Where's the public outcry after toddler killed? -CoP

Aniah Mc Leod
Aniah Mc Leod


Police Commissioner Gary Griffith asked after news broke of a double murder in Tunapuna where a father and two-year-old daughter were gunned down a short distance for the child’s home on Friday night.

In social media post on Saturday, Griffith said: “When we are met with news of an innocent two-year-old baby being caught in the crossfire of a murderous onslaught, perpetuated by those who cared nothing about curtailing the life of this innocent, many questions immediately come to mind, such as: When will I expect to obtain the requests for marches, and protests against such acts of barbarous brutality against our children?”

Griffith was commenting on the deaths of Stephon and Aniah Mc Leod who were killed after Stephon took the child to get something to eat. Police reports said around 7.30 pm on Friday a gunman came out of a vehicle and shot at the father and daughter. Mc Leod had just picked up his daughter when they were attacked. Police suspect the killing to be drug-related.

Reacting to the incident, president of the International Women's Resource Network (IWRN), Sandrine Isaac-Rattan said the organisation was "very troubled" by the killing.

"The nurturing and protection of our children is the nation’s business. We have a responsibility as a society to protect our children because at the end of the day if we do not, we will resort to a stagnated society," she said.

Regarding the killing of children, Isaac-Rattan said the national community is laid-back with the attitude of "it is not my child."

"Whenever a child is killed, no one says anything and we at IWRN have a difficulty with that. It seems to me that, as a nation, we do not care because it is not our child. The nation needs to be more sensitive, more caring when it comes to children, and less selfish," she suggested. We should have been out in the streets (in protest) but more important than that, we should have some solutions."

Melinda Jaggernauth recalls her final moments of her daughter before she was murdered on Friday night. - SUREASH CHOLAI

Isaac-Rattan said IWRN submitted a letter to the Prime Minister highlighting critical issues affecting children in TT with recommendations and solutions to "change the narrative" and expects to get feedback soon.

She promised that like in the case of shooting death of 15-year-old Jadhil Xavier last Sunday in Arima, who was chased into someone’s home and gunned down in their bedroom, representatives of IWRN will meet with the bereaved family to do their investigation.

In his post, Griffith said he expects that there will be a mass outcry on social media and the many platforms for justice and the many children lost to senseless gang violence.

“I await the sound and fury by activists, politicians, and newspaper editorials, calling on communities to work with the police to bring these perpetrators to immediate justice, along with demands for justice and to “call their names,” or is this outburst, hurt and pain, conveniently felt only when the police are involved?”

He added: “Every life lost is one life too many, and is and should be treated as heinous, however, when murderous gangsters, intentionally point their illegal weapons at their target, and proceed to pull that trigger regardless of who their target may be, and takes the life of an innocent, a baby no less, demands equal outcry. If this doesn’t move us to work together, I am not certain what can.”

While at the scene on Saturday speaking with relatives of Aniah, police arrested one man, but officers claimed he was not held in connection with the double murder. Residents told Sunday Newsday that the double murder was “not a nice thing” and found it heartless.

One resident said Mc Leod was a taxi driver and “lived good with everyone” and was shocked at the killing. The man, who did not want to be identified, said he believed the motive was road rage as the shooting took place moments after Mc Leod attempted to make an illegal three-point turn from Bamboo Trace onto Upper Fairley Street, Tunapuna.

Aniah’s mother, Melinda Jaggernauth, supported the man’s claim saying that Mc Leod, 40, who lived at Achong Trace, Tunapuna was friendly with everyone.

The 26-year-old mother blamed herself for the death of her daughter.

“I blame myself because if I had just carry the child to him to see she, if I had just left her in the yard alone where she was good, it would have never reached to this. The child would have been here now. She would have been here. But now she is gone.”

Rosana Jaggernauth, right, consoles her daughter Melinda at their Tunapuna home on Saturday. - SUREASH CHOLAI

She added: “It is my fault! What again it have? It have nothing again. That was everything. That was my little thing. They take my little thing from me. What the hell? But God doh sleep. They will crawl to me for forgiveness. They won’t even be on their knees. Dem is dogs! They will come crawling and beg me for my forgiveness but I will never forgive them because that child is innocent, she never did anybody anything.”

Aniah’s grandmother, Rosanna Jaggernauth, said she now has no reason to live as the toddler was her life.

“I want my grandchild back!” she cried as she spoke with the media.

She continued: “She was my pride and joy. I asked the father for her and the Lord granted it. I was hoping that I would have lived to see her do common entrance (Secondary Entrance Assessment), because I am a diabetic. She is the only grandchild, the only grand. Why? Why they take my grandchild? I want my grand child back. Lord, I want my grandchild back.”

Addressing the killers of her child and boyfriend, Melinda said those responsible “is the devil.”

She said, “Everything was fun about her. You never have a dull moment with her and even if it was dull, it was just a moment. She was a sweet, loving, caring child. She was so smart in her two years. Her birthday was on June 1, the child ain’t even enjoy the two years.”


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