A well loved Trinidad and Tobago HIV activist at the center of the community has been killed in the Port of Spain in Trinidad.
28-year-old Sasha* Alister Patterson ‘was gunned down’ in a cruel attack at the Nelson Mandela Park in St Clair on Tuesday night, according to Newsday.
The Western Division police subsequently arrested two men. However, they could not confirm whether the men were arrested in connection with the murder.
This brings the murder toll in the local area to 20 in the last five days.
Police say the Tobago resident Patterson, was at the park when the men approached him and shot him multiple times.
The park is known locally as a cruising area for both gay men and sex workers.
Residents tell the Trinidad Express they ‘heard several loud explosions’ coming from the part. They also ‘observed a Suzuki motor vehicle speeding away.’
Patterson’s body was then later found in a pile of garbage inside the park.
Trinidad and Tobago activist Jason Jones supplied this picture of Sasha to Gay Star News
Trinidad and Tobago activist Jason Jones knew Patterson. Speaking to Gay Star News he says she was well loved:
‘I first met Sasha when I hosted the Miss Queen of Queens pageant five or six years ago. It’s a huge loss. He was a genuinely lovely person, I feel very deeply for the whole community.’
Jones is currently preparing to take Trinidad and Tobago to court over the country’s ‘buggery’ laws. They make it illegal for men to have gay sex.
‘When I first filed my case I did some HIV training with people in the community. Sasha was trying to develop programs for those in the trans community in Trinidad and Tobago. She was a key person in delivering safe sex messages and community engagement’
‘I fear for my safety in Trinidad and Tobago’
Jones is traveling to Trinidad and Tobago in the new year to fight his case. But has already received over 50 death threats. This has made the murder of his friend, even more close to home.
‘This has set a dark tone as we go into the case in January making my security even more of an issue.
‘As much as talking about the risks and difficulties in a country where we are criminalized is important – the more we do the more the reality of this murder leaves me feeling so scared.’
Jones says he is flying into Trinidad without protection. Because of this murder, he says he now won’t even stay with friends for fear of putting a target on their back.
But I will be going back, this won’t deter me, but I will not be able to stay with friends because I don’t want to be a target that puts them at risk.’
Jones is currently crowdfunding to cover the costs of his travels and court case against the country’s laws.
*Gay Star News understands Sasha identified as a ‘woman living a trans experience’ and we, therefore, refer to Sasha by her chosen name.