HomeNewsBriefTrinidad and Tobago Declares Drug War Emergency
BRIEF

Trinidad and Tobago Declares Drug War Emergency

CARIBBEAN / 23 AUG 2011 BY ELYSSA PACHICO EN

The Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago, less than 10 miles from the coast from Venezuela, declared a temporary "state of emergency" in light of concerns over increased drug-related violence.

The emergency measures, which will impose a curfew in six crime "hotspots" (see map below), will last 15 days, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said Sunday. Police will be able to make arrests without charges and hold the detainees for up to 24 hours without bail. Detainees may be held for up to 72 hours if police say they are suspected gang members.·

Trinidad and Tobago has one of the fastest growing murder rates in the Caribbean: homicides rose nearly 400 percent over the past decade. So far this year the island has registered 264 murders; many of them believed to be related to the drug trade. The government moved to declare emergency rule after a spate of murders over the weekend left 11 people dead.·

Most of the trouble spots identified by the government are located on the island's west coast, the favored landing area for go-fast boats arriving from Venezuela. According to the U.S. State Department, drug shipments from Venezuela and other Caribbean islands usually arrive in Trinidad and Tobago via small cargo fishing boats, known as pirogues. Security forces on the island do a poor job of screening maritime traffic, and as a result large-scale cocaine busts are rare: cocaine interdiction actually dropped 49 percent from 2009, according to U.S. statistics.

Trinidad and Tobago is also located outside the Caribbean's hurricane belt, meaning during the summer months drug traffickers have an easier time transporting their wares by boat to the island, instead of other transhipment points located further north.


View Trinidad and Tobago in a larger map.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

CARIBBEAN / 30 SEP 2013

Police in the Bahamas have recovered $4 million of marijuana in a week, amid growing calls in the Caribbean for…

EL AZUL / 28 FEB 2014

The US Treasury has added an alleged Sinaloa Cartel member linked to drug lord Juan Jose "El Azul" Esparragoza Moreno…

BOLIVIA / 12 MAY 2014

Authorities in Bolivia have identified three trafficking routes used to transport drugs from Peru to Brazil by land and water,…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.