Monday 18th February, 2008


Arima cop escapes hit man

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A policeman assigned to the Northern Division Task Force escaped death when he was shot at by an unknown gunman on Saturday night.

According to acting Snr Supt Rajendranath Maharaj, the officer (name called) was driving to his home at Morris Avenue, Arima, at about 10 pm when the lone gunman fired two shots at his car.

“He was about 100 feet from his house when the man fired two shots. The man was standing under a mango tree, waiting for him,” Maharaj said.

And according to the senior cop, this is not the first time one of his officers has been attacked in such a manner.

“This is the third time in less than two weeks that one of my officers has been shot at…the third time. I hope when the police decide to take action, people don’t think the police are being too hard,” he said.

All three officers belong to the Task Force.

Maharaj said many of his officers had received death threats.

“Everybody receiving threats, but this is a job that has to be done. We have to step up and deal with it,” he said.

In recent times, police officers have found themselves on the receiving end of attacks, as they have now become the focus of criminal entities.

There has been a call by the Police Service Social and Welfare Association president Emrol Bruce for police officers to be allowed to take their firearms home to protect themselves and their families.

He said for a police officer, a firearm was “an entitlement.”

Commenting on this, Maharaj said only those on the frontline should be allowed to carry firearms.

“Not all of them should carry guns... only those who come face to face with the criminals on a daily basis,” he said.

Asked whether police officers were beginning to fear for their safety and were considering leaving the service, Maharaj said he could not say.

“If these officers give up and leave, then we will be in trouble. I am not afraid of death and I cannot give up and run…go where?” he asked.

“If we give up then the criminals will feel they have the upper hand, that they are winning.”

Maharaj said police officers might be coming under fire because they are stepping up on crime.

“That is why they (criminals) are retaliating. Serious crime (in the Northern Division) is down by 45 per cent. We are doing our jobs,” he said.

Maharaj said his officers had been advised to exercise extreme caution and to be alert at all times.

On the latest shooting, Maharaj said there were no leads at this time, but detectives were working assiduously on the matter.

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