One road in & out - how did Chaguaramas killers escape?

Gangsters who unleashed gunfire at the Chaguaramas Boardwalk could have been apprehended easily if all law enforcement arms had been working in tandem, a top-level security expert disclosed today.

The source who requested anonymity said the escape of the men who killed Fabien “Super” Williams, 32, of Sea View Hill, Kedel Osbourne, 18, from Sea View Hill, Carenage, and 39-year-old Andrew Francis, of Mamoral, occurred because of a lack of coordination.

Saying T&T's law enforcement strategies were woefully inadequate, the source said the National Operations Centre was supposed to coordinate all arms of national security so that in the event of a crisis, there would be an immediate lock-down.

This never happened when the first distress calls came through.

"Because of the National Operations Centre is not being utilized effectively, these men were allowed to escape even though there is only one road coming in and out of Chaguaramas," the source said.

He noted that the Chaguaramas Police post was located within spitting distance of the shooting yet the officers failed to execute a proper lock-down to arrest the men. T&T's Regiment Teteron Barracks, is also closeby.

"If they had utilized the technology available to the SSA and the NOC, there would have been an immediate transfer of intelligence leading to the arrest of these gangsters.  The NOC was geared up in a way that if there is any distress call and or national emergency different arms of the protective service could be triggered. This did not work and it is very sad that they are allowing successful crime strategies to fall away," the source added.

He said national security arms must stop operating in isolation.

Asked to make recommendations to improve the responses, the security expert said, "They need to use technology in the crime fight. Lots of systems used previously are not being utilized because  they don't understand how the technology works."

Asked to give recommendations, the security expert said the TTPS Rapid Response Unit must be placed strategically throughout the country so there will be immediate response within five minutes of a distress call.

"RRU vehicles are now being parked up and the GPS is not being used to look at their area of responsibility," the official said.

He said the RRU system has worked in London, North American, and Europe and has been proven to reduce crime.

Meanwhile, criminologist Dr Randy Seepersad said the government must adopt strategies to deal with gangsterism. He said Project Reason, which was implemented in 16 communities in Port of Spain had a 60 per cent success rate in reducing gang violence. He also called for collaboration between all arms of national security.

On Sunday around 7 pm, gunmen opened fire on beach-goers at the Boardwalk killing Williams, Osbourne, and Francis. Three others, including eight-year-old Jakeem Moses, of Pelican Extension, Morvant, were wounded along with Ian Brown, 20, of Upper Sea View, Carenage and Keron Jones, 26, of Cleaver Heights, Arima.

Investigating officers believe the gunmen were after Williams whom they had tried to kill before. Police said they knew him well as he faced several firearm offenses in the past.

National Security Minister Edmund Dillon and Police Commissioner Stephen Williams could not be reached for comment as calls to their cellular phones went unanswered.

Source: www.guardian.co.tt (Radhica De Silva)

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