Chamber on Black Rock triple murder: Tobago is breeding criminals

Samuel McKain -
Samuel McKain -

TOBAGO is breeding criminals.

Tobago Business Chamber president Martin George made the statement on Monday following a triple murder in Black Rock. George said Tobagonians must take their head out the sand and realise the gravity of the situation.

George said, “Tobago, we have to stop making the excuses that we are accustomed to making. We have to stop saying that it is gangs from Trinidad infiltrating Tobago, we have to stop burying our heads in the sand whereby we refuse to acknowledge that we are raising and breeding our own home-grown bandits in Tobago."

The island was left in a state of shock after three men were gunned down while gambling near the road in Black Rock early Monday morning.

The triple murder – the first in Tobago in recent times – has pushed the island's 2024 murder toll to a record 15. Last year Tobago registered 14 murders.

The murders will be discussed today when the National Security Council meets at the Office of the Prime Minister, Central Administrative Services, Scarborough. The meeting will be attended by the Prime Minister, Chief Secretary Farley Augustine, Minister of National Security Fitzgerald Hinds and top cops.

In a Facebook post on Monday, Dr Rowley, who will chair the meeting, said Augustine was invited to the meeting on Friday.

According to police, around 12:04 am a group of men were playing cards near a businessplace at Black Rock when they were approached by three gunmen who opened fire. The assailants got into a silver Aqua car and fled the scene.

The three men – Ansleym Douglas, 56 of, Black Rock; Samuel McKain, 35, of Mt Pleasant; and Gregory Hamlet, 53, of Golden Lane – died at the scene. One man with gunshot wounds was taken to the Scarborough General Hospital for treatment. He remains warded in stable condition.

When Newsday visited Black Rock on Monday morning, there was little evidence of the slaughter that took place hours before.

Gregory Hamlet -

One neighbour, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said he knew Douglas personally as they grew up together.

“I know him quite well and I really don’t know him to be involved in anything. I know the whole family, but that young man is very, very quiet, always jovial, I don’t know him to be involved in anything negative. He’s always at home playing cards, he’ll cook; he’s always involved in that kind of recreation so there must be some other element.”

He believes that Douglas was not the intended target.

He cautioned residents to beware who they are interacting with.

“We encourage the outside elements that we know nothing about into your space – that is causing the challenge. We cannot sit down, it is at our doorstep, we have to do something about it.

"It has nothing to do with politics, nothing to do with religion – every single one of us must get involved and bring back our community.”

Another resident said: “I heard the shots. I was even more shocked to learn that it was Ansleym. He was such a humble guy – so sad. I mean, is my partner, we grow from small, so this is a real shocker for me.”

President of the Black Rock Village Council Learie Paul described the incident as disheartening. He said the council's executive met two weeks ago and were looking at different intervention methods to combat crime.

“We decided that we were going to invite the police and social services to do an intervention in our community, so we’re looking at a suite of events to pull back our society." He said they plan to also involve the churches as prayer was important.

He shared similar sentiments as residents.

Ansleym Douglas -

“Most importantly, what we are concerned about is how we hug up everybody, and that hug up could be an embrace of death. That to me is where the challenge is – where we have different people coming into the communities, we don’t know anything about them, and we are embracing them, and they bring their negatives with them."

George said Tobago has reached the record books, but in a negative away.

"We have to face the reality that crime is at our front door, crime is at our doorstep and many of the perpetrators are persons we know – persons in our community, persons in our families, persons in our homes," he said.

"Let us first of all acknowledge that responsibility and that reality before we can then begin to tackle the problem and deal with it.”

As a director at Crime Stoppers, George is urging Tobagonians to make use of the hotline. Citizens, he said, must start taking action. He said he supports the move by Augustine to implement a THA police unit.

“I also call upon the authorities and I certainly urge them to do their part. I urge the government to pass the legislation to proclaim the Tobago police bill or to make the necessary amendments to the THA Act so that you can have a supplemental police force in Tobago.

"I also call upon the TTPS and I call upon the Commissioner of Police because certainly we have to ensure that Tobago as the smallest police division is in a place that remains a safe space and a safe place for us all.”

Crime, he said, cannot be allowed to descend into the mayhem taking place in Trinidad where murders are rampant.

“At least let there be one area, one area in TT where persons can feel safe – let that be Tobago, and we all need to rally to that cause. We all need to recognise the seriousness of it and we all need to take decisive action immediately to stem this tide of crime and this blood-letting that is being unleashed for us in the beautiful island of Tobago.”

THA Minority Leader Kelvon Morris said his heart is heavy with grief.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the families affected by this horrific event. This tragedy underscores the urgent need for a holistic and co-ordinated crime-fighting plan for Tobago to ensure the safety and security of all persons residing on our beloved island.

"Crime not only threatens our safety and security as residents, but it also affects our tourism. We must therefore come together as a community, working hand in hand with all stakeholders to create a safer Tobago.”

He said everyone needs to play an active role by adopting a zero-tolerance stance against criminals, whether they be friend or foe.


"Chamber on Black Rock triple murder: Tobago is breeding criminals"

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