PORT OF SPAIN – The eldest brother and three other relatives of People’s National Movement (PNM) political leader candidate Pennelope Beckles-Robinson will appear before an Arima magistrate on Monday to face gun and ammunition charges. On Saturday, Northern Division officers carried out a raid at two houses in the Malabar, Arima and seized an AK-47 assault rifle, a pump action shotgun, a .44 revolver and a .357 revolver, and 72 rounds of assorted ammunition at a house on Swift Avenue, Phase III, Malabar.
At a another house at Cocorico Avenue, Phase III, police said they found 37 rounds of ammunition and seven people were arrested there. Police said search warrants were executed at both houses after months of surveillance. The arresting officers conducted a news briefing at the Arima Police Station on Saturday where they displayed the cache of arms and ammunition. They confirmed that one of the houses was owned by Beckles-Robinson’s relative.
Police charged the suspects from Swift Avenue yesterday afternoon with the possession of firearms and ammunition. Officers said up to late last night, the suspects were all being charged and processed and were not released on bail. One of the suspects has also worked on Beckles-Robinson’s campaign. The other seven suspects in the Cocorico Avenue home will also be appearing in court charged with possession of ammunition.
Northern Division Senior superintendant David Abraham on Saturday commended the officers for their diligent work. Within the past few years, the community has been described as a major “hot spot.” A quantity of firearms and ammunition have been seized at various houses during a crackdown in crime exercise in the Arima district.
Beckles-Robinson will come up against the incumbent political leader of the PNM, Dr Keith Rowley in the party’s May 18 internal elections. At a meeting on Saturday night at Sangre Grande, Beckles-Robinson confirmed that her eldest brother, his wife, nephew and sister-in-law’s brother were arrested on Saturday afternoon at a raid on a Malabar home.
Pennelope Beckles-Robinson, in her response at a political meeting at Foster Road, Sangre Grande, hours after her relatives were taken into custody, told the audience that: “it was very unfortunate and they are being investigated for arms and ammunition. Today has been a very difficult day for my family. The truth is these things do happen and it is the time we are very distraught and when your courage is tested the most.” She said her eldest brother, his wife, nephew and sister-in-law’s brother were arrested on Saturday at a raid on a Malabar home.
But Beckles-Robinson, a lawyer, said she believes in the justice system and is hoping for a speedy investigation. “I have faith in our criminal justice system. I want the best possible investigation to take place and simply let the police do their work. Of course as a sister and aunt, you understand the challenges we all face,” she said. Beckles-Robinson said last week she addressed the same issue of guns coming into the country and borders not being protected.
“There is no one immune from crime and it can come home to anyone of us and not a single person is immune from crime. Little did I know three days later … it would come to my front step. We all have to have faith in the judicial process and let the police do their work and all I expect is a proper investigation and speedy investigation and we can take it from there,” Beckles-Robinson said. (The Trinidad Guardian).