Law enforcement agencies in Trinidad and Tobago thwarted an alleged “well-orchestrated plan to destabilize the country” on Tuesday, in which at least three people have died and 72 people have been detained after violent clashes between police and criminal gangs.
Keith Rowley, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, ordered the closure of Port of Spain on Tuesday, to stop the violent protests.
The clashes have also led, according to a statement from the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS), to the closure of several public offices, banks and numerous companies.
Among those killed by gunshot wounds are a police officer, a man and a woman.
The protesters have tried to block several access roads to the capital, firing shots into the air and against public buildings, while asking to try the agents they consider to be involved in the deaths of three people from several violent gangs last weekend. .
According to the National Security Minister, Stuart Young, among those who protested “there were people who have been paid to cause disturbances in public order” and warned that thanks to the help of the army, the situation was brought under control.
The TTPS also pointed out that the preliminary investigations suggest that according to “reports from the internal intelligence services, the protests were part of an orchestrated plan that was led by several members of criminal gangs using as an excuse the death of the three young men from the criminal gangs. “
“I understand that the peaceful protests and that some are upset with what happened over the weekend, but I want to publicly denounce the criminal subjects who use the opportunity to cause further harm,” Young said.
Finally, he asked the population to calm down, and indicated that “there is no need to panic. We are dealing with this.”
Among the detainees, Young explained, is Fuad Abu Bakr, the son of the leader of the Islamic group Jamaat-al-Muslimeen, Yasin Abu Bakr, who along with 113 followers were accused of treason, murder and kidnapping in 1990, after kidnapping former President Arthur. Robinson and former opposition lawmakers.
After the arrest of his son Yasin Abu Bakr, he asked today at a press conference for the “immediate release” of his son and asked the authorities to indicate what crime his son had committed.
“You can’t clearly see any violations of the law, they just come and take him away,” Bakr said of a video of his son’s arrest, adding that his son’s whereabouts are causing great concern to the family.
Trinidad and Tobago Police Commissioner Gary Griffith insisted that today’s clashes in the capital were a “well-orchestrated plot by certain gang leaders in hopes of garnering national support.”
“The plan to close the country (by the gangs) involved setting fire to certain places and when the police arrived, shooting at them,” he added.
Police said shots have also been fired at the building that houses the Attorney General’s Office.
Griffith said that “his plan failed miserably and TTPS is in full control” but with “immediate and strong help from various branches of the security services such as the military, we were able to calm any disruption not long after the plan began.”
The murder of the three youths occurred this weekend in Morvant, a community in the east of the capital, Port of Spain, in a shooting.