In bed with criminals: Gangs and politics in Trinidad and Tobago
Keywords:Urban violence, Gangs, Crime, Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago
Crime and murder rates have increased alarmingly in the Latin American and Caribbean region, something which is linked to gangs and organised crime. Scholars cite the lack of state presence and inadequate state capacity as being major factors behind the rise of gangs. However, research findings suggest that the manifestation of powerful gangs stems from political patronage and policies implemented in the 1960s. Drawing on extensive fieldwork carried out in Trinidad and Tobago’s gang-controlled areas, this article contributes to the emerging debate on the engagement of gangs by presenting new empirical evidence on how political patronage and social welfare programmes empowered gangs.