Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Keith Rowley.
Government of Trinidad and Tobago

Weighted down by decades of violent crime, authorities in Trinidad have taken the unprecedented step of turning to the US FBI and the CIA for help in ensuring that this year’s carnival celebrations are free of serious incidents.

Minister of Security, Fitz Hinds said this week that authorities want to ensure that the thousands of revelers who have flown in from overseas for this year’s edition and the masses of local participants are able to enjoy a plethora of events in a safe environment.

The 2024 celebrations will wrap up at midnight next Tuesday following the two-day street parade, several fetes, Panorama and a host of other events. Hinds’ announcement came days after Prime Minister Keith Rowley had announced that a team he had led to Washington DC in the past week had in fact met with FBI and CIA officials and had sought their assistance on security matters.

“We do have some problems in Trinidad and Tobago which I’ll not burden you with today, but we do have some internal problems and given the nature of our relationship with the United States, the resources of the FBI and the CIA were made available to us to deal with our own internal problems. We’re an open country to international trade and contact and even outside of our official entry points, what we’re discovering is that certain criminals are liking us and they are not small-timers. I say no more on that at this time. These are matters of national security, which ought to better be kept where they are for the moment,” he told a press conference last week.

Asked whether it is not highly unusual for a foreign government to involve these two agencies, Rowley said that “if we have to, and I was very pleased I was able to, because we do have interests in common. Revealing other successes from his trip, Rowley said special teams are being trained to infiltrate and embed themselves in organized crime networks, noting that “we are now attracting elements of international organized crime, which is very concerning to the government. So, we’re discussing this with the US to get as much help as we can in ensuring that our bad situation is not worsened by these developments,” he added.

The island last year recorded a five percent drop of the 606 murders of 2022 as police battle to bring down the numbers and control gangs extorting business and carrying out contract killings.Opposition parties and social activists have been putting Rowley under severe pressure to arrange a crime summit, contending that the situation is spiraling out of control. Theprime minister is scheduled to hold a special press conference on crime later this week.