Chairman Sal Tarrae Sustainable Development Foundation Jermel Pierre at the anti-crime march and fun day, Vessigny Secondary School on Saturday. – Jeff K. Mayers
National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds has called on other government ministries to join him in doing a case study on the massacre in the Heights of Guanapo, Arima, that left four siblings, including a ten-year-old, dead. Five other relatives were also wounded.
In “asking” the Social Development and the Sport and Community Development to come together with him, Hinds anticipated “a really big story” behind the incident.
“Sometimes, it is not the most pleasant. But certainly, to have resulted in the more than tragic result where four children, including a ten-year-old, lost their lives, there has to be a story,” Hinds said.
He believed that a combination of social and other circumstances resulted in that tragedy, which he described as heinous, unbearable, intolerable, nasty, and murderous.
The minister spoke at an anti-crime march on Saturday in La Brea hosted by the NGO the Sal Tarrae Sustainable Development Foundation, of which Jermel Pierre is chairman.
The minister said everyone, not only law enforcement officers, is responsible for dealing with crime. Government ministries, NGOs, faith-based organisations, and parents all have roles to play.
On Thursday at around 12.25 am, siblings Faith Peterkin, ten, Arrianna Peterkin, 14, Shane Peterkin, 17, and Tiffany Peterkin, 19, were shot dead as they slept at the family’s home at La Retreat Extension.
Five others, aged between 25-14, were hit but survived.
Hinds expressed confidence that the police are making progress on the case. He said he hopes that investigators identify the perpetrators, arrest them, and put them before the court “to give an account for their very heinous, murderous conduct.”
Hinds said this country has various opportunities for everyone wanting to make use of the talents that God gave them. When he sees violence and other forms of crime, he reflects on the opportunities available to the people.
He lamented that people do not have to commit crimes to succeed in TT.
“It is not necessary to have to kill to get food,” he said.
On the issue of bail being granted to people accused of murder, Hinds said many police have complained about it. In many cases, the accused people commit crimes while on bail.
He cited a report of a man on bail for murder being held with guns.
“God knows what he was about to do with them or can have done or have done,” Hinds said.
“The court guards very jealously its right to deal with the issue of bail. Even if you write legislation, the court construes it in a way that at end of the day that decision is for the Judiciary. We as a Government, I, as a minister, accept that.”
He, however, said the delays in the criminal justice system are a large part of why people get bail.
He added that the government has been doing all it can to quicken the criminal justice system, including decriminalising marijuana and introducing the demerit point system, for traffic offences.
Such initiatives took off thousands of cases from the magistrates’ courts that would have clogged the system.
La Brea MP Stephen Mc Clashie, community groups including No Youth Left Behind led by Quincy Joseph, and others participated in the march to “take a stand against crime.”
It began at the Vessigny Secondary School, then the Southern Main Road, and ended at the Brighton Anglican School.
He praised Pierre and his team for organising the walk, saying the community engagement inspires him.
Hinds added it was one of the social things the NGO is doing to respond to crime and criminality in an understanding that this is not for the police alone.