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998 gang-related murders under 7 years

Published: 
Friday, December 8, 2017

There have been 998 gang-related murders from 2010 to July of 2017, Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Stuart Young says.

He gave the figures as he delivered his contribution to the Anti Gang Bill in Parliament on Wednesday, after Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, during her contribution, called on the Government to tell the nation of the 1,000 citizens who were murdered in the last two years. She also wanted details on the 21 killings that occurred in the last six days and how many were gang-related.

In response to Persad-Bissessar’s query, Young said data provided by the T&T Police Service showed that there were 998 gang-related murders for the period 2010 to June of 2017. Giving a breakdown, he said in 2010 there were 75 murders and the following year the figures increased to 93, while in 2012 it jumped to 144.

The highest gang-related murders recorded, Young said, occurred in 2013, with 197, while the People’s Partnership government was in power. In 2014 the figures dropped to 142, while in 2015 there was one less murder with 141. In 2016, Young said the murders declined to 127. The murder toll at the time of Young’s response was 466 for the year.

He said of the 41 constituencies in T&T, the most murders occurred in his constituency, saying his constituents have been asking for the support of this legislation so the police can tackle criminality and gangs.

Young said Persad-Bissessar as prime minister in 2011 and former attorney general Anand Ramlogan called a state of emergency and rounded up people, “carted them off and incarcerated them. They never gave the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago an explanation.”

He said those people who were incarcerated “are suing the state and suing us for our taxpayers’ dollars in damages. This is costing us tens of millions of dollars in damages.”

Young said while the Opposition had indicated they will not support the bill, the PP government discontinued a lot of the crime-fighting initiatives that were working. He said one of the helicopters that was used in the fight against crime was converted to a VIP helicopter and used as a shuttle service at the cost of taxpayers.

The UNC eventually refused to support the bill after debate went into early yesterday morning.