Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles has said Tobago must take a serious stand against crime and not turn a blind eye to the increasing number of criminal activities.
His comments came after the murder of Akil Andrews on Friday night in Black Rock.
“As a community, we cannot and must never turn a blind eye to any criminal activity, small or large. We must send a signal to the world that Tobago and Tobagonians will not stand by and see our island become prey to these criminal elements so easily,” Charles, representative for Plymouth/ Black Rock, said on Saturday.
“I will never reach the point of being unaffected by any news of crime in Tobago. It's just not the kind of island that we are seeking to cultivate. Whilst I don't have all the details surrounding this matter, persons must not feel that they are at will to carry out these acts on our island whenever they feel.”
Andrews, 36, is originally from Mt Hope and moved into an apartment at Archer Circular Road, Black Rock last November to assist his sister with her retail business.
Newsday was told that at around 7 pm, an unmasked gunman entered his apartment and fired five shots at Andrews in the presence of his 18-year-old girlfriend and another female friend. The gunman then walked out of the apartment and down the street.
Villagers told Newsday they heard several loud explosions and alerted the police. They described Andrews as a happy person who had good relationship with many in the Black Rock/Plymouth community. One Black Rock resident said Tobagonians must do background checks on who they rent their apartments to. She said villagers must also start asking questions when strangers enter the community.
Andrews' sister declined to comment on his death when contacted by Newsday. An autopsy is scheduled for this week at the Scarborough mortuary.
Andrews was Tobago’s sixth murder victim. In May, couple John Mills and Eulyn John were the fourth and fifth murder victims. Their hands and feet were bound, their mouths gagged and they were stabbed to death at their Cocrico Avenue home in Buccoo, hours after Mills celebrated his 70th birthday. They were discovered by their nephew around noon on May 2.
In March, the island went into shock over the third murder victim, prominent businessman and retired police sergeant, Donald Parks, who was shot dead at his Summer Hill, Plymouth Road home, as he got out of his panel van. He was discovered by his daughter Essie Parks. An autopsy revealed he died of a single gunshot wound to the head. A 23-year-old man was arrested and charged for the murder.
In February, the second murder victim, Anderson Baboonanan, of Trinidad was stabbed to death along the Claude Noel Highway during a domestic dispute. An autopsy revealed he died due to a stab wound to the neck. Police were unable to gather sufficient evidence against a female suspect who was released on orders from the DPP.
Police are also continuing investigations into Tobago’s first murder of 20-year-old Dwarika Moses of Les Coteaux. Moses was discovered in a burnt car, with a gunshot wound to his head, on Mason Hall Link road on January 16.