Senior cop urges Arima residents: Help us dismantle drug dynasties

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Snr Supt Kerwin Francis during a media briefing in January. – Photo by Angelo Marcelle

Police in the Northern Division are calling for the public’s help in taking action against drug traffickers who control neighbourhoods by providing information that could lead to their arrest.

The call was made by Snr Supt Kerwin Francis during a police town hall meeting at the Arima Community Centre, on Thursday night, as he responded to concerns from a resident over an uptick in violent crime in his neighbourhood.

The resident said over the years the same drug blocks in Arima have been in operation as law-abiding residents continue to live in fear.

“The area is basically a residential retirement (community), there’s a lot of retirees and they are scared.

“People are just scared, they are locked up in their houses it has reached to a point where people don’t come out.”

In his response, Francis said in Arima there were certain drug blocks evolved to the point where they could be considered drug dynasties and was given a mandate by Police Commissioner Erla Harewood-Christopher to tackle these organisations.

Francis said he saw firsthand the level of control such elements had over communities and was alarmed, adding that such activities attracted other crimes where residents could be affected.

“The unique situation we have in Arima is that because they operate in this dynasty fashion, nobody is trying wrestle control of the block from them.

“But they may be at war with someone else and because of that they generate murders.

“So those persons they know themselves and we know who they are.

“You may go into an area and it’s as though the street has become frozen in time and that whole area is controlled by one particular group.

“We have recognised that, I have seen it and I was amazed by what it escalated to.”

Francis said crime caused by drug blocks were not limited to the communities they occupied as violence could spread to the town centre of Arima as rivals seek to target them on neutral ground.

He said Northern Division officers took the threat posed seriously and were ready to take action with the public’s co-operation.