DANCE and cultural icon Torrance Mohammed is warded and unconscious in the ICU of the San Fernando General Hospital after he was beaten and robbed in Mon Repos on Monday night.
San Fernando mayor Junia Regrello said he was at a loss to understand why someone would use such force against this frail 91-year old to the extent that if he survives he may not be able to walk again, much less dance.
“In light of the unemployment situation and way things are, people are going to get desperate so people have to be more vigilant, more careful in how they conduct their business because there are a lot of desperate people outside there. There are a lot of hungry people out there as well,” Regrello said.
According to a report, around 2.30 pm on Monday, Mohammed went to drop off some fruit for a friend at Torrance Street, Mon Repos.
While he was waiting outside the gate, a man grabbed his gold chain and his phone.
An eyewitness said Mohammed fought back and was pushed hard by the thief. He fell to the ground, injuring his back, neck and hand.
Police from the nearby Mon Repos police station were contacted as well as an ambulance. Police arrived almost immediately but after an hour, when and no ambulance had arrived, Mohammed was taken to the hospital in a private vehicle.
Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts Randall Mitchell, commenting on the crime said, “It takes a truly evil person to violently attack a senior citizen, an icon like Torrance Mohammed.
“For a man who has given so much of himself, his time, his talent and his skill to others in society, it does trouble me. My sympathies go out to him and his family. I wish him strength and a speedy recovery.”
Saddened by the attack against Mohammed and the death of iconic steelband arranger Lennox “Bobby” Mohammed, Regrello said, “if something should happen to Torrance it would mean we are losing another hero, another trailblazer, somebody who has contributed immensely to the development of the arts in San Fernando.”
Mohammed, who succeeded the late Beryl McBurnie in leading the Arawaks Dance Group, was a leading light in the formation and development of the San Fernando Arts Council, the Creative Arts Centre, in drama and as a councillor and deputy mayor on the city corporation.
He was among cultural icons honoured on City Day 2020 with a plaque and a cheque for his contribution to the arts. Last month the corporation also passed a resolution to name the street from Independence Avenue to the Naparima Bowl after him.
“We were waiting for an ease-up of covid19 and the state of emergency to do the installation of the street signs.”