See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

Videos of Trinidad Jailbreak Show Prisoners Made Confident Exit from Downtown Prison

A screen grab of the escape video footage taken by a CCTV camera outside the Royal Gaol on Frederick Street, in Port of Spain, Trinidad. Video posted by Beyond the Tape's Facebook page.

A screen grab of the escape video footage taken by a CCTV camera outside the Royal Gaol on Frederick Street, in Port of Spain, Trinidad. Video posted by Beyond the Tape's Facebook page.

Two videos of Friday afternoon's jailbreak in Port of Spain, Trinidad have surfaced on social media.

The footage appears to have been taken by CCTV cameras inside and outside of the Royal Gaol on Frederick Street where the escape occurred, and then filmed from a computer screen—the voices of the persons filming can be heard in voiceover. The videos posted on Facebook by Beyond the Tape, a local crime-related reality television show. The series works alongside the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service to give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at crime in the country.

The first video captures the view from the prison entrance:

At the time of publishing, the video post had over 17,000 views and more than 1,200 shares. Facebook user Bryce N. Stowe commented:

1. A jail holding high risk criminals in the middle of a heavily populated city, POS (near impossible to catch escapees as they can go any direction & get transport out easily).
2. No armed officers at strategic points in the prison (like the exit).
3. Prison officers say the jail wall is low enough that people can through things over for prisoners.
4. Over a decade now with the crime situation getting worse each day with prisoners having access to phones/internet for years yet jammers have not been implemented in the nations prisons up to this day.
5. Poorly thought out facilities allow prisoners to escape as easily as we just saw.
Billions and billions of dollars spent each year on this tiny island. What have our governments been doing for the last 15 years?

Other netizens felt that the whole thing looked too easy. Junior Smith quipped that it was “more of a jail release than a jailbreak”, while Krys Leisel posed several pertinent questions:

Where are the rest of guards on duty? Where did these prisoners obtain weapons from? Where did they get their civilian clothing? How did they know who had the keys of the door? Do we not have a protocol that alerts the guards when a cell block has been breached? How come more prisoners did not take the opportunity to escape as well??

A few netizens suggested that it could have been an inside job.

The second video, taken from the exterior of the prison, shows the prisoners exiting the prison gates. It was viewed over 38,000 times and shared over 1,800 at the time of publishing:


Viewer Justin Thompson interpreted the sequence of events this way:

For the Ppl who don't understand …. based on the footage , there were 3 officers within the vehicle , 3 escaped prisoners , as the men emerged from the prison gate shooting , 1 of the officers got shot , also as they were shooting 1 of the men threw a grenade on the driver side , who happened to b the only officer that saw the grenade , got out of the vehicle and ran up to the corner while the other officer attended to his wounded colleague. The officer (driver ) who ran to the corner came back to the vehicle and at that point he drove to the hospital

At the time or writing, neither the police, the Ministry of National Security or any other official body had commented on the videos or their authenticity.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices
Email Frequency

No thanks, show me the site