A “gross neglect of duty” is how the public safety minister, Steadroy Cutie Benjamin, summed up the situation in which triple murder accused Delano Forbes escaped from the police while out on an operation on Monday.
Up to last night, Forbes was still on the run.
The minister, who is responsible for the police and other law enforcement agencies, said he has asked for a report on how the prisoner, who was shackled, managed to escape and outrun the police. He said he will make the information public.
“I, too, am astonished at what transpired. That’s a sign of gross neglect of duty. I am very concerned about that matter and the public has a right to be concerned. It is unbelievable. What could have possibly happened? The police responsible for that operation really fell down on their duty,” Benjamin said.
Yesterday morning, the minister told Observer media he was expecting the report by midday yesterday, but up to press time last evening, he said he had not received it.
All day yesterday the police, joined by Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force personnel and residents, searched several villages across the country hoping to find the 23-year-old who resided in Swetes up until December when he was arrested and charged.
He’s accused of killing fellow villager Wilfred Bongo Williams, Shawn Henry and Lisue Samuel. All three men were killed last year and the police had said earlier that they found jars of what appeared to be blood at Forbes’ home.
Forbes, a man whom the police calls a serial killer, allegedly jumped off a cliff on Monday while he was being escorted to a scene in his hometown.
A relative of one of Forbes’ alleged victims was the first to alert the media about the development and the police later confirmed it. Many residents were outraged yesterday and they took to social media to criticize the police.
Meanwhile, the deputy commissioner of police, Atlee Rodney said the photograph of Forbes in shackles, which began circulating on social media yesterday, was taken by the police.
He explained that it was taken as part of the investigation in Swetes where Forbes was asked to point out additional things as evidence in one of the cases against him.
The photograph shows the accused dressed in a blue t-shirt, a white and blue floral three-quarter pants and a pair of blue and white shoes.
He was still shackled in the photograph but was not handcuffed. His hands were folded in front of him. The officer said he was not certain who released the photograph, but another officer who did not have permission
to speak with the media, said this was allegedly done to give the public a more precise look at what Forbes looked like when he escaped.
With Forbes on the loose, several parents of school aged children in the area raised concern about their safety.
The Director of Education Clare Browne told Observer media that schools were asked to exercise increased vigilance.