Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles agrees with comments made by Tobago’s newly appointed Assistant Commissioner of Police Ansley Garrick that murders in Tobago, though the rate is low, are becoming accepted and a norm.
Garrick in an interview with Newsday last month, said Tobago must keep an eye on the murder rate, which is steadily increasing each year. At his office in uptown Scarborough Garrick said Tobago is changing into a fast-paced environment which has the ability to breed criminal elements and promote illegal activities. He called on Tobagonians to take a stand against the increasing murder toll.
Speaking to Newsday this morning, Charles said, “I fully support the TTPS Tobago Division in their zero tolerance to murders and crime as a whole. One murder in Tobago is one too many and we must never be accepting of this and especially ensure that we do not become desensitised to murders and crime.”
That would be a dangerous stand that could cause Tobago to slip into uncontrolled crime, he said. "It is vitally important for each Tobagonian, at this time, to take responsibility for his island. Each of us living in this space has to own Tobago as home and fiercely fight to protect it from the undesirable elements and incidents. We have to band together to fight crime. We have to look out for each other and support each other in efforts to eradicate criminal behaviour and activities.
"Tobago is a small place and we cannot afford to retreat or cower or meekly hand over the island to criminals. Tobagonians must stand today and unite against all levels of crime and deviance.”
Charles’ comments came after the double murder of John Mills and Eulyn John at their Cocrico Avenue, Buccoo home. After Mills celebrated his 70th birthday last Wednesday, the couple's nephew found them gagged, bound and stabbed in their bedroom. Autopsies at the Scarborough General Hospital on Monday showed Mills died from multiple stab wounds and strangulation and John from suffocation and strangulation.
They were the island's 4th and 5th murder victims for 2019. In March Tobago recorded its third murder when prominent businessman and retired police sergeant, Donald Parks was shot dead at his Summer Hill, Plymouth road home, while getting out of his panel van.
In February, the island’s second murder victim, Anderson Baboonanan, was stabbed to death by a female relative on the Claude Noel Highway during a domestic dispute. Police were unable to gather sufficient evidence against the suspect, who was released on orders from the DPP.
Police are also continuing investigations into Tobago’s first murder, involving 20-year-old Dwarika Moses of Les Coteaux, who was discovered in a burned car with a gunshot wound to his head on Mason Hall Link Road on January 16. His family and friends will host a memorial this Sunday at his father's home in Roxborough.
A funeral for Mills and John takes place at the Maranatha Christian Assembly on Wednesday at 10.30 am.