Police investigating the double murder of Richard and Grace Wheeler have uncovered some “promising leads”, and Chief Secretary Orville London is hoping they will be able to solve the matter soon.
London made the comments at today’s (October 21, 2015) media briefing at the Administrative Complex, Calder Hall.
The couple were found dead yesterday (October 20) at their home in Carnbee, Tobago. London has since spoken to the ACP (Garfield Moore, head of the Tobago Police Division) to get an update on the matter. In a sober statement, London said a team led by Tobago-born ACP Vincel Edwards, is working alongside Tobago’s officers to bring a “speedy conclusion” to the investigations.
“The latest reports are that they have some promising and encouraging leads,” London told the media, “and I am hopeful that they would be able to bring the perpetrator to justice in the shortest possible time. That, of course, will bring little relief to the family and friends of the victims, but I think that all of us have a stake in ensuring that this perpetrator is brought to justice. ”
Crime Stoppers is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction associated with the killings.
“This is an incentive,” London said of the reward, “but I think as Tobagonians, persons resident in Tobago, we don’t need an incentive to do the right thing. So that anybody who has information has a responsibility to ensure that that information is brought to the attention of the police.
“Individuals (who commit acts) like this don’t deserve our sympathy, don’t deserve our empathy, don’t deserve our cooperation, and we have a responsibility to ourselves and our own protection to make sure that we give the police any information which we consider relevant. I prefer that they getting too much information rather than somebody is out there with information that is relevant and is either too scared or two indifferent to make that information available to the police.”
London said the incident reinforces the need for more community policing, and closer ties between police and residents, who can assist the police in investigations.
The Chief Secretary stated that public uproar is understandable give the “horrendous and senseless” nature of the crime, which makes people feel “a bit more vulnerable”. He is confident, though, that once the motive behind the killings is revealed, it will reduce the speculation surrounding the tragedy.
“I do not believe the (crime) situation (in Tobago) is one that is alarming but it has changed,” London acknowledged. “Even though we do not have a criminal environment, there are criminal elements in Tobago. And therefore we have to operate as though there are criminal elements in Tobago. That is being realistic.
“Therefore whether it is the resident or the visitor, you have to exercise the relevant vigilance in the circumstances. We must strive to ensure we keep it like that, that the Tobago environment is not an environment in which the criminal element can flourish.”
London also provided an update on the tourism-oriented policing initiative, which the Assembly has been requesting for years. He said ACP Moore has informed him that training for the initiative should start next week and 20 officers—including the bicycle patrol—will be involved. The initiative will be launched in November.
The Chief Secretary is also hoping that Central Government will treat the Police Bill sent to Cabinet during a previous administration as urgent, especially given the unique nature of Tobago and the greater relevance of community policing on the island compared to other parts the country.