The well-known radio personality was pulling out of his driveway in Santa Cruz when a gunman approached the car and shot him at least three times in the chest, according to the Trinidad Express. The gunman was accompanied by two other men. Welch lost control of his vehicle, ran off the road and crashed into a wall upon being shot.
“We urge the authorities to complete a thorough investigation into his killing in order to determine if he was killed in connection with his reporting,” said Margaux Ewen, Director of RSF’s North America bureau.
Welch had worked for a number of radio stations throughout his career, including Power102 FM, and specialized in national current affairs on the island. According to one of RSF’s sources, his reporting was known to make politicians feel uncomfortable, and he had a reputation for seeking recourse in court against his opponents. He emboldened his listeners and colleagues to do the same. Welch made headlines in April 2017 after successfully winning a defamation lawsuit against his colleagues at More 104.7 FM, who had accused him of being a homosexual among other claims.
Welch’s death is not the only instance of violence against journalists in Trinidad and Tobago in recent years. In September 2017, multiple photojournalists were physically assaulted while on a reporting assignment involving a local oil company.
Trinidad and Tobago ranks 39th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2018 World Press Freedom Index, after dropping five places last year.
EDITORS NOTE: We have updated this press release as we continue to follow this story.