CoP (Ag) Mc Donald Jacob speaks to several units of the Western Division on September 23rd. (Image courtesy TTPS)

A garbage collector was one of two people killed on Wednesday morning during gun violence in the streets of Port-of-Spain, environs and in Laventille.

But according to the acting Commissioner of Police, while there has been an upsurge in gang violence in some areas, it is “nothing new.”

In the first incident yesterday, police said around 6:15 am Jamal Goodridge was gunned down, while standing on Nelson Street, Port-of-Spain (see Page 20).

Less than an hour later, around 7:05 pm police said Nizam Ali Cadette, 32, of Building B-2-4 Bath Street, East Dry River was at Laventille Road near Lovell Place working on a blue garbage truck, when two armed men emerged and began shooting at him.

Ali Cadette attempted to escape by running away but was injured and collapsed. Members of the Port-of-Spain Task Force under the supervision of Cpl Huggins were nearby responded, and found Ali Cadette lying on the road suffering from injuries to the head.

He was taken to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

Contacted about the apparent upsurge in gun violence over the past two weeks, acting Commissioner of Police Mc Donald Jacob confirmed there was indeed a surge in gang violence in the Port-of-Spain and Northern Divisions, but he said this was “nothing new.”

But Jacob reassured that the T&T Police Service is “accelerating the manner of policing and you will see these actions in the next few days.”

“But when these gang violence occurs, it is very difficult for us to know when gangs will rile up. Today we’ve arrested persons, and today we have persons charged for murders but it is nothing new. I can identify eight situations where over a 24-hour period we would have had over six murders for the year thus far. Yes every life lost is concerning, and we are concerned and treating with the uptick in the killings,” Jacob said.

He added, “But to say at this stage that something unprecedented is occurring, will be a total fallacy. And you can go back in your data, how six weeks ago, within two hours we had eight murders in the Northern Division and similarly in south. Eight murders over a 24 hour period and there are several incidents like that.”

The acting Commissioner said gun violence continues because young men have access to high powered weapons, such as submachine guns.

“When they shoot it’s not just one person getting killed, it’s two and three, and sometimes innocent bystanders because of the nature of the weapons.”

He used the opportunity to remind citizens that the TTPS launched a gun retrieval initiative with Crime Stoppers, which has so far seen 550 guns coming off the streets.