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TTPS: Voice notes on guns, gangs a hoax
A large cache of high-powered guns—including AK 47s, assault rifles, and Glock pistols—were highlighted in a video that went viral yesterday on social media along with two voice notes warning citizens to stay away from the Beetham and Port-of-Spain areas as a result of impending gang wars.
However, the T&T Police Service (TTPS) described the circulation of the video as “reckless and irresponsible” and intended “to create public mischief and promote panic.”
The TTPS added that the large cache of firearms did not originate in T&T, but confirmed that the “mischievous” voice notes, however, are being generated locally.
Commissioner of Police (Ag) Stephen Williams has sent a stern warning to people to desist from producing and circulating “the offending communications.”
The TTPS has advised members of the public who come into possession of these communications to delete and cease the further circulation of it. “The TTPS will continue to be actively present in all communities across T&T to provide safety, security, and reassurance to the citizenry.”
The video with a version of Bob Marley’s rendition of ‘One Love’ showed the high-powered weapons displayed on a leatherette couch set. Around the room were several baskets of clothes, appliances boxes, and a dining set with personal items on it.
In one of the voice notes (47 seconds), a woman spoke of the guns and questioned the safety of children, believed to be close to her. She was heard saying: “...I see something on a video with Rasta City. Ramadan done already today (referring to yesterday), if you see guns and what type of guns. O Lord, I don’t know what’s going on…if you could call or send a voicemail to your children and tell them if they don’t have to go anywhere stay home and if they have to go let them go their way and come back home because I don’t know what will happen.”
She also sent a warning: “Please be vigilant and be careful…send them a voice note and wherever they is, let them stay. We don’t know when it will start and what will happen because them mean business.”
In a second voice note (46 seconds) a male voice believed to be a member of law enforcement warned those working in POS and those doing intelligence to “be alert and be careful.”
He claimed that instructions were given by “The boss,” referring to a gang leader in the Beetham to “Keep the area clean and clear after 5 pm…The word came from the boss…Don’t know what they expect or what they plan to do, but who working town side to be alert and aware of what taking place.”
POS North/St Ann’s West MP Stuart Young, meanwhile, said there are people who are trying to create panic, confusion, and despair.
He said the video was downloaded from the Internet, having originated from another country.
“The mischief makers are putting these videos and even voice notes onto social media and they are then being circulated with the suggestion that they are legitimate and from T&T.
“It is obvious that there are some who wish to mislead the population with dishonest and destructive untruths. All patriotic citizens must unite behind and support our law enforcement agencies in the performance of their duties to protect and serve us, and we will also ensure that those who desperately wish to destroy and mislead T&T are exposed for who they truly are and for what their nefarious, unpatriotic agendas are.”
Warring gangs—the Rasta City gang and the Muslim gang promised "bloodshed" after the Eid-ul-Fitr holiday on Friday. The Rasta City gang also started its "campaign" by painting light poles in Gonzales in the Red, Green, and Gold colours declaring the area to be theirs and "declaring war against the Muslims." However, the authorities promised to increase the presence of police and soldiers in Beetham and certain parts of East POS.
The first strike was when a team of police officers moved into Gonzales on Friday and repainted the light poles in white.
This latest video and voice notes followed last week’s social media leak of three lists containing the names, photos, and addresses of 111 suspected gang members, including gang leaders.
The leak came two days after the Sunday Guardian’s expose on over 200 gangs that exist in T&T and a “secret document” which was sent to the Ministry of National Security and the TTPS identifying over 2,000 people–their names, alias’, addresses, gang affiliation, and known offences.
The leaked documents listed three areas in the Port-of-Spain Division–Leau Place in Laventille; Beetham–Phase 1 to 4, and Basilon Street.
It showed photographs along with names and alias’, date of birth, addresses and gang affiliation numbering 45, 64, and 12 respectively.
Some of the gangs identified are G Unit gang, Rasta City, Cassava Peace, Sea Lots gang, and the Muslim gang. Some of them were also linked to other areas including Diego Martin, Carenage, Belmont, and Morvant.
A police source from the POS Division, who wished not to be identified, told the T&T Guardian that most of the names appearing on the lists are “known criminals” to the police but admitted that some were “suspected affiliates.”
He refused to say if it was an official document from the TTPS.
Speaking with the Sunday Guardian, one of the men from Beetham whose photograph and name appeared on the list said he believes that the document was deliberately released by police officers, “These police dem always on we case and they friending with other gangs and this is a revelation for the rival gangs to see what we look like to kill we na boy.
Another man from Laventille said he was innocent and not in any gang, “just now you might hear I get gunned down like a dog too because of this list. We black na and from the hills so they say all ah we is gangsters but is not so.”
A community leader, who wished not to be identified, said yesterday, “I live in reality…I don’t deal with social media…Them (referring to the police and soldiers) accustom doing what they doing and I accustom doing what I doing…I am not bothered.”
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