Resident labels community  ‘murder hub’ after recent homicide
THE AREA in Buccament Bay, where (Inset) Jovani Baptiste was gunned down
Front Page
September 8, 2023
Resident labels community ‘murder hub’ after recent homicide

A resident of Buccament Bay has described his community as a “murder hub”.

The man, who asked not to identified, was sitting under the gallery of a shop in his neighborhood while he spoke to SEARCHLIGHT. He was commenting following the country’s 37th homicide for 2023 in which a man was gunned down at Buccament Bay around 8 am Thursday.

Dead is a 29-year-old Ottley Hall resident Jovarnie Baptiste. Baptiste, known as “Luche” also carries the moniker “Humble Gasa” on social media and is known to frequent the Rose Place/Bottom Town community.

Baptiste, who celebrated his birthday on May 6 was a labourer employed on the construction site of Sandals Resort at Buccament Bay. He was shot as many as 16 times as he made his way to work. He died on the spot in an area close to the Seventh Day Adventist Primary School.

On Thursday afternoon, one of four men who were at a shop close to where the brazen morning shooting took place said over the past few years, there have been at least three murders in the area and persons seem to be using the vibrancy of the community as a shield to commit murders, hence the reason he used the term “murder hub”.

He said that Baptiste was not from the area and persons are saying that the shadowy figure observed lurking before the shooting is also not from the area.

The resident said that two other homicides linked to the area were those of Edgar “Papa Reid” Reid in 2016 and Luann Roberts in 2022.

On Wednesday, November 16, 2016 community stalwart Edgar “Papa Reid” Reid, a 59-year-old shopkeeper, was shot around 7:40 p.m. at his home and business place, shortly after deciding to turn in for the night.

When police arrived on the scene, they met Reid lying on the ground with gunshot wounds to his head. No one was ever charged for this murder, but persons claim that the killer who robbed Reid was also gunned down a few years later and he was not from the area.

On Sunday, May 1, 2022, at about 9:15 am, the body of Luann Roberts of Harmony Hall, a 41-year-old counsellor at the Family Court was discovered on the rear seat of a motor vehicle in the vicinity of the Buccament Bay Secondary School.

Roberts’ body bore several injuries to the head and on May 3, 2016, Reynold Roberts, a 40-year-old unemployed man of Harmony Hall was charged with her murder.

The Buccament resident who spoke to SEARCHLIGHT on Thursday said outsiders are tarnishing the name of the community that is known for its vibrant night life and beautiful beaches that attract persons from all over the country.

“All sorts of people are here on a regular basis, workers from the resort, persons coming to the beach, persons coming to the restaurants…so seeing a stranger in the area is not really something we pay attention to,” said the resident.

Meanwhile, investigators are asking that persons with information pass it on to them.

The shooting death is the first since the Wednesday July 19 shooting deaths of five men, Lamont “Dutchie” Hector, Dondre Hillocks, Jamal Bobb, Ricky Taylor, and Kashie Primus. The men were gunned down while liming in the Harbour Club area of Kingstown and a EC$50,000 reward is being offered for information into this incident.