T&T Calvin Greenidge: They want me dead

“They want me dead!”

That was the shocking declaration by Calvin Greenidge, 32, who alleged that he had to flee this country after several attempts were made to kill him over the last five years by a well-known gangster with connections to a high-ranking government minister.

Greenidge, who fled to the United Kingdom (UK) for safety, said his troubles started after he spoke openly about the connection between the government minister and the gangster, and then gave a detailed statement to the police about how they were connected and the illegal activities that they have been involved in since 2012.

On January 17 this year, almost two years after he barely survived another attempt on his life–in July 2020–and was shot nine times, Greenidge left for the UK with several death threats still hanging over his head. There were two other attempts to kill him, he claimed.

He later filed for asylum through the United Kingdom Home Office of Visas and Immigration with the help of Harpreet Ghai, a specialist lawyer with expertise in immigration and asylum cases.

But on May 26, five months after filing for asylum, his claim was rejected.

The UK Home Office felt the majority of the information that Greenidge gave about the threats made on his life by a gang leader and his members was not convincing enough.

He has since appealed that decision and the case is now set for July 13.

In his submissions to the UK agency, Greenidge never stated anything about the government minister. However, he now plans to use this as part of his appeal.

Greenidge, speaking to Guardian Media during an exclusive 45-minute interview last week, was asked why he had not initially named the senior government minister in his asylum request. He said, “I told them in my asylum request that (gang leader name called) had links. I never call (senior government minister name called) because I was kind of nervous at that time and I did not know who he may have known, but I intend to put that in my appeal.”

He said that the shared enterprise between the gang leader and the minister has allowed them both to benefit financially. “Both of them getting more money and for the gang leader he can now buy more guns for his gang and continue to bully and intimidate people in that area.”

The lawyer, responding to questions sent to her by Guardian Media, confirmed that Greenidge’s matter will be appealed and she was representing him. Asked if she had been told by her client about the connection with the gang leader and a senior government minister, she said, “I am aware of the connection but not much more than that.” Ghai said she would have to obtain further evidence to support this claim if her client desired this to be part of his appeal. “I will have to review the information before I can submit it to the Home Office as well as discuss it with my client,” Ghai explained.

Senior intelligence sources in the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service confirmed that Greenidge spoke with a police officer in late 2018 and related all the information that he knew which was recorded by the officer during an interview that lasted more than an hour. Following that, another officer assisted in preparing an official report that was forwarded to the head of that particular police department.

How does he know the gang leader?

Greenidge said he and the alleged gang leader grew up together in a community (name called). He said the man was involved in drug running and controlled a block after his mother passed away.

“They were coming around in the area with box drain, and other contracts and thing and selling drugs and they wanted me to be part of it and I was against it.”

His protestations were met with anger, he said. He claimed that one of the gang leader’s family members (name called) was subsequently murdered and they accused him of the killing. “When that happen (murder) they just use that to get rid of me.” He said, “Police pick me home in (name of the area called) November 2012 and carry me to the station in Chaguanas. Homicide officers interviewed me and later charged me. I stayed two years and eight months in Golden Grove.

“Certain men in the jail tell me to watch myself because they wanted to chop me up and kill me. I told the prison officers about the threats and in 2015 they moved me to MSP in isolation until Senior Magistrate Lucina Cardenas-Ragoonanan dismissed the case in the magistrates’ court and I walked out the court a free man in July 2016.”

According to the magistrate’s case book extract for this matter that was obtained by Guardian Media, the court found “that the evidence is manifestly unreliable so that no reasonable tribunal can commit. The evidence of the main witness Ken Alexander was inconsistent and unreliable, there being no other evidence to support said witness. Discharged.”

Greenidge maintains his innocence in the murder and said it was part of an elaborate plan by the gang leader and the minister who have been “friends and associates since then,” to get him out of the way as he was openly linking them to each other.

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