Overseas Jamaican, Local Gangs In Drugs Turf gun-battle – Governor
The spate of recent killings in the TCI, according to police intelligence, stems mainly from a drug turf war between imported Jamaican gangs and local drug dealers.
Governor His Excellency Nigel made the assessment while delivering the throne speech in the House of Assembly on Monday. Governor Dakin was quick to point out that there was what he described as a very significant local element to the killings as well.
“…For TCI it is related to Jamaican gangs and serious trans-national crime - rather than international terrorism. It remains ongoing and it will not stop, unless we stop it,” Governor Dakin warned.
He noted that two drug-leadership vacancies opened after police killed a ruthless local gang leader and another – of Haitian descent – was murdered by one of his own. As a result, there has been a tussled between drug kingpin hopefuls, including from overseas-based Jamaicans, aiming to establish a proxy leadership on local soil.
He said one of the dead gang leaders, prior to his demised, tried to fox the Jamaicans out of their merchandise.
“Several months ago, two local gangs - and yes, there is a very significant local element to this - lost their leadership. One extremely violent local gang leader was shot dead by Police, while resisting arrest. The other, a Haitian Gang Leader, who the Police had made four separate attempts to arrest in the shanty areas of ‘Romy Yard’ - was killed – by one of his own gang - before he could be arrested.
“The vacuum and confusion this created, allowed a predominantly Jamaican gang – with a relatively small footprint here - to reinforce from Jamaica. They had anyway been seeking to kill one of their local rivals – the man I have just described - following his attempt to steal from them. Members of this House will remember the three days of shooting in Five Cays during April as this initial feud played out,” the governor said, stating that the gangs preferred weaponry is military-style high-powered guns.
“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,” the governor said.
He said that many of those killed were active players drugs turf war.
“I need to stress, not everyone killed has been involved in criminality – as one example - some will recall I attended the funeral of Justin Cox-Beckles, whose murder was utterly senseless. That murder is indicative of a wider issue…of the many eye-witnesses, none will give evidence. In this murder, CCTV was instrumental in generating an arrest.
“But it is also true that many who have been murdered have been linked to criminality and a spiral of reprisal killings, including to avenge some innocent as well as criminal victims, has been the result.
“Some who know that they are being targeted have left the Islands. Some of those who have been murdered, were themselves murderers. Some having executed their crime, have slipped away through fast boat. When Members or the media ask, how many have been prosecuted, this is the background the Police are operating against,” the governor lamented.
However, Governor Dakin revealed that despite the challenges, arrests have been, but current legislation only allows the police to hold a suspect for 48 hours, with witnesses and victims not prepared to talk, even those who have been shot.
“The Policing challenge is significant,” he said.
He said experienced UK officers, who are in the Turks and Caicos Islands declared that the level of fire power exhibited by the gunmen in the TCI would give the toughest law enforcement in any developed country a torrid time.
“For those that criticise the Police, here is a reality check. Visiting senior UK Police Officers tell me that there is no county Force in the UK – many of them three times the size of our own – that could start to tackle an armed and violent cross-county, let alone trans-national threat, of this scale.
“Set against that fact, our Tactical Unit – supported by intelligence – have, every night and every day, been engaged in a hunt for these men,” Governor Dakin said, revealing that the police have disrupted the gang operation in Five Cays, forcing members to relocate to Dock Yard.
“The Police’s heavy presence in Five Cays, after the double murders, saw the gang relocate to Dock Yard. Significant Policing operations in that unregulated development saw the Police go through the doors of over 30 properties – where they came under fire from third parties.
“Several days ago, there was an exchange of fire with one Jamaican, who dropped his weapon but escaped. On Saturday night a high-speed Police pursuit resulted in three arrests and recovered weaponry,” the governor stated.