(CMR) Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands Nigel John Dakin said a Jamaican gang is at the center of a recent increase in crimes in the British Overseas Territory.
Mr. Dakin was addressing the House of Assembly on Monday, one day after a US citizen vacationing in the Turks and Caicos was killed in an explosion of gun violence that left three people dead. Five others were injured, including a member of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force.
The Governor said that several months ago, two local gangs lost their leadership after one extremely violent local gang leader was shot dead by police while resisting arrest. The other, a Haitian gang leader, was killed by a member of his own gang.
This allowed a predominantly Jamaican gang with a relatively small footprint in the Turks and Caicos to reinforce from Jamaica, the Governor said.
“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,” Mr. Dakin explained.
Police chief Trevor Botting said local communities are shocked and frightened by the levels of violence on the TCI in the last few months.
“The levels of violence would challenge a police force many times the size of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force,” Mr. Botting said.
“We remain strong and determined to do all they can to take the fight to the violent criminals and protect our communities,” he added.
Mr. Botting said this violence is linked to drug supply and is fueled by revenge, turf wars, and retribution.
The latest shooting spree, which occurred on Sunday, 2 October, reportedly began when armed criminals traveling in a vehicle opened fire into another vehicle transporting staff from a local business and two tourists who were headed back to their accommodations after an excursion.
Two people were killed, including one of the tourists. Another visitor to the island also was among the three persons injured during the spree.
Mr. Botting said when officers from the tactical unit attempted to intercept the vehicle used by the shooters in the first attack, the officers were shot at with automatic weapons.
“Their bullets repeatedly struck the police vehicle's windscreen and bonnet area multiple times. Bullets also deflated two tires of the vehicle driven by the officers. Despite being under fire from automatic weapons, two of my officers returned fire to protect themselves and that of their colleagues. One officer received a serious injury from a gunshot wound,” he said.
The vehicle with the shooters got away.