89 Trinis said to have joined ISIS

Edmund Dillon
Edmund Dillon

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – There are now 89 Trinidad and Tobago nationals – including families – known to the government who have joined the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the last three years, local media reported.
That is the most up to date figure given by government, shortly after deadly terrorist attacks on Paris claimed 129 victims, and left 350 wounded. ISIS claimed responsibility.
According to U.S. intelligence sources, the number of Trinidadians who have joined ISIS could be closer to 130.
Former national security minister Gary Griffith and former National Operations Centre head Garvin Heerah were among experts who have come out in support of laws to block Trinidad and Tobago-born foreign terrorist fighter returnees on their way back, well before they reach the Caribbean country.
National Security Minister Edmund Dillon was quoted as saying ISIS poses “no threat to T&T right now” and there’s no law to stop the Trinidad and Tobago nationals returning. He said if they’d committed international crimes, the government could work with foreign partners to bring them to justice, but “for now they’re still T&T citizens.”
On the reported 89 nationals with ISIS, Dillon said there are 80-plus, including some 35 men and other family members. He said several of the Trinidadian fighters have been killed.
According to assessments earlier in the year from intelligence sources, a number of those who had gone to join ISIS were from Trinidad and Tobago’s criminal fringe element, rather than Muslim activists, Dillon said that assessment was still valid.
Antigua and Barbuda ambassador to the U.S. Sir Ronald Sanders warned the Caribbean region should not linger in the false notion that small countries are immune from conflicts that engulf larger and more powerful states.
“My worst nightmare for our idyllic islands of the Caribbean is that the tactics of terror so casually utilized by extreme groups such as the Islamic State (ISIS) will be deployed within them,” Sanders said.