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Corruption, Cocaine and Murder in Trinidad

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Published on May 20, 2014

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Around midnight on May 3, Dana Seetahal, a prominent attorney and former senator in Trinidad and Tobago, had just left a casino in the capital of Port of Spain when her vehicle was stopped by another car blocking the road. A van pulled up alongside and let loose a burst of gunfire, killing her in a well orchestrated hit.

Her murder was one of approximately 170 that have occurred in the Caribbean nation so far this year, putting it on course for one of the highest murder rates in the world. The country saw only 93 murders in 1999. Last year, there were 407.

VICE News visited the slums of Port of Spain and spoke with police, activists, community leaders, and gangsters to understand the country's decade-plus spike in killings. Many of the murders are attributed to ruthless and politically connected street gangs who control territories that are sometimes no larger than a city block. The gangs fight over lucrative government contracts meant to provide social services and combat unemployment.

But gang violence is merely a symptom of a bigger problem. Trinidad has become an important stop for drugs headed to West Africa and the United States. Many observers point to "the big fish" — the nameless political and business elites who are behind drug trafficking and the culture of endemic corruption and murder that come with it. They are accused of turning a country rich in oil and gas deposits into their own personal narco-state, fostering impunity through a web of bribes and murders. Unlike the profits from the energy industry, however, this phenomenon trickles all the way down to the street level.

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Comments • 2,421

Jennifer Chee-A-Tow
Trinidad has become a narco state and the people living there are not seeing it. Life is sweet until there are no more judges, or courts. Drugs and murder is ruling now. God help them later. 
Robert Byrne
I can honestly say I don't think I have ever heard someone say 9 times harder
View all 12 replies
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Bacchus
Is there any place in the world that doesn't have corruption, cocaine and murder?
View all 64 replies
yardie gaza
Jamaicans dominated the cocaine work right out them English mafias hands when they were active same thing in new York and CA Jamaicans were weakening those racist mobsters paving the way for pore collard people to get there hands on some dirty money Jamaicans were rising in America I am talking about all 50 stats in the 80s way before other gangs went international it was a tribal family thing now a days its all a criminal competition.
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Jordan subscribe to get money
"We are in Canada, which has been devastated by fighting" never thought I'd hear that ever
View all 25 replies
Josh MacDonald
us Canadians are "sheeple" we just follow the leader and do what were told. I am now a minority in my own country #fucktredeau #fuckWinn
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alien brain
the last few words in this story were absolutely prophetic for the whole world
View all 13 replies
Michael Schultz
Plenty...., really buddy? Come on....what we need is for black ppl to start giving a Fuv% and stop blaming their problems on white ppl.
Tdot Dumpling
+alien brain My parents are not from Trinidad but have Caribbean roots. Trinidadians have a way with words. The old calypso had a lot of humorous political commentary.
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X Period
Any video on youtube that has black people in it, you will see how weird whites are & how they are completely infatuated with black people. Every single video I swear.
View all 39 replies
Milt
Kevin ator You are this ignorant? This part still looks better than the Ukraine and all other white nations who didn't have slaves built their nations up for them, after all, statistics in the U.S. which is a mixed nation shows that Nigerians out earn WHITE AMERICANS in income and outnumber them in education a long with Asians. Apparently, you white men are inferior and have to invade and enslave to succeed, without that, you don't see to do well. Again these are statistics which means it's a fact. This is why I don't understand your bigotory.
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Marios Francis
Take it from a Trini... Sargeant Alexander is all talk, He doesnt DARE go into those areas on his own. For that matter... his officers operate like a gang themselves. Since this documentary premiered, he's only about TV ratings now cuz they gave him a TV show. And yea... He's a WELL known freemason... do the math yourselves. Abu Bakr is a gang leader himself, parading as a crusader of the Islamic faith. He's a sycophant and a fraud. Not a single REAL Muslim i know, subscribes to his theories of Islam. A cousin of mine fears for his life til this day because he decided to LEAVE the Jamaat Al Muslimeen. They prey on the weak minded and economically unstable to fortify their ranks... and pretending that they are standing of the pillars of their faith. I myself live literally spitting distance from a 'crime hotspot'... believe when i say that there are a a lot more corrupt people in the police and government, than in the small communities and 'ghettos'. And the 'big fish' are well known and VERY prominent... but criminals wont arrest their own.
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the tusk
Marios Francis all his freemason bling was pretty interseting
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Inster
Lol when he called the baddest cops out there at 3:30 all of them started smiling
View all 10 replies
ThatHipHopArtist
DEAD
indianfighter33
actually...they are the most corrupt..they provide bodyguard services for the druglords..
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Kenneth Miya
Its easy for me to understand Trinidad's English accent than the redneck Amerikanerin.
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LDHBYCCMP
Kenneth Miya yes I don't have any problems with the accent too. I'm Surinamese, but I have some Guyanese family members. The accents sound nearly identical.
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Inderia Harvey
why cant everyone just smoke a spliff n live good
View all 20 replies
Inderia Harvey
since everybody is fighting over this comment i might as well delete it
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