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Record number of homicides in 2016

Record number of homicides in 2016

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The year 2016 has gone down in history as the bloodiest ever in Vincentian history, with a recorded 40 murders, giving credibility to the Italian adage, “Anno bisesto, anno funesto” which means “leap year, doom year”.{{more}}

Before last year, the most murders ever recorded in a single year was in 2014, some 37, reportedly the result of a cocaine war that kept police busy that year.

The 38th murder victim for 2016 was Ralph Garrick, who was struck on the head in his hometown of Lowmans Windward on December 27. He died at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH) on December 28. Police have charged 65-year-old Lauders farmer Augustus Glasgow with Garrick’s death.

On December 29, while persons were still talking about a number of other shootings, the 39th murder was recorded with the shooting of Kamari ‘Kam’ Neptune. Neptune received multiple gunshot wounds about his body at around 6:16 a.m. in front of his girlfriend’s house in Redemption Sharpes on the outskirts of Kingstown.

The 2016 killings weren’t done with Neptune’s demise, as one day later, on December 30, police confirmed that a body discovered at Brighton was that of huckster Dexter “Sparta” Carter. The body of the dreadlocked Carter was discovered with what appeared to be a bullet wound to the head.

In an interview with SEARCHLIGHT last December, head of Crime and Assistant Commissioner (ACP) of Police Frankie Joseph told SEARCHLIGHT about 28 of the murders committed before November 30 had more in common than the use of firearms.

“They are related, in the sense that they are a spill-off of the 2014 record murders, where the cocaine, as we knew, came in on the Brighton beach and as a result of that, different groups started to kill each other,” ACP Joseph had said.

What also helped send the 2016 murder rate over the top also was a spate of killings that took place between Sunday night November 13, from around 11, to Monday morning November 14 around 2, during which four persons were murdered. That pushed the murder rate to 31 for 2016 and police believe that the murders were committed by a mentally challenged Old Sandy Bay resident, Jurani “Rabacca” Baptiste. Killed in that spree were Edinboro resident Nicholas Layne, Avis Israel and her son Ronald Israel of Old Montrose, and Pamela Williams of Kingstown Park.

ACP Joseph in his December interview with SEARCHLIGHT noted that although the police have information about the different crime groups, they lack evidence to support their intelligence.

He identified ‘hot areas’ as Ottley Hall, Edinboro, Paul’s Avenue, Redemption Sharpes, Green Hill, Villa and Glen. “Players of these groups, they have already made up their minds; it is left to us to catch them and to stop them,” he had said.

However, a number of the murders were not gang related and left children without mothers and fathers.

On December 21, Yambou resident Vidana McKenzie-Williams, 33, was chopped in her neck and died outside her mother’s shop in Chapmans. She was mortally wounded while holding her 23-month-old son in her arms and speaking to two of her other children. Dennis James of Chapman’s Village, a deportee from Canada, has been charged with McKenzie-Williams’ murder, the 36th murder for 2016.

The following day, on December 22, Vancito “Cito” Balcombe was brutally murdered on the main road in front of his Langley Park home. What compounded this situation is that Balcombe was the father of three children who had lost their mother two days earlier on Tuesday, December 20, when she fell and hit her head in Vermont.

Up to press time, no murders have been recorded for the new year, 2017, but a number of vehicular accidents have been making headlines.

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