Corruption, Cocaine and Murder in Trinidad

Published on May 20, 2014

Around midnight on May 3, Dana Seetahal, a prominent attorney and former senator in Trinidad and Tobago, had just left a casino in the capital of Port of Spain when her vehicle was stopped by another car blocking the road. A van pulled up alongside and let loose a burst of gunfire, killing her in a well orchestrated hit.

Her murder was one of approximately 170 that have occurred in the Caribbean nation so far this year, putting it on course for one of the highest murder rates in the world. The country saw only 93 murders in 1999. Last year, there were 407.

VICE News visited the slums of Port of Spain and spoke with police, activists, community leaders, and gangsters to understand the country’s decade-plus spike in killings. Many of the murders are attributed to ruthless and politically connected street gangs who control territories that are sometimes no larger than a city block. The gangs fight over lucrative government contracts meant to provide social services and combat unemployment.

But gang violence is merely a symptom of a bigger problem. Trinidad has become an important stop for drugs headed to West Africa and the United States. Many observers point to “the big fish” — the nameless political and business elites who are behind drug trafficking and the culture of endemic corruption and murder that come with it. They are accused of turning a country rich in oil and gas deposits into their own personal narco-state, fostering impunity through a web of bribes and murders. Unlike the profits from the energy industry, however, this phenomenon trickles all the way down to the street level.


13 thoughts on “Corruption, Cocaine and Murder in Trinidad”

  1. Very insightful video. What was interesting is Imam Abu Bakr claimed to be Minister of National security prior to the coup, even taking credit for the low murder rate back then. The police and everyone else point to the attempted coup as being the cause for runaway crime. Eight six of Abu’s trained criminals were unleashed in the nation. Abu plan was simply work with Manning to kidnapped and kill indian businessmen. Over 300 was kidnapped and murdered during the Manning years.

  2. Yes Mamoo yes….and the ones left out of the 300 were allowed, carte blanche, to import, transship and distribute narcotics and guns. I mean they have the capital to do so.

  3. Mamoo, do really believe the things you say (write), or is it that you always have to try and pull down everyone who is not an ‘Indian?’

    Name ten (10) of your 300 kidnapped and murdered ‘Indian’ businessmen. And while your are it, name the person who was charged for the first of your 300 kidnappings.

  4. Excellent logic Mamboo, that ,as we can see , are echoed, by your frustrated, Couva North MP Romona Ramdial.

    Now, seeing that the kidnapping , and murders of Indians ,haven’t stopped since 2010, and the Imams, are even more powerful presently, during the Kamla era, who do we blame for the criminality? Please don’t incur my wrath, by insulting our intelligence , with finger pointing ,at PNM past regimes.–from-Govt-259746681.html

    As to this pro Islamist subject , it’s something that always had me a bit perplex, but maybe Capildeo god son , the insightful Mamboo, might better explain it.
    The ULF/ UNC , was created by Shah, and Basdeo, a Muslim , and Hindu, if I am not mistaken. East Indians ,make up some 35 % or less ,of our population. Half of that figure , is split evenly , between ardent Muslim, and Hindu worshipers.
    Throughout T&T , you might have at least 500 ,Muslim of African descents-including children-,and they are free to worship in any Mosque across their country, and yet, the public is daily bombarded ,in the media , with news from two ,or three Mosques, that has a disproportionate amount of African folks . Just why is that so? Are we to conclude that the Indian Muslims, don’t share the same mindset, as Abu Bkar, and his successor Mr Ali?
    Even worst yet, do you think ,local Islamist radicals , would rather listen to , and follow the directive of their own, or instead ,Trini ,Afro Neo Christian leaders , such as Manning,or Rowley?
    Even a pimple face 18 year old UWI sociology student, would figure out by now , that Africans , have consistently allowed themselves , to be used to further the interest of others, then discarded like an old bone by Butcher Ramsingh, or Bernard , at the Tunapuna meat market.
    Ohh, and did anyone say Abu Bakr has five wives , in non polygamous T&T,and the ex husband of the late Ms.Naipaul ,of Extra Foods, sure looks shady?

    I’ve said it before , but it’s worth repeating folks – tribalism would be the downfall of this country.
    What is beyond comical , but more so , leans towards idiocy, is the futile attempts, by fanatical mouth pieces, like this Mayaro drunk Mamboo, to ‘throw wool over our eyes,’with hocus pocus reasoning.
    His government had ample chances, to pop Coup leader ,Yasin Abu Bakr neck-when they were in power -at the same time their morally bankrupt AG ,Ramesh Lawrence Maraj, his personal lawyer , was conveniently popping the neck of one of his other criminal clients, but do we know why this was not done?
    There is a good reason , as to why all level headed folks ,should simply rebuff , any ludicrous attempts, to shift the blame of runaway crimes , in T&T , to only African people , and here it is :-
    Whether it’s sexual relationship ,foods, art, Politics , or as we are presently discussing,crimes ,Trinidadians , with few exceptions ,have united ,when necessary, to push their own ,respective self interest.
    If you doubt me,then explain 28%, and rising Dougla/mix race population, the coming into being ,of the PP Alliance government.
    Explain the fact that 90% of the major kidnappings, and violence on Indo Trinis , has some inside , connections, whereby ,one or more family members , paid a low end , simi literate African creatures,a few Dollars, to do the job. Speaking of which- how is that Xtra Foods heiress murder case -the late Dana was working on before she too was brutally murdered – coming along?
    The reality is , that many of the other major criminal acts, that are taking place throughout our nations , would not be possible , without elements on both side , playing a role.
    It therefore means ,that ending crimes in T&T, does not require expensive , Yankee armored vehicles, nor more white , foreign security experts, or worse yet, unqualified party hacks , with no concept of para military security.
    It won’t end , if we continue to look over our shoulders, like Lots Wife.
    For the record, our hands are all dirty, and no , it’s not only Indians , and Africans, are the culprits. Desperate Immigrants, ex pats, Euro Whites,East/South East Asians,Africans, Latinos,and Middle Eastern blokes ,have all contributed to the social quagmire , we appear to be stuck in.

    Honest appraisals must be made about socio economic realities in our country. We must then decide as a collective, what is our end game, when it comes to crime , security, and social development of this resource laden ,Twin Isle Republic.
    Say No to selectively outrage, limbo /tassa whining dancers!
    Say Yes to visionary leadership, and progressive initiatives, aimed at Equal playing field Justice , Peace, and Security, si?
    I luv this land!

  5. To all the detractors the PP has delivered in a wonderful way. In my area and amongst my family members everyone is employed. Every boy, girl, old man, old lady for the first time since independence is employed. This was not so under the PNM, where unemployment was the order of the day. Employment for the first time is 100% in my area. The PM has delivered in a very big way. Thanks PP, crime is almost non-existent, people are too busy working.

    1. Mamoo, sometimes I believe that you must be getting paid by the amount of contributions you put out. Most of what you write are contrary to reality and that wonderful you paint in the eyes of the PP can only be found in dreamland. Most people air heartfelt contributions that they hope will enlighten or notify others on how they view life in T&T, but you like Anil and Anand are telling us about a T&T the 99% of the people don’t know. Please come down to earth and live with us here, where we can tell you of our sufferings and heartaches that your dreamland government put us through.

    2. Are you kidding me. She has delivered to you and your family thank God. Maybe you are related to Kamla why your whole family is employed.I think you need to get more facts about your own country before publishing nonsense are you being paid to write this crap. Trinidad is in a terrible state of “MURDER AS YOU GO” It is where I came from and I refuse to visit. Let’s talk about that. The murders that are not solved because of the corrupted system who is in power now it sure is not PNM. My dear beloved brother got killed 4 years ago who was responsible for that? no one knows no one cares was it really the men that got killed for this terrible crime. Or was it other people of interest and that too got pushed under the rug. My brother served this country for 40 years and still no justice for his death. You need to shut up and stop writing!

  6. MAMOO,

    The last sentence of your contribution has caught my attention and I do hope that all business owners and State-run institutions will take action that may hopefully alleviate some of senseless crimes being perpetrated in this twin-island Nation.


    1. If people are busy working they don’t have the time to idle around and get involved in crime. Most of them leave early from work and are back home late. They have money and a sense of worth so there is no need to get involve in anything that is unsavoury.

      In high crime areas there are just too many unemployed and hanging out at the “block” plotting something.

  7. I feel your pain ‘Sistaz Claudette Ross,’ as you wish you were standing next to this Trollogian bum Mamboo, to punch him in his nose , for more , typical,’ cyberneric stupidity.’
    Problem is , you are scared , as hell,to make your opinions clear, since that could mean that another unqualified, neo tribal , PP party hack,might replace you, or your entire department eliminated , because they traced your comments, back to that Government office computer, of yours.
    Don’t worry, I can tell who you voted for ,in 2010, and why, as my late , extremely wise , Tobago Granny would say, you “…won’t be caught dead ,” making the same mistake again in 2015.
    Hopefully the strategists, and political handlers of our Auntie K, are wiser than this simi literate fan , in Mayaro , by way of Berbice River, Mamboo, for if they choose to put excellent job growth/full employment in T&T, on any slogan for reelection, then they are doomed, before they even begin the race.
    Thank you very much , said Uncle Rowley ,to Papa Niza ,for I don’t need your , for this 2015 political cake walk. Yep, I am de antithesis of that delusional , vindictive Patios Manning, ..ummm …good riddance!
    Well , I take that back , for arrogance , tend to be a hard quality to loose.
    The PP lost on Chagurnas , because they tried to demonize Jack Warner , as some rabid , African, anti Kamla, ungrateful crook, when savvy / politically sophisticated Chagurnas folks ,knew otherwise . Can’t love him when he is our White color bandit, but hate him now that he choose to give his onetime leader , and UNC cabal ,the middle finger.
    They lost in Tobago, after first, lambasting the THA officials as corrupt , then not too subtly implying ,that all Tobagonians , are somehow ,anti Indian racists, because an over zealous , unimportant political Bozo called Tobago Sandy Councilor, made a stupid , insensitive, ill advised Calcutta comment.
    Rule number one in politics , or any grand business , change ventures , Auntie K-‘ never try to burn down a bridge , unless, you have something better , to replace it with.’
    They lost in St Joseph, when their leader avoided the chance to get on a meaningful platform ,so as to defend her government track record, and lay down ,possible future plans for the country, but instead ,opted to hide behind obvious, neo racists lines,of -anti ‘Split Vote,’ pro continuity nonsense.
    Won’t work , Auntie K , when you have a beloved , vibrant, more effective candidate , like Mr Terrance Deyalsingh , around. Sorry Auntie K, the folks without running water , and other basic infrastructure, in Mt Hope St Joseph, don’t care if your Monsterrat boy Volney , was an incompetent judge,or bad legislator.They want representation, and their voices heard in Parliament.
    We’ll see.

    Tell you what, I never thought ,I would say it, but I am bigining to like this Mamboo guy, and so,’ me think ,’is Papa Rowley , and his camp, if they are smart enough to pay attention , to what we say here, re affairs of state,on Trini Center Nation.
    Mamboo, via his paltry efforts of over the top humor, and simi plausible logic,has provided a useful barometer for me , and I am certain , well meaning others, to better understand , the bitter complexities of life in T&T, as we all try to make a difference.
    Hey PP, with friends like Mamboo, who needs enemies?
    Luv humanity people , but more importantly, forget the tribe,for to do otherwise , can have dire consequences!
    Trust me on that.

  8. They can pretend that the identity of the person in the video may or may not be the sports minister as long as they want to, but that does not change the price of cocoa. Those with eyes to see and ears to hear know it is Anil Roberts and while he can be prejudicial in acknowledging the truth to us the public, he cannot hide the fact that it is him to his wife and close relatives. Kamla can also pretend as much as she wants to. On one hand take away the Sports Life Programme from Anil and on the next say the PNM is to blame for the video, as much as she wants but the fact of the matter it is Anil and those who saw it know it is him period!

  9. Yep Kian , I for one , would like to get the reactions to this, from the now, politically irrelevant, moral fraudsters COP. There silence is deafening, when they were loudly demanding the dead penalty, for both high testosterone MP boys , Kelvin, and Pundit Shama, after their public meltdowns.
    The fundamental questions to ask is this Kian:-1.Is the PP government adopting the PNM policy ,of supporting criminal gangs , posing as community activist/ pro empowerment groups?
    2.What is the real fascination with Anil Roberts,AG Anan Rammy,and former Tin Pan Soldier , turned National Security, top dog? That fast talking , do noting Griffith guy, might just be the worst of her experiments, for the top post when it comes to skyrocketing crimes, and yet , she is placing more work on his plate, when Trinis , are hoping the PP , would import a Minister of National Security from Australia , or Norway, to replace , yet another clueless political bozo.
    The overrated , un-electable , AG Rammy,even with all of his fatal, legal missteps,might only get fired by the dear lady , if it is revealed that he just robbed, a high end , car import salesman from Bamboo, of his two expensive Rovers, then drive one at 100 miles along the PBR, where he knocked down and killed , a young , poor child, from Bangladesh squatting settlement, St Joseph.
    As for Anil? Since you ,and others , much smarter than yours truly, are convinced, he is an out of control weedhead , and or crack addict, when did the PM , realize he had a Bill Clinton problem- whereby they both smoke , but do not, inhale?
    Political animal , as I am , it’s up to me Kian, to explain the prevailing social realities, for the uninitiated. Here are the facts:-1. Leaders , and government, whose aims are to over reach , and trample upon basic peoples rights , thus getting them antagonize , needs a strong , loyal military , at their side.Hence the disaster waiting to happen, in Uncle Griffy.
    Not only is Anil a COP, but he represents , a major , swing vote base,where the fastest rising group, according to our censors, are of mixed race. Translation-She ain’t touching him with a 10ft Pole, unless , suddenly castigated Ag Commissioner of Police Williams, can produce , a clear photo, identifying Cuz Anil , as one of the UZi / Glock carrying ,shooters of our late ,local, legal luminary hero,Auntie Danna Setahal , in Woodbrook.
    When it comes to one time COP , turned UNC opportunist Rammy, we might have to ask his wife, who might be willing to divulge secrets.
    As a good , honest Christian , she was taught quite early by those Catholic Nuns ,to ,’Speak the truth, and speak it ever. Cost it what it will. For he who hides the wrong he did, did the wrong thing still.’
    Seriously Kian, ‘me think,’ it is now established , that you, and a few others ,are indulging in , not too subtle , cyber bigotry. Why else, would you require our first female Hindu PM , to commit ‘political suicide,’whereby she must eliminate, not one , but 2 , and even 3 more Cabinet members , so close to an election? For the record Kian, Coalitions, Alliances, and such hodgepodge political concoctions, are generally weak, and extremely difficult to manage ,as the smaller fractions , often holds most of the power.
    Please for the love of your White , Sky heaven, revengeful/all forgiving, blue eyed god , leave your ultra popular PM alone.She has a snap, or maybe not so snap election to win, hmmmm?
    I luv dis land!

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