PRESIDENT of the San Fernando Business Association, Daphne Bartlett, is calling for business owners to be given guns to protect themselves in the face of rising crime in the city. She said bandits have more firepower than the police who are supposed to protect and serve the country. After two recent incidents of gun play over the past few days, Bartlett said business owners are applying for firearm users’ licences and not getting.
“We are looking at the bandits and how they are committing robberies in broad daylight and getting away in full view of shoppers and workers.” She was referring to the recent spate of crime when on Monday morning a bandit shot bank employee Rostan Mahabir near Scotiabank on High Street, that night burger vendor Nari Chatoor was shot dead at Cross Crossing, and on Tuesday morning bandits beat 30-year-old fruit vendor Damien Jaisingh while trying to snatch his gold chain on lower High Street. A few weeks ago bandits smashed the showcases of RT Jewellers on upper High Street in full view of customers and passers by.
Bartlett renewed a call for acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams to provide permanent joint/police army patrols to stem the tide of rising crime in the city.
She said other vendors and shoppers risked their lives on Tuesday morning when they chased the 16-year-old armed bandit, who had earlier attacked Jaisingh, beat him and then handed him over to the police.
“Bandits feel they have the upper-hand because of the lack of policing and this is not fair to us as business owners.”
She said business owners are taxpayers and they drive the economy, and if everyone decided to shutdown for a week then the country will grind to a halt. She warned that this could happen in the near future as no one is responding to the call for joint police and army patrols in San Fernando.
She told Newsday over 50 business owners who operate in San Fernando and environs contacted her over the past two days to air their concerns over the crime situation.
On the issue of guns for business people a senior police officer said while the business owners in San Fernando are within their rights to apply to use firearms, the issuing of licences lies strictly in the hands of the Commissioner of Police.