Laventille, known for bloody gang related violence, is once again making headlines despite police efforts to crack down on crime in Trinidad. A recently published article in the Guardian titled “Bloody start to the new year,” by Reshma Ragoonath, relays some disturbing figures that show how pervasive crime is throughout Trinidad and Tobago. The article states that within January alone there were “…some 37 murders in 31 days.”
The staggering figure is nothing new to members of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) like Public Information Officer Sgt Wayne Mystar, who was quoted as saying this year’s figure actually shows a decrease in the murder rate. According to Ragoonath, in Jan. 2011 there were reportedly 46 murders. 2012, however, is still young. It may be premature to project that 2012 will fair any better than 2011 in regards to the crime and murder rate. Memories of Laventille’s “gang war,” which broke out in mid-December of last year, still linger with many. The Trinidad Express ran an article titled “Gang war erupts” after two houses were “firebombed in Laventille” less than ten day after the “end of the 106-day State of Emergency (SoE),” which drew outcry and concern for the crime-plagued community and left many wondering were the violence stemmed from.
Speculation about the reasoning for this level bloodshed is rampant. An article in the Trinidad Express by Gregory Aboud, “Force-fed and erroneous diet,” offers a number of possible explanations–many of which link back to the drug trade and “a chemistry of deprived childhood…failed education and disconnection from society and the job market.” This may, in part, be a possible reason for the TTPS’ statement in the Ragoonath’s article ensuring the police service would do its job but requested individuals “…do their part too” and take “proactive…personal measures that will assist them in protecting themselves.”