Businesses fleeing Port of Spain

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Downtown Owners and Merchants Association (DOMA) president Gregory Aboud. – JEFF K MAYERS

Doma president Gregory Aboud says the high level of violent crime in the country’s capital is causing businesses to flee Port of Spain. Aboud was speaking with reporters on Queen Street shortly after a man was shot dead and three others were wounded on George Street on Friday.

“The truth is it (businesses leaving the capitol) has already started. In reality, there is no business with the exception of maybe one or two major businesses in Port of Spain that do not have multiple branches outside of Port of Spain.

“Many of the buildings are for sale. There is a worrisome aspect to that.”

According to reports, at about 3.30, 22-year-old Shakaree Humphrey, of lower Nelson Street, was on George and Queen Streets when a car passed and the occupants opened fire on him. He was shot multiple times and died at the scene. Another man was also shot during the incident. He ran from the scene of the shooting from Queen Street to Henry Street where he collapsed near Detour Mall.

That man was assisted by police who took him to hospital, where he is being treated.

Two elderly people were also wounded. They were taken to hospital and treated.

Aboud, who was present when police officers took the wounded man to hospital, said the incident was an act of lawlessness. He called on the Port of Spain Mayor to treat with “bread and butter” issues such as addressing crime and not “meat and potatoes” issues such as beautification and wrecking cars.

“This is a law and order situation. What happened was a breakdown of law and order. It is no more complicated than that. Until we start making arrests and convicting perpetrators who are attacking shoppers and each other we can’t say anything but to say that they are lawless.

Police cordon off the area where Shakeere Humphery was murdered on Queen Street, Port of Spain on Friday. – JEFF K MAYERS

“You can’t come lecturing people about ‘holistic approaches’ when people are able to run free on the city streets and shoot each other.”

Aboud said DOMA has a plan to treat with crime including having police put a focus on policing in Eastern Port of Spain. He commended Police Commissioner McDonald Jacob for having a listening ear for the business community in Port of Spain.

“He has listened more intently to us than any other police commissioner,” Aboud said.

He said businesses had come together, so whenever a crime was committed, they could pool resources share CCTV footage and forward it to the police.

In an unrelated incident, a 60-year-old man was shot dead on Thursday night after gunmen shot a group of people on Pelican Extension, Morvant.

Police said, at about 6.25 pm, Clinton Cain was on Matthew Lane with a group of people when the occupants of a Nissan Wingroad drove up to them and started shooting.

Cain was taken to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex where he died at about 7.04 pm. Two others, a 24-year-old from East Dry River and a 36-year-old from Pelican Extension were wounded.

Police believe the intended target was unharmed but his car was riddled with bullets.

In a third incident, two men were shot in El Socorro at about 8.45 pm on Thursday.

Police said the two men were on Siewdass Trace when a car pulled up and occupants started shooting. A 21-year-old man was shot in the chest and another was shot in the back and both legs. Both men are in a critical condition at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex.

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