Amidst an uptick in violent crimes on the island, Social and Community Development Minister Philip Telesford has issued a clarion call for “young people to try their best to control their responses to conflicts.”
Minister Telesford made the plea in an interview with reporters during a visit to the North-eastern village of Vendomme, St. George, where the sixth homicide for the year was recorded last week Thursday.
The victim is Jason Joseph, a former employee of the Ministry of Finance, who was found dead with chop wounds to his head and hands, and with burn marks all over his body, laying in a drain alongside the public road, close to his dwelling house, which was completely engulfed in flames by the time law enforcement officers arrived on the scene.
The fire quickly spread causing damages to at least two houses nearby.
The accused, a 36-year-old unemployed mentally challenged man, identified as Kevin Penny, was found with chop wounds to his leg and shoulder, and is currently under heavy security at the St. George’s General Hospital.
Penny is also receiving treatment for a gunshot wound to his leg as officers were forced to use their firearm to capture him.
According to one resident, Penny, who was deported from Canada some time ago, lit Joseph’s house on fire using torches and missiles and attempted to put the deceased on fire before killing him.
The 36-year-old suspect, who resides close to where Joseph’s body was found, was shot and captured after resisting arrest when approached by police officers who responded to the incident, which according to residents is a first-time occurrence in the Vendomme community.
“For us as a government, we are broken, very disheartened by this very unfortunate incident. We are really taken by surprise with this one and it just shows that we have to be so vigilant, and conscious of the people who live around us,” said the government minister.
“Of course, this individual is mentally challenged…people who are mentally challenged we do not know how they are going to respond. So, again, we have to be conscious of what we say and how we respond, how we react to situations and that will help to quell these sorts of incidents or prevent them in the first place,” he added.
The Social Development Minister, who was among officials who accompanied the Member of Parliament for the area, Ron. Redhead on a visit to the community offering psychosocial support to affected residents.
Lawmen have also captured another mentally challenged man identified as Andre Simon, who reportedly inflicted several chop wounds on his cousin Faye Simon during an altercation Sunday in Mt. Pleasant, Carriacou.
According to Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Simon Douglas, the victim is currently hospitalised at the St. George’s General Hospital in stable condition and is expected to make a recovery.
The lawmen are still in search of Dwane Mc Donald, the 42-year-old man from Beausejour, Carriacou, who is wanted for questioning in connection with the May 3 shooting death of Randy Jones Mc Intosh.
Head of the Criminal Investigations Unit (CID) of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) Assistant Superintendent of Police, Ryan Hall has revealed that there is an 8.4% increase in crimes and a 1% increase in violent crimes this year, compared to the same period last year.
RGPF continues to emphasise that it will take a hands-on approach to curb the scourge of violence in the country.
“Oftentimes, we isolate the issue of increased crime to the sole responsibility of the police officers. We have a role to play…but we cannot do it by ourselves, it will require the public…,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police Don Mc Kenzie.