Friday, January 07, 2005

The LA Times had an article on Jan 2 basically saying that Trinidad and Tobago had a kidnapping rate second only to Colombia.
They talked about the Vijay Persad "kidnapping". They talked about police corruption and collusion with the kidnappers. They linked Trinidad gangs to Al-Quaeda. They even discussed the racism implicit in the choice of victims. What they didn't do was look at the statistics that the Minister in the Ministry of National Security showed on a local TV station.

But I sent them some comments. Here's part of what I wrote.

The Vijay Persad kidnapping was a part of a robbery of the grocery store. They held the child to force his father to open the safe. When he refused they fled with the child. To quote the local newspaper - "if you don't give us the money we will take your son" - he didn't give them the $$ and they took the child. This was not a pre-meditated kidnapping for ransom. The child wandered into the grocery while the robbery was in progress.

Many of the other "kidnappings" are related to car-jackings and robberies where the victim refuses to give up the car, for example, and is taken along with it. Does this count as kidnapping by definition? In Trinidad and Tobago, abduction of any kind is called kidnapping, whether for rape, ransom, accident, etc. When a child is abducted from school in the US is this automatically considered kidnapping? The terminology needs to be clarified. Considering the Vijay Persad case, since there has been no credible ransom demand - would this be a kidnapping?

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