Freeport residents in fear over crime upsurge

The shock­ing video of a Freeport fam­i­ly be­ing tram­pled up­on, kicked and cuffed by rob­bers dur­ing a birth­day lime has prompt­ed calls for more sur­veil­lance in the area.

Res­i­dents said drug dens were crop­ping up in the once qui­et com­mu­ni­ty and they were afraid to share in­for­ma­tion.

At least every busi­ness place in the Are­na Vil­lage has been hit by rob­bers over the past year. Even the Faith As­sem­blies Church has been bur­gled and po­lice in­for­mants have been gunned down.

In an in­ter­view, Niki­ta Rag­bir said more po­lice pa­trols were need­ed in the side streets off Are­na Road.

“We need pa­trols at Ti­warie Cir­cu­lar North and South. Po­lice need to do more pa­trols be­cause we do not feel se­cure here,” she said.

Pen­sion­ers Leela and Mathu­ra Ra­moutar, who live a few hous­es away from where the rob­bery at birth­day lime took place, said they were trau­ma­tized by the in­crease in rob­beries.

Leela said her cousin Ramesh Man­nah was gunned down two years ago.

“We are not safe. I felt so scared when I saw what hap­pened with my neigh­bours,” she said. Mathu­ra said the po­lice pa­trols were con­sis­tent and re­sponse time was good.

How­ev­er, he said pre­ven­ta­tive ac­tion had to be tak­en to curb crime.

At the Are­na Su­per­mar­ket, a source said the po­lice need­ed to do more raids.

“Come and do sur­veil­lance and you will see what is hap­pen­ing,” she said, adding that the su­per­mar­ket was robbed twice in re­cent times.

“When I heard about the rob­bery low­er down the road I did not feel to come back to work. There are some youths who are dis­tress­ing peo­ple. Long ago, this used to be a qui­et place but not again. We were robbed in June last year and in Feb­ru­ary. Four men with guns came just as we were clos­ing the su­per­mar­ket. They slammed the cus­tomer’s head on­to the shut­ters,” she re­called.

The source agreed that more pa­trols were need­ed in the area.

One of the rel­a­tives of the birth­day par­ty rob­bery vic­tims said they were too trau­ma­tized to speak.

“We don’t want to re­live this. When we saw the video it was as if we were re­liv­ing it,” she said.

Con­tact­ed for com­ment, Ca­roni Cen­tral MP Dr Bhoen­dra­datt Tewarie said he had cir­cu­lat­ed the video of the rob­bery as a means of high­light­ing the hor­rid sit­u­a­tion in the Are­na area.

Tewarie said a year ago the area was hit by a string of armed rob­beries.

“We took the po­lice with us in­to the com­mu­ni­ties and since then it had set­tled down for a while un­til now,” Tewarie said.

He said the po­lice were not ac­tive with pa­trols.

“They are not deal­ing with drug blocks and they are not man­ag­ing the traf­fic in­ter­sec­tions to see who is com­ing in and out of our com­mu­ni­ty. I want to see more po­lice ac­tion and more pro­tec­tion for our cit­i­zens,” he added.

Mean­while, Chair­man of the Cou­va/Tabaquite/Tal­paro Hen­ry Awong al­so agreed there was an in­crease in crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ty over the past month.

He called on the po­lice to es­tab­lish a po­lice pa­trol unit in the area and im­ple­ment more pa­trols.

Com­mis­sion­er Grif­fith did not re­spond to mes­sages left for him on What­sApp. Ef­forts to con­tact him on his cel­lu­lar phone proved fu­tile.

- by Radhica De Silva