Tuesday 22 September, 2020

Young: No gang war, East Dry River safe

National Security Minister Stuart Young speaks at the Post Cabinet Media Briefing on July 25, 2019.

National Security Minister Stuart Young speaks at the Post Cabinet Media Briefing on July 25, 2019.

Citizens are being assured that there is no need for panic following reports of alleged gang violence in East Port-of-Spain.

Speaking at the Post Cabinet Media Briefing at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s on Thursday, National Security Minister Stuart Young said he received confirmation from the Besson Street Police Station that the disturbing claims put forward by the Downtown Owners’ and Merchants Association (DOMA) were untrue.

DOMA in an alert issued on Thursday claimed that there were open gun battles taking place between rival gangs in the area, and warned its members to avoid utilising that shortcut if heading East.  

But, Besson Street Police have advised that it is safe for members of the public to use the transit point to exit the capital city as there is no active gang activity at this time.

Meanwhile, Young confirmed that local criminals were the perpetrators of attacks on seven fishermen lost at sea. The bodies of five of these men have washed ashore.

Seeking to clear the air on what he said was misinformation surrounding efforts by the Coast Guard to recover the men, the Minister assured that all assets were employed in the search for the missing fishermen including air support from the National Helicopter Services.

The search continues for those still not found.

Describing it as a most tragic circumstance, he extended condolences to the families of those who lost their lives at sea.

He said as a citizen, every loss of life affects him personally.

Young also gave an update on investigations into the murders of Vaughn “Sandman” Mieres, his wife Lite Mieres, Nigel "Blood" Octim, and a fourth unidentified man in Las Cuevas earlier on Thursday. A person of interest is assisting police with their investigations. 

Regarding reports that Sandman’s killers were dressed in camouflage, he said they were dressed in a "military fatigue manner" but confirmed that they were not attired police uniforms.

Young is expected to receive a full briefing on these matters in an hour’s time. The Minister assured that beachgoers have nothing to fear if planning to go Las Cuevas and Maracas beaches following Sandman’s murder as the issue of increased patrols will be discussed.

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