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Councillors back taxi-men

TWO councillors attended yesterday’s protest at the Croisee, San Juan by Aranguez taxi drivers angry at the murder of their colleague Baliram Balgobin.

Balgobin, 55, was murdered on Thursday by bandits who stole his car.

Calling for CCTV cameras, a police presence and an alteration to a bus shed to stop bandits hiding inside it, the taxi drivers vowed to shut down their stand indefinitely from 6 am yesterday until their pleas were heard.

United National Congress (UNC) councillor for San Juan East Safraz Ali said Balgobin, the father of three, was shot in the head and died in the road in front of the councillor’s roadway, Ali Drive, Aranguez.

“Crime is out of control. The authorities are incompetent or oblivious, or just can’t handle it,” Ali hit out.

Angry at the Ministry of National Security, he specifically called for better CCTV cameras.

“I was told the existing cameras are functioning but outdated. I’m not sure of their quality. If we had better-quality cameras we could identify the perpetrators.

“We hope the authorities, the Ministry of National Security, could review the issue of monitoring and surveillance so as to give the Police Service real-time CCTV information to deter crime and identify perpetrators and catch them.”

Otherwise, Ali hailed local police for recently holding a town meeting.

Aranguez/Warner Village councillor Amit Sooknanan of the UNC lamented the area’s crime rate, saying two other taxi drivers had been victims of crime in the past week. He added, “This morning a passenger pulled out a knife and threatened a driver.”

Sookanan said that at a police town meeting a month ago in Aranguez Community Centre, Balgobin had been one of several residents calling for more police protection for taxi drivers.

“I was raised in Aranguez and know these gentlemen like uncles. I’m not satisfied with the authorities. This act of murder must not happen again. “What will happen to local businesses and passengers if these taxi drivers decide to leave this job to work elsewhere?”

Saying Baliram was an ex-soldier, Sookanan said, “Is this what you get for serving your country?”

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