Murder victim's sister: 'I feel sorry for the country'

Che Mendez was murdered during a robbery on July 3.  -
Che Mendez was murdered during a robbery on July 3. -

THE family of a cigarette delivery driver who was killed during a robbery on July 3 say sensationalising gangs in Youtube videos without sharing the information with the police is irresponsible.

Massy Distribution employee Che Mendez, 42, and an unnamed security guard were delivering cigarettes to shops in St Ann’s when two armed men held them up around 11.45 am.

The men tied their hands, forced them into the truck and drove to River Road, Fondes Amandes, St Ann’s, where they shot both men before driving off in the truck loaded with cigarettes.

Mendez died at the scene. The security guard was injured and taken to hospital.

Police found the stolen truck abandoned a few hours later.

Speaking with the media at the Forensic Science Centre in St James, Mendez’s sister Akai Webster called for more to be done to get guns off the street, as she said her brother, the father of two, went to work never expecting to meet such a violent death.

“People fuss and they had all sort of things to say when (Canadian You Tuber) Chris Must List was arrested.

"But if he could could get to the gangs and get to the source of what's happening, how hard it is for the police to do the same thing? I'm certain they know how and where to find them.

“It just needs to stop. We're not safe any more. I never thought our family would be plunged into being a statistic as victims of gun violence.

"It's terrible. The guns need to come off the streets.”

Webster suggested vloggers should prioritise the public’s safety over views and likes.

She said anyone who has information to help get guns off the street but chooses not to share it with the police is being irresponsible.

“It comes like you are sensationalising gangs. And as citizens, we have a responsibility to report (illegal acts) to save our lives and to save the lives of our families and our children.

“I think (sharing information with police) is everybody's responsibility once they know of gangs anywhere. There are people who know where (the gangs) are and where to find them.”

She called on National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds and Commissioner of Police Erla Harewood-Christopher to do more in the fight against crime.

“They need to get on the ground. We can't expect Minister Hinds to do it all, but he needs to mobilise his forces. Implement a state of emergency, because something needs to happen to curb the crime.”

Webster said it was unfair that her brother was killed when all he was trying to do was provide a better life for his family.

She said he began driving for Massy Distribution about a year ago, as this job paid more and had better hours, so he could spend more time with his family.

She praised Massy, saying the company had been very supportive, even hiring a grief counsellor to help the family.

But, she said, “His daughter is very traumatised. It has taken a toll on the entire family. My mum is not doing very well.

"No words. No words. I mean, we are heartbroken, you know, it's sad.”

She said Mendez was the jolliest person in the world.

“He was always happy. You hear that from everybody. I don't think there was ever a sad moment in Che’s life, because he took everything as a joke. I guess that was his way of dealing with life.

"But everybody around him couldn't do anything else but smile and laugh. Sometimes I think Che invented the term LOL (laugh out loud).”

But Webster said despite his joyful personality, she believes he may have resisted during the robbery.

“He will have defended his life and his job, because that's who he was. He was a committed worker. He will have really put up a fight.”

She said that was her belief, but she may have to wait years for further answers about Mendez’s death.

Webster said she is prepared to wait, as he deserves justice.

“That takes us into a whole other topic in terms of the justice system. If his killers are ever caught, will they sit in remand yard and wait years and years before they are called to trial, while we continue to grieve? Will we ever get the closure as to exactly what happened to him? We know he got shot, but we want the story behind it and why they did it.”

Addressing his killers, Webster, who runs a social programme for young women, said she understood the plight of young people, but urged them to find another way to deal with their issues.

“I understand the country is tough and they need to find a better way of living. They need to survive.

“But gangs can’t be the way to do it.

“We need to get the young men to speak out because they, just as much as our young girls, are hurting. Things are happening to boys and they are not speaking out. And we need to get to the root of the problem. So those young men need to find somebody to talk to.

"Don't turn to the community leader/gang leader. There are people you can talk to.”

Webster said her brother's murder had led her to tell her children, who study abroad but are in Trinidad and Tobago on vacation, not to return when they complete their education.

“I told them, ‘Hear what, allyuh need not to be here. Allyuh have to go back to school, so just go now and done.’ My husband and I told them if they could make a difference outside of Trinidad and Tobago, then they should do that instead of coming back here.”

Webster said she feels sorry for the country.

“I am sympathetic to Trinidad and Tobago right now. You open the door, is shots outside. I mean, (crime) is all over. You turn around, is crime. And I can’t do anything but feel sorry for us as a country.”


"Murder victim’s sister: ‘I feel sorry for the country’"

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