A prison officer was ambushed and killed at his Chaguanas home last night, in what some of his colleagues speculate may have been a hit called from inside the Golden Grove Prison due to an ongoing hunger strike by prisoners.
Police said around 6.15 pm, Sherwin Francis, 48, was at his home at #52 Fossobianco Drive, Oasis Greens, when he heard a knocking on his door. Police said on checking three men jumped him and shot him several times about the body. Francis, who was attached to the Remand Yard at Golden Grove, was taken to the Chaguanas District Health Facility where he succumbed to his injuries.
Speaking with Guardian Media moments after the attack, a prison source who requested anonymity, said his colleagues were shocked over the murder and there were now fears other hits may be planned on others, especially with the disgruntled remand prisoners continuing their hunger strike.
Remand Yard prisoners at both the Maximum Security and Port-of-Spain Prisons started hunger strikes Thursday, following allegations of the abuse of a “high-profile” prisoner by prison and police officers and what they called oppression going on during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a statement disclosing the proposed hunger strike that was released on Wednesday via the social media platform, the prisoners are calling for speedy trials for those accused of murders; reasonable bail for petty offenders; the immediate release of all remanded inmates from Building 13 at the Maximum Security Prison (MSP); clothing and medication requests from their respective family members and a full-scale investigation into the alleged government involvement in obtaining and torturing remanded prisoners housed at building 13 (MSP).
Contacted last night, however, Acting Commissioner of Prisons Dennis Pulchan said he did not want to speculate on the cause of the attack.
“I’m not sure what went on,” Pulchan admitted.
Francis was one of two members of the protective services to be killed between midnight Thursday and yesterday. The murder count for the year now stands at 300.
Homicide officers are looking for an ex-soldier whom they say can assist them in their investigations into the murder of Air Guard officer Osei Morean, who was killed at a house in Gonzales just after midnight Thursday.
According to a police report, at about 12.40 am Morean went to visit a female friend at her home at Pitman Lane and while they were conversing in the verandah of her house, a gunman opened fire on them. The woman managed to run inside the house without sustaining any injuries but Morean was shot. He was taken to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital where he later died.
Guardian Media understands that Morean was a married father of three children.
Preliminary investigations revealed that Morean may have been killed due to the jealousy of a male acquaintance of the woman he was with at the time of the incident.
Colleagues at the T&T Air Guard described him as a “cool, easy-going guy who loves his work.”
“He was a dedicated man. He was fun to be around and was easy going. He was never bothered about anything really in this life,” one of his colleagues who requested anonymity said.
One of Morean’s uncles said he has found no comfort in the crime situation in T&T.
“But the execution-styled murder of my nephew last night was not something I could ever have expected. This is really hard and a tough time.”
Morean’s cousin, who is the deputy mayor of Port-of-Spain Hillan Morean, posted on social media that he wanted “justice to be done, “What value is there in taking the life of another? This news has rocked me. RIP cousin…May justice be done.”
Investigations are ongoing.