By Martina Johnson
The Attorney General and Minister of Public Safety Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin said he finds “troubling” the number of killings recorded so far for the year. The total reported by the police is 19.
He expressed concern especially because this number exceeds the number of killings recorded each year since 2006.
The number of murders for those years was provided to the media annually by the police in their end of year crime statistical reports.
The highest recorded for any year from 2006 to 2016 was 17 and that was in 2008 when two young men, Kaniel Martin and Avie Howell, went on a rampage shooting people to death after robbing them.
The minister said although the situation this year is troubling, there is reason for the public not to be too concerned.
“I do accept that the figure this year far exceeds the other years gone by. Be that as it may, we are satisfied that most of these killings are gang-related, actions taken with retaliation or with revenge,” he said.
Minister Benjamin backed his comments by sharing the findings of the police who are investigating the recent shooting deaths of Andre Cummings Jr. (yesterday) and Babu Jardine (last week).
“Indeed, the very last matter that we had, the gentleman who was shot and killed [yesterday], he had been wanted by the police for the last killing that happened in the Point area. And he too was on bail for shooting with intent to murder,” he said. Then he added, “There is always a link to gang related matters.”
Benjamin said the police are doing the best they could to solve and counter crime.
“We are going to make certain that the forces in Antigua and Barbuda will do everything that is possible to keep patrols up, get information up and to deal effectively and efficiently with these gangs. These gangs, they are the source of the problem in the state,” he said.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)
By Martina Johnson