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Search intensifies for escaped Prisoner

Murder-accused Lyvon Date - escaped custody last week Wednesday while making an appearance at the Grenville Magistrate’s Court

The Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) is in pursuit of Lyvon Date, a 33-year-old resident of Griffith Lane, St. Andrew, who managed to accomplish a daring escape from lawful custody during a court appearance for an ongoing murder case at Grenville Magistrate’s Court last week Wednesday, triggering an extensive manhunt across the nation.

The RGPF issued a press release on Wednesday with a photo and description of the escapee, emphasising the continuation of aggressive efforts towards his recapture.

Date, who goes by the alias ‘Magic,’ is approximately six feet one inch in height, slim built, dark in complexion with brown eyes, and black hair.

He was arrested and charged back in April 2023 with the offense of Capital Murder, in connection with the death of Wayne Smart, a Canadian citizen, who was reported missing in December 2022, while vacationing in Grenada.

The RGPF has issued an appeal to the public to report any sightings or information regarding his whereabouts to Grenville Police Station at 442 7224, CID St. George’s at 440 3921, Emergency 911, Police Hotline at 444 1958, or the nearest police station.

The press release also warns that, “Mr. Date may be armed and dangerous and should be approached with caution.”

Date’s escape came approximately three days after three (3) Paradise, St. Andrew men successfully evaded police at the South St. George Police Station, fleeing to neighbouring St. Vincent, where they were subsequently captured by authorities there.

The fugitives, 30-year-old Ron Mitchell, Trevon Robertson, 19, and 25-year-old Atiba Stanisclaus, reportedly hijacked a catamaran, which was found abandoned in Vincentian waters, which belonged to an American common law couple, who authorities said were disposed during the getaway to St. Vincent and are now feared dead.

Police Commissioner Don Mc Kenzie has affirmed that a “thorough investigation” is under way to determine the circumstances surrounding the escape.

However, high ranking officers took an evasive stance in response to questions posed regarding exactly who is to be blamed for the daring escape of the four prisoners from police custody.

THE NEW TODAY understands that according to the police protocol in place for handling dangerous prisoners, officers from the Special Services Unit (SSU) and the Rapid Response Unit (RRU) must be involved in escorting dangerous prisoners to and from court.

When probed on whether this was being followed when murder accused Date managed to escape lawful custody, Officer in Charge of Crimes, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Vannie Curwen opted to not ventilate the issue in the public domain.

“These are issues that I do not wish to speak about publicly. These are issues that have national (security) implications, and I don’t think it is fair for me to say to the nation and the world what sort of security posturing that goes into the movement of prisoners,” ACP Curwen remarked.

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On Monday, police announced the apprehension of two St. George’s men in connection with the shooting incident at the Vendors Market at Grand Anse and robbery with violence at the Maurice Bishop Highway, St. George last week Friday.

The suspects – Merlique Chiddick, 21 years old, Businessman, of Lucas Street, St. George’s and Camrie Gittens, 20 years old, Vendor, of Tempe, St. George – were not represented when they appeared in court on Monday and are currently on remand at the Richmond Hill Prison.

Grenada has witnessed a record-breaking surge in illegal firearm confiscations, highlighting the challenges faced by law enforcement in addressing gun-related crimes.

In 2023, police recorded a 300% increase in the confiscation of illegal firearms, almost doubling the number of guns impounded for the first six months of 2022.

Statistics show that in 2022 for the first six (6) months, some 16 firearms were confiscated while for 2023 that number for the same period was 31.

Commissioner of Police Don Mc Kenzie noted that addressing the increase in the proliferation of guns and related crimes would require a lot of resources, some which are not within the domain of RGPF.

Opposition Leader Dr. Keith Mitchell has voiced his apprehensions regarding national security, emphasising the necessity for resolute leadership.

Dr. Mitchell, a former National Security Minister, had previously expressed a lack of confidence in the current leadership of the Don McKenzie-led Police Force.

He warned that “this situation is bigger than merely addressing the influx of illegal firearms.”

In a statement issued earlier this week, the ex-Grenadian leader called for strengthening border security, and promoting merit-based promotions within law enforcement.

Dr. Mitchell suggested that by “investing in a robust coast guard, and more screening at our ports, we could secure our borders more effectively, and address the issue of gun importation head-on.”

“Furthermore, the promotion of police officers based on merit and competence, a policy championed during our time in office, should not be ignored at this time. It should be strengthened, followed and improved where needed,” said the Opposition Leader.

“This is not only necessary to boost morale, it’s also about ensuring that our law enforcement is equipped, both in skill and spirit, to face these challenges,” he remarked.

Dr. Mitchell also emphasised the importance of fostering community engagement, and providing constructive alternatives to youth violence.

“Engaging our communities directly in the fight against violence, strengthening our legal frameworks to deter criminal activity, and providing our youth with viable alternatives to violence are critical steps,” he remarked.

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