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Man reported planting the bomb before it exploded

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July 13 Port of Spain Trinidad: A secretary working with United National Congress UNC) senator Robin Montano reported that shortly before Monday’s explosion in Port-of-Spain, a man went into a store on Frederick Street and said he had just planted a bomb. He made his secretary’s report public while speaking at the UNC’s Monday night forum at Siparia.

Montano said he did not come to make a “razzle-dazzle” speech, but was still in shock at the stark reality that “terrorism had finally come to town.”

Montano, a lawyer, has chambers on Abercromby Street, Port-of-Spain.

He said his secretary had gone to Frederick Street when she saw a man admitting that he had just planted a bomb.

Montano said she escaped injury when the explosion occurred.

“The bomb went off about two and a half blocks away from my office,” he said.

“My secretary was on Frederick Street and she told me that she was in a store when a man came in and said he had just planted a bomb outside.

“Then the next thing she heard was a loud explosion.”

It is uncertain whether the secretary went to the police to make a report.

Several attempts were made to contact her at Montano’s chambers but another secretary said she had gone out.

Montano said yesterday that his secretary had not gone to make a report to the police because she did not want to get involved.

He said she was scared.

At the Monday night meeting, Montano said the country must reflect on who did the act, and why.

“A terrorist is a rational creature. That person came out with a particular purpose in mind,” he said.

He also agreed with his UNC colleagues that a local terrorist group might have been behind the incident.

Montano said Prime Minister Patrick Manning planned on calling a general election in December.

He called on supporters to send a clear message to Manning that they would not tolerate spiralling crime and terrorism.

Montano said the first step to overthrowing the PNM was to win the San Francique East/Siparia South local government seat.

UNC candidate Christie Ann Rogers-Deonarine is contesting the seat.

Meanwhile blast victim Lennard Holdip yesterday told National Security Minister Martin Joseph what it felt like to be blown up.

“I thought a transformer blow, but I didn’t see any smoke. When I looked down I see a whole chunk of my leg gone,” 66-year-old Holdip said from his bed at Port-of-Spain General Hospital.

Holdip was one of four people who remained hospitalised after Monday’s explosion at the corner of Frederick and Queen streets, Port-of-Spain.

Joseph also visited other victims—Nicole Cassie, Darren Andel and Wilfred Junior.

Cassie spoke to Joseph for about 30 seconds, and then went back to sleep.

Head nurse at Ward 14 Barbara Holder said Cassie’s condition was satisfactory.

Andel, another victim, whispered to the minister. His words were barely audible. He seemed to have strength only to move his toes, and he slumped to his bed every time he tried to sit up.

A few other patients in Ward 14 surrounding Andel and Cassie beckoned Joseph to view their injuries. They were not among the eight other people injured by the blast, who were discharged by yesterday morning.

Joseph said he did not want his visit to the patients to be viewed as a public relations move, saying he was there to sympathise with the victims.

He said all healthcare costs for those injured would be taken care of.

“After hearing their stories, you have to thank God it wasn’t worse,” Joseph said.

He said investigations into the blast were ongoing.

Joseph was accompanied by acting Sr Supt Errol Denoon, Insp Peter Grant and other police officers. After leaving the hospital, he also visited Yvonne McIvor at the Community Hospital of the Seventh-day Adventists in Cocorite.

McIvor’s leg was amputated after the blast.

After Monday’s incident, Holdip was coming to terms with his injuries. He said the experience was life-altering.

Pointing to his bandaged leg, the pensioner said, “This is something I will never forget. A whole half of my foot have 18 to 20 stitches in it…God alone knows.”

 

 

 

 

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