EIGHT murders and one police killing were recorded over the weekend under a variety of circumstances across Trinidad and Tobago as many looked forward to anti-crime measures they hoped would be announced during Finance Minister Colm Imbert's reading of the budget on Monday.
A police daily briefing on Sunday listed five murders in Trinidad on Saturday.
On top of this was the murder of Ronald Edwards in Arima on Friday night, the killing of Rae Ann "Lucy" Henry in Tobago by another woman on Sunday, plus reports of security guard Kero Benjamin shot in a robbery earlier this month succumbing to his wounds on Sunday.
In the police briefing, firstly a suspected homicide was reported from the North Eastern Division, regarding Nicholas Sampson, 32, a labourer of Mission Road, San Juan. On Saturday night several gunshots were heard, after which Sampson fell down some stairs and was taken to hospital but later succumbed to his injuries. The police recovered a spent case and a live round of 9 mm ammunition.
In the same division, the briefing listed a second suspected homicide, namely, Junior "Farmer" Britton, 67, of Laventille Extension, Morvant, a socially-displaced man whose body was found in a drain off the Lady Young Road, Morvant.
A third suspected homicide was listed under the Chaguanas police district within the Central division, namely Brendon Roman, 44. The police had found him lying on the road, with apparent stab wounds about his body and took him to hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
The doctor's report had noted "multiple lacerations to neck and chest wall."
Fourthly, the briefing listed the homicide of Kendell Beharrysingh, 23, on Green Street, Tunapuna, in the North Central police division. It said Beharrysingh was standing on the street outside his family home on Saturday evening when a AD Wagon pulled up and its occupants began shooting at him. He ran off but then collapsed and was taken to hospital but was later pronounced dead. The police later recovered 12 spent 99 mm casings.
The briefing alluded to gang activity, even as a source told Newsday the victim had defied the dictates of a local gang.
Fifthly, in the Eastern Division, the briefing reported the homicide of Andy "Big Andy" Francois, 49, on Saturday afternoon at Valencia Old Road, Sangre Grande.
He was supervising his workers at a stockpile when two men pulled up in a car, with one telling him "is we come to you." He tried to run away, but several gunshots were heard, after which the police found him lying motionless.
Online reports on Sunday were that in Tobago, Henry was stabbed dead, in Tobago's tenth murder for this year.
Social media reports said Benjamin died of wounds previously inflicted by a bandit who had entered a store he had been guarding.
On Sunday, the TT police service Crime and Problem Analysis (CAPA) website indicated a rise in murders from 386 for the first nine months of 2022, to 394 for the same period this year.
Meanwhile on Sunday, police issued three statements on their efforts against crime, two regarding the marijuana trade and one regarding illegal firearms.
In all, the three statements indicated that 31 individuals were arrested for various offences over the weekend.
The first statement said, "Three 16-year-old males were arrested yesterday after officers found a quantity of marijuana during the search of a vehicle in Erin."
It said child-protection officers were conducting enquiries when they observed the trio in the tray of a white van. One threw out a package upon seeing the police, who then stopped and searched the van, finding two bricks of compressed of marijuana weighing 1.058 kilogrammes.
The driver escaped on foot. The trio was taken to the Erin Police Station, where an interview revealed they were 16-year-olds and their parents were contacted and further enquiries conducted at Oropouche Police Station.
The second statement said, "Exercises conducted in the Southern Division between Friday and Saturday have led to the seizure of 45 marijuana plants. Nine persons were also arrested for various offences."
On Friday the police responded to a report of a disturbance at Caratal Road, Gasparillo, and while interviewing the alleged 43-year-old offender, they allegedly observed several buckets containing marijuana plants. A total of 45 plants were allegedly seized by officers."
Elsewhere a 30-year-old and an 18-year-old, both of West Bayshore, Marabella, were charged for possession of 545 grammes of marijuana, during a roving patrol and roadblock exercise.
The third police statement said, "Two firearms and a quantity of ammunition were seized, one vehicle reported stolen was recovered and 19 persons were arrested as police continued to conduct exercises over the weekend." Among the arrestees was a driver who broke a red light at Barataria and who was pursued by the police who found him to be in possession of two Glock pistols and 53 rounds of ammunition, included some fitted into an extended clip.