Of late kidnappings have been especially worrying
for families and business people alike. For the year kidnappers have
demanded (Can) $14.6 million for the safe release of 33 kidnap
victims, police said; of that sum $475,000 was paid. Thirty-one of the
33 victims have been returned to their families, but Damien Schneider,
35, a former national chess player, was murdered and another, Darrel
Chotoo, 25, of El Socorro, San Juan, is feared dead. Police have not
yet found his body, but were informed that his body was dumped in a
swamp north of the Caroni River on June 30.
National Security Minister Chin Lee said the
"mastermind" behind the high profile kidnappings, Sheldon "Skelly"
Lovell, 27, is wanted for only one kidnapping involving two people,
Yves Ayoung Chee and Benedict Barette. They were kidnapped on Marli
Street, New Town, Port-of-Spain, on July 17 and released after 10 and
nine days, respectively. Police said ransoms were paid. Ayoung Chee is
the 18-year-old son of Dr Wilson Ayoung Chee of Scott Street, St
Former Special Reserve Police Reginald Gibson,
30, of Phase Four, Beetham Gardens, and Kenny Bonnett, 24, of 144
Eastern Main Road, Laventille, were charged with falsely imprisoning
and kidnapping Ayoung Chee and Barette. The men who kidnapped Ayoung
Chee and Barette used what sounded like the siren from a police car.
The gunmen also pretended to be police officers.
Following that report, Transport Commissioner
Nathaniel Douglas announced at a hastily called press conference on
August 2 to ban flashing blue lights except for those approved for the
The crime situation is worrying Trinidadians to
the point where several of them have said they are seriously
considering sending their families abroad for their own safety. Such
as used car dealer Aran Kissoodan, who was kidnapped on February 23
and released after a (Can) $250,000 ransom was paid. Following his
release, Kissoodanís family said they were so traumatised by the
incident that they are seriously considering migrating.
UNC MP Dr Fuad Khan said he doesnít feel safe. "I
could possibly stay and fight, but for the sake of the safety of my
family, thereís a compelling desire to get them out of here before the
crime calamity hits," he said.
Attorney Randy Depoo, whose speciality is in
immigration, said: "Iíve been involved in moving several prominent
families out of Trinidad and Tobago and into the US since last year."
He said some clients have asked for his help in
getting their families out while they stay in Trinidad to run their
businesses. Others are arranging for their children to leave.