AN EMPLOYEE of T&T Ferry Services was shot and killed by gunmen while driving his car along Belmont Farm Road, Mason Hall, early on Thursday. The victim has been identified as Trinidadian Emero Baynes who is Tobago's fifth murder victim for this year.
Police said that at around 4.15 am, the Tobago Operational Command Centre received a report of an accident along Belmont Farm Road.
Officers from the Emergency Response Patrol responded along the Emergency Health Services and Fire Services.
Baynes was found slumped over the steering wheel of a white Hyundai Sonata, with several gunshot wounds to his head and other parts of his body.
Officers from the Criminal Records Office processed the scene, which was visited by CMO Dr Kumar. The body was removed to the Scarborough General Hospital mortuary.
Police visiting the scene included Insps Prince, Bacchus and Joefield and Sgts Yorke and Jones. Baynes was said to be living in the Pleasant Prospect area, near Black Rock. He was believed to have been heading to work when the shooting occurred.
On Thursday, passengers who interacted with Baynes during their trips to and from Trinidad on board the APT James said they were shocked and saddened by his death.
Tobago artiste and reigning heritage monarch Shamika Denoon described him as charming. "Everytime, I boarded the ferry with my daughter, you were always there to give her good cheer," she said on her WhatsApp status.
"One of the best workers on the T&T Ferry Service, rest in peace Emiro. This is really sad."
Another female passenger said in a Facebook post that Baynes seated her on the vessel earlier this week.
Investigations are continuing.
Commenting on the killing, economist Anslem Richards said reports of murders with firearms must be of serious concern to Tobagonians, given the size of the island. He said details of Baynes' killing was still sketchy.
"He was a well-known employee on T&T Ferry Services. We don't know what he was involved in and we don't want to make any assumptions about his activities that may have generated this kind of end result.
"But I think we have a duty and responsibility to ensure that the police, with the support from the community, remove illegal firearms from the streets of Trinidad and Tobago," Richards said.
He reiterated that security at the ports also must be improved to prevent the transshipment of guns.
He added there must also be purposeful interventions for young people who are inclined to get involved in underworld activities.
"There must be affirmative action, especially among our young males. And the THA has to pay some attention to that, especially in collaboration with the central government, to provide the resources to get that kind of affirmative action almost immediately."
Richards said if these measures are not implemented, crime will escalate, "especially in the current inflationary and unemployment situation that we are facing as a country.
"So we have to ensure that we stabilise the socio-economic environment and do the kind of human development intervention that is necessary to recede the kind of criminal activity that normally happens in a time of economic depression and social contraction."
THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine has spoken out against Tobago's crime situation.
After the death of artiste N'Kosi Bovell, aka Fari Dan, who was shot in a bar in Scarborough on May 15, he had told reporters, "This is not the Tobago we know. Every murder is shocking and alarming to us and I don't want us to be desensitised. It is something that we have to treat with rather quickly."
Augustine said then crime is mostly a social issue that must be addressed with a concerted effort focusing on young men.