Jihadists from ISIS are reportedly exploiting an undercurrent of extremism in the Caribbean to gain new recruits.
Trinidad and Tobago’s government estimates that 89 of its citizens have left to join Islamic State, a higher figure per head of population than even Belgium has recorded.
The problem is so significant that a telephone hotline was set up in the former British colony at the end of last year. It allows islanders to contact authorities if they believe someone is planning to make the journey.
And the US government has said that it fears an attack might originate from the area. General John Kelly, the former head of US Southern Command, said ISIS was doing a “fair amount” of recruitment in the region, including in Jamaica and Venezuela, The Times reported.
Former British high commissioner Arthur Snell told the paper: “Quite a lot of things that recur in jihadist groups elsewhere apply in Trinidad: people who are exposed to gang violence, broken homes, poor educational opportunities, a lack of a sense of belonging.”
Fears were also expressed that a terror attack in the region would devastate its tourism-based economy.
Four Trinidadian ISIS fighters were reportedly among 961 captured by Turkish security forces last year.
The problem is so significant that a telephone hotline was set up at the end of last year to allow islanders to contact authorities if they believe someone is planning to make the journey
Not the first time Trinidad has made the Creeping Sharia pages. It now has its own category.