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Trinidad & Tobago PM Keith Rowley is facing a challenge with rising crime rates. (Photo Credit: Sean Drakes/CON)

By NAN Contributor

News Americas, PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, Fri. Mar. 24, 2016: Crime continues to escalate in the Caribbean island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago which has now recorded a whopping 104 murders in the 84 days of the New Year, up from 99 last week, March 18th.

Among the murders shocking the nation recently was the killing of 30-year-old visiting Japanese pannist, Asami Nagakiya. Her body, still clad in the costume she wore to Carnival Tuesday, was found under a tree in the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, on Ash Wednesday. An autopsy indicated the 30-year-old pannist who often visited Trinidad and Tobago for Carnival and played with the local PCS Nitrogen Silver Stars Pan Orchestra when she was in the country, was strangled.

The murder of Nagakiya, who was in Trinidad for Carnival, prompted the Japanese Embassy to issue a warning to its nationals visiting the twin-island republic advising them to take measures to ensure their safety, given the increase in crime in the country in recent years. The Japanese Embassy alerted its nationals to the incident and urged them to take caution in Trinidad, particularly at night.

The Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) insists “crime is the principal threat to visitors.”

Also stunning nationals are the murders of teenage schoolboys – Denelson Smith, 17, and Mark Richards, 16, in Laventille on January 21st and Stephan Singh and Daniel Halls, both 16, in St Augustine on February 23rd.

Trinidad and Tobago, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has said urgent action is being taken to deal with the “unacceptable murder rate” but has not elaborated on the specifics.

Trinidad & Tobago has been grappling with crime in recent years, recording 410 murders last year or a per capita murder rate of 31 per 100,000 people. The murder rate for T&T is approximately 35.3 per 100,000 inhabitants according to the 2014 United Nations and World Health Organization Global Status Report on Violence Prevention, reflecting the tenth highest murder rate in the world.

The murder rates for previous years according to OSAC are as follows:

403 murders in 2014
407 murders in 2013
379 murders in 2012
352 murders in 2011
473 murders in 2010 out of a population of approximately 1.3 million people.

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