposition failed. They failed the people by not supporting measures that could have helped deal with gangs. And for what, the sunset clause? That could never be. If you look at the importance of this legislation, you would see if the Opposition was patriotic enough to understand what we are trying to treat with, they would have supported the bill. Any common, sensible, right-thinking person who has this nation at heart would have supported the legislation,” Dillon said.
Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams, in a press release issued yesterday, expressed sadness over Babwah’s murder saying that the entire Police Service will mourn a fallen comrade. Ag ASP Windel Flaviney, in the said release, described Babwah as committed, dedicated and with a desire to serve.
PC Babwah, Flaviney said, was well-liked and had a good rapport with colleagues in the Homicide Investigations Bureau.