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Abstract: In the last decade, gun-related homicides in Trinidad and Tobago (T & T) have
risen about 1,000 per cent. While higher rates of crime have permeated much
of the island of Trinidad in particular, overwhelmingly violence is concentrated
in relatively small, hilly, and dense urban areas on the east side of Port
of Spain’s central business district. On a per capita basis, the eastern districts
of Port of Spain are among the most dangerous places on the planet and, as a
whole, the murder rate for Port of Spain is comparable to that of Baghdad
One rationale for this escalation of crime and murder is that few consequences
accrue to those responsible. In most years, fewer than 20 per cent of
violent crimes are ever solved. Even when police and prosecutors mount a
case, it generally takes several years before it is brought to trial. During the
intervening period, ample opportunities exist to kill or intimidate witnesses.
After being criticized for inaction for years, T & T’s government is taking
clear steps towards legal reforms that might prevent such practices.
Abstract: On July 27, 2009 Trinidadians marked the nineteenth anniversary of the failed attempt by the Jamaat al-Muslimeen to overthrow the government in Trinidad and Tobago in a violent coup. Although JAM made international headlines in June 2007 when one of the suspects in an alleged plot to attack New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport was reported to have ties to the group, the enigmatic Caribbean militant group, composed mostly of Afro-Trinidadian converts to Islam, has received scant attention outside of Trinidad in recent years. In contrast, nearly two decades after the coup attempt, Trinidadian society still bears the scars of that infamous day; media coverage and public discussion of domestic politics continue to be fraught with tales of intrigue and conspiracy involving JAM and the highest levels of power in the twin island nation. JAM’s history of political militancy is only matched by the group’s criminal activities—JAM is implicated in gangland-style slayings, narcotics and arms trafficking, money laundering, extortion, kidnapping, and political corruption.
In spite of its record, ranking JAM members have escaped serious prosecution for their most egregious actions. For many Trinidadians, the state’s failure (or what some believe is its reluctance) to bring closure to the 1990 revolt that left scores dead and injured and caused millions of dollars in damages continues to provoke heated controversy. The ability of senior JAM members to evade justice for their involvement in the uprising and an array of other militant and criminal acts also continues to astound observers who follow the group. The present status of the government’s ongoing legal battles against JAM and, in particular, the group’s leader, Yasin Abu Bakr, is a case in point.
Abstract: Although all countries, in theory report their authorized transfers - and
such information may even be available in certain public databases - the
task of providing an overview of SALW transfers, their parts and
munitions, is an arduous one. Nonetheless, despite the difficulties, we
have some extremely positive initiatives on a global scale, such as for
example, the Small Arms Survey, recognized as an important source of
information, especially on SALW production and transfers, as well as the
Norwegian Initiative on Small Arms Transfers (NISAT) which has a
database containing transfer records going back to 1962.Despite these
important initiatives, themselves when researchers, activists and policy
makers try to understand a regional market, such as Latin America and
the Caribbean, they encounter a dearth of information. With the intent of addressing this shortcoming, En La Mira has, since 2007, dedicated an
issue to transfers of SALWs, parts and ammunition in this region. Further, according to statistics from the United Nations Commodity Trade
Statistics Database (UN-Comtrade or Comtrade), USD 6.7 billion were
exported between 2004 and 2006, while USD 6.5 billion were imported.
Despite the fact that Latin America and the Caribbean represent 6% and
3%, respectively, of total transfers worldwide during this period, 42% of
firearms related homicide is committed in the region. This discrepancy
between the international transfer volume share and the levels of armsrelated
violence in Latin America and the Caribbean calls attention to
itself, above all because of the tragic and startling number of homicides.
Obviously, far from wishing to increase arms transfers in order to be more
in sync with homicide rates, we decided, a year ago, to study this issue
and periodically monitor its development based on our interest in
understanding the primary legal entry and exit routes of firearms and
ammunition. The result is a report - based on customs information as
stated by Latin American and Caribbean countries and their respective
partners - whose objective is to describe the movement of the SALW
imports and exports, as well as ammunition and parts, during the present
decade. Based on this data, we answer the following questions: who
exported and who imported? From whom? What? And when?
It is worth restating that the intent of this report is not to explain the
cause of arms imports and exports by Latin American countries. Beyond
merely providing information, we do indeed wish to awaken, by means of
the information presented here, the curiosity of other researches, activists
and government staff members such that they may continue to perform research in their countries regarding the transparency of this information,
on who is using the transferred SALW, and how.
The data used for this report came from the NISAT database, which
contains more than 800,000 entries for SALW transfers worldwide since
1962. The NISAT database gets its information from different sources,
COMTRADE among them. In this study we decided to restrict ourselves
to data from this latter source because, in theory, all countries report
transfers to the UN. This data is declared in accordance with the
Harmonized System (SH) merchandise classification system. The HS has
existed since 1988and, in 2007, was revised for the fourth time; previous
revisions were in 1992, 1996 and in 2002. Regarding the period analyzed,
we are looking at data up until 2006, since at the time the study closed
this was the most recent year available on NISAT.
Abstract: La prévalence du VIH atteint voire dépasse 1% aux Bahamas, à la Barbade, au Belize, au Guyana, en Haïti, en Jamaïque, au Suriname et à la Trinité-et-
Tobago (ONUSIDA, 2006). La plupart des pays de la région montrent une baisse ou une stabilisation de la prévalence du VIH, particulièrement dans les zones
urbaines, tandis que les changements intervenus dans les zones semi-urbaines et rurales ont été modérés.
L’inadéquation des systèmes de surveillance du VIH
dans plusieurs pays rend néanmoins difficile l’analyse
des tendances récentes de ces épidémies.
Abstract: In 2000 Amnesty International presented a summary of its concerns on human rights issues in Trinidad and Tobago to the United Nations Human Rights Committee for the consideration of Trinidad and Tobago's combined third and fourth periodic reports submitted under article 40 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).(1) Among the concerns highlighted by the organization was the use of excessive force by police officers, including possib#le extrajudicial executions and deaths in police custody, and the failure of the authorities to fully and impartially investigate the allegations to clarify the circumstances and bring those responsible to justice.
Abstract: Trinidad and Tobago is a parliamentary democracy governed by a prime minister and a bicameral legislature. Parliament also elects a president, whose office is largely ceremonial but with some appointive power. In the 2002 general elections, which observers considered free and fair, Prime Minister Patrick Manning's People's National Movement (PNM) secured a 20 to 16 seat victory over the United National Congress (UNC), breaking an 18 to 18 tie in Parliament and ending a 9-month parliamentary stalemate. The judiciary is independent.
The Ministry of National Security oversees the police service, prison service, and the defense force, rendering them responsive to civilian authority. The police service maintains internal security. The defense force is responsible for external security but also has certain domestic security responsibilities. An independent body, the Police Service Commission, makes hiring and firing decisions in the police service, and the Ministry had little direct influence over changes in senior positions. While the civilian authorities maintained effective control of the security forces, some members of the security forces committed human rights abuses.
Abstract: No specific information is available on the trafficking of people in Trinidad and Tobago; however, sex tourism is increasing in this area. Reports indicate that women from Barbados are in prostitution in Trinidad. European and North American men make up the largest number of sex tourists. Tour agents and unlisted guesthouses run the industry and place advertisements in magazines announcing package deals that include the cost of buying a female.
Abstract: Against the international trend away from the use of the death penalty, executions have increased in the English speaking Caribbean (ESC) in recent years. Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, the Bahamas and St. Kitts and St. Nevis and St. Vincent and the Grenadines have all carried out executions in the last seven years. Jamaica, Antigua, Grenada, St Lucia, Dominica, Belize and Barbados all currently have condemned prisoners and continue to impose sentences of death.