Wednesday, 05 October 2022 12:19

TCI appeals for Jamaica's help to curb gang violence

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With a rise in Jamaican-related gang activities in Turks & Caicos Islands, the Territory’s Governor, Nigel Dakin, is appealing for support from the Jamaican Government to bring the situation under control.

Governor Dakin, in a speech delivered in the legislature a short while ago, noted that the Jamaican Cabinet was meeting even as he was speaking, “and we hope for support from them, as well.”

“The trans-regional criminal links to their country makes a strengthened intelligence exchange a priority,” he added.

He reported that there had been a dramatic change in the security situation in the Territory in September, with the emergence of threats “that much larger states have to absorb.”

The emerging threats have been linked to major attacks “associated with terrorism,” he said, pointing directly to “Jamaican gangs and serious trans-national crime - rather than international terrorism.”

Jamaicans are not the only source of the problem, he admitted however, highlighting the fact that some Haitian gangs are also involved.

In that regard, he said the recent killing of two gang leaders, one of them Haitian, had created a vacuum, had “allowed a predominantly Jamaican gang – with a relatively small footprint here - to reinforce from Jamaica.”

He described the ensuing violence in graphic terms: “Using military grade high velocity weaponry, the vast majority of the murders in September have been targeted and linked to this enlarged and now emboldened gang trying to remove who they believe are the local drug and arms smuggling competition. Those local criminals, already established here, are fighting back.”

He said the police Tactical Unit, supported by intelligence, had been pursuing these criminals relentlessly.

Governor Dakin said a heavy police presence was deployed to Five Cays, after a double murder there, resulting in the gang relocating to Dockyard, and in that “unregulated development,” the police “came under fire from third parties.”

Most recently, there was an exchange of fire with one Jamaican, who dropped his weapon but escaped, and on Saturday night a high-speed police chase resulted in three arrests and recovery of weapons. 

The TCI’s Premier, Charles Misick, recently visited Jamaica and he is hoping that, out of his discussions with the Holness administration, there will be closer collaboration in the joint fight against these criminal threats.