As the father of a young child, Joseph said: “It is troubling to me that someone could have done such a thing to a child like Tecia Henry.”
“The police and the Special Anti Crime Unit of Trinidad and Tobago (SAUTT) are doing all in their power to bring the perpetrators to justice,” he said.
Joseph added that Acting Police Commissioner James Philbert was “on the ground” in John John assessing the situation to determine what further action needed to be taken. He declined to say whether the circumstances surrounding Tecia’s murder would require measures such as a security lock down or limited state of emergency.
Prime Minister Patrick Manning and Joseph had previously ruled out a limited state of emergency as a strategy to reduce crime. Government officials said Manning kept “a close watch” on current affairs and was aware of the murder.
Earlier in the day, Joseph met with the heads of 24 heads of churches and religious bodies at his Temple Court office on Abercromby Street, Port-of-Spain.
“The aim of the meeting was to have open dialogue with church and religious leaders about the crime situation in the country,” Joseph said in a subsequent statement issued by the ministry.
He said religious leaders have traditionally held tremendous influence and esteem in their respective communities and “are a critical partner in saving communities and individuals from engaging in criminal activities.” The religious leaders agreed to meet within the next two weeks and present Joseph with their anti-crime recommendations.
Meanwhile, the Opposition UNC was outraged by Tecia’s murder.
“It is a tragedy that the Government is unable to protect our people,” Opposition Leader Basdeo Panday said. Siparia MP Kamla Persad-Bissessar asked, “How many more must die? How many more of our children must die?”
Persad-Bissessar, who is a mother and grandmother, said when she learnt of Tecia’s death, “tears came to my eyes.”
“Every mother is feeling that pain today.”