Muslimeen URP official gunned down
Posted: Tuesday, March 25, 2003
MARK GUERRA, alias Abdul Halil, 35, the main suspect in the 1989 shooting at a car transporting former First Lady Zalayhar Hassanali around the Queen’s Park Savannah, was gunned down in Wallerfield around 6.10 pm on Sunday. His bullet riddled body was discovered in a forested area known as Block Three. MORE
Cops brace for gang war
POLICE are bracing for a new upheaval in gangland violence in the Port of Spain area as a backlash to the murder of Mark Guerra. The Libya-trained Guerra was a man described as the "Laventille Don" and a senior member of the Jamaat-al-Muslimeen.
However, he was in New York during the Jamaat's 1990 attempted coup.
Guerra, a paid adviser to the Unemployment Relief Programme of Foster Road, John John, East Port of Spain, was gunned down in Wallerfield on Sunday night by three men who opened fire on him with an automatic rifle believed to be an AK-47. MORE
Guerra suspect in several murders
By Express Reporter
MARK GUERRA grew to national prominence last year in the run-up to the general elections when he emerged as a "community leader" of the east Port of Spain and John John areas and campaigned for the People's National Movement in marginal constituencies along with political leader Patrick Manning. His profile was further heightened when he became instrumental in the signing of a truce between warring gang factions at the Jamaat-al-Muslimeen.
After the PNM took office, he was one of the men who secretly met with Prime Minister Patrick Manning, on the PM's request to discuss ways of reducing gang murders in East Port of Spain and Laventille last November.
Before that meeting however, he was part of a contingent that had met with Manning to complain about the appointment of former Flying Squad officers as administrators of the URP.
Soon afterwards, the appointments of the ex-police officers were withdrawn and Guerra was appointed national advisor to URP manager Kenneth Collis.
Guerra, 42, was a father of 13 and who had several wives and lived in a sprawling multi-storey house near the John John towers, overlooking east Port of Spain.
He was the head of the "Council of Community Leaders" and was well known for the influence he wielded over youths in his area.
Police say Guerra was a gang leader who was a prime suspect in several high profile contract killings and other illegal activities. His name was called several times at the recently aborted Dhanraj Singh murder trail. He was also believed to be involved in the 1989 shooting of the President's official car. The President's wife, Zalayhar Hassanali, was in the car at the time.
It is believed that Guerra, who described himself as a farmer, was behind several ghost gangs in the URP and NHA refurbishing project where he earned over $150,000 per month.
In addition to his $1 million Seven Series BMW, Guerra also owned a $250,000 SUV and a multi-storey house in John John in addition to several other properties.
In November 2001, Guerra and four others were freed on charges of attempting to murder Dennis Chambers. Police link him to over 12 murders.
Guerra was a member of the Jamaat Al Muslimeen for 25 years and part of the group that went to Libya before the July 1990 coup where he trained and was qualified as an "excellent" marksman.
However, in 1989, Guerra left Trinidad and went to New York where police say he controlled a major drug block in the Brooklyn area.
In 1993 Guerra came back to Trinidad after falling-out with a rival Jamaican gang.
On his return to Trinidad police say Guerra made his way to the top of the underworld and cemented his position as a gang leader.
By late 1999, Guerra had gained control over the URP in the Sea Lots region. At the time of his murder, he had become the most influential manager in the URP.
Manning hopes shooting death of Guerra not the start of city gang war
By HERMAN ROOP DASS, Newsday TT
PRIME MINISTER Patrick Manning expressed the hope yesterday that Sunday night's shooting death of URP official, Mark Guerra, was not the beginning of gang war in Port of Spain.
Manning at the time was on a familiarisation tour of the Social Services Centre at Couva yesterday morning and expressed delight at what he saw. Speaking about the Centre, located along the Campden Road, close to the Couva Health Facility, he said it was relatively new but had the potential of being of tremendous service to the population, especially those living in Central Trinidad. The Centre, which has as its coordinator Natalie Atkinson, decentralises service of a general nature offered by the Ministry of Social Services. Among the services offered are legal aid, mediation, probation, community telecentre, general library services, NADAPP (National Drug Abuse and Preventive Programme), SHARE (Social Health and Rehabilitative Effort), disability affairs, social displacement and general family services. Manning felt a "centre like this must make a positive impact on the community where it exists bearing in mind what it was offering to the public".
Later, in response to questions from the media the shooting death of URP official Mark Guerra, Manning said he hoped "this is not the beginning of gang war in Port-of-Spain". Asked about the would-be terrorist the US Government was looking for in the country, Manning said that it was a matter for the Police. He said he had only superficial information about the matter, and all he knew so far was what he read in the newspapers. He criticised the BBC report on crime in the country and said it was quite possible that reporters spoke to victims "and carefully selected people", and gave one side of the picture. Perhaps if the BBC had interviewd others they might have got another aspect of the story, Manning suggested. With respect to Local Government Elections, Manning said it would be held before July 12.
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