HomeNewsBriefTrinidad Gangs in Violent Dispute Over Govt Contracts
BRIEF

Trinidad Gangs in Violent Dispute Over Govt Contracts

CARIBBEAN / 22 AUG 2013 BY CHARLES PARKINSON EN

A Trinidad crime boss and his 600-strong gang are reportedly behind a recent flare up of violence on the island as they compete with rivals for lucrative government contracts, highlighting the deep penetration of gangs into Caribbean civic life.

The unnamed gang leader, linked to controversial Muslim organization Jamaat al Muslimeen, controls 21 "clips" (local gang factions) -- some of which are exclusively Muslim -- operating in the troubled eastern and southern parts of the capital, Port of Spain, reported the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian.

According to an anonymous source consulted by the newspaper, a recent escalation in violence in eastern Port of Spain is being driven by the battle for community development contracts. Earlier this week 90 people were detained in police raids on the area, following six gang-related homicides within 24 hours.

From January to mid-August 2013, Port of Spain saw 236 homicides, reported the Trinidad Express.

InSight Crime Analysis

The links between gang activity and Jamaat al Muslimeen have existed for decades in Trinidad and Tobago, with this current leader characterized as the heir to Michael Guerra, a prominent crime boss and member of the Islamic organization who was assassinated in 2003.

Jamaat al Muslimeen is known to be involved in criminal activities but has also operated in the political realm, and was responsible for an attempted coup in 1990. Its members have also benefitted from government schemes, with Guerra reported to have earned up to $23,000 per month from an unemployment relief program.

The ability of criminal organizations to win contracts for community work seems to be related not only to corruption but also from government efforts to award such schemes to "community leaders." Throughout the Caribbean, the lines between criminal groups and community organizations are often blurred. In the absence of an effective state presence, such groups can be the only source of effective justice and social services for the communities where they operate, and as a result crime bosses themselves become a form of community leader. 

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.

Tags

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 / 20 MAR 2015

A top-level prosecutor in the Dominican Republic said the military and police are involved in 90 percent of organized crime…

CARIBBEAN / 19 AUG 2020

The Dominican Republic’s new president has put police reform at the top of his security priorities, marking just the latest…

CARIBBEAN / 10 SEP 2012

Aerial surveys by the US Military’s Southern Command show that drug traffickers are shifting back to Caribbean sea routes in…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Guatemala Social Insecurity Investigation Makes Front Page News

10 DEC 2021

InSight Crime’s latest investigation into a case of corruption within Guatemala's social security agency linked to the deaths of patients with kidney disease made waves in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…