Suspected gang leader Ashton “Boombay” Boney claimed yesterday he is being targeted by the police and “victimised as a black man striving for success”.
“I just being targeted and victimised as a black man striving for success and coming out of the ghetto, you understand some people make something of they self and move out but I try to stay and help the people and give back to the community,” he said in an exclusive interview with TV6.
Boney, 29, has been fingered by the police as the crime boss of Laventille, the shot caller, the man who’s pulling all the strings, the man “whose arms are long”, as they say in the underworld.
His name has featured prominently on the lips of several senior police officers and he’s been heard about in just about ever community stretching across the Laventille hills and East Port of Spain.
Speaking to TV6 at Africa Road, Laventille, yesterday sitting on a bridge near his home, Boney said he believed he is a deliberate target of the police.
TV6 asked: Police put you down as a gang leader that lock down Laventille and parts of Port of Spain, what is your response to that?
Boney: “I not no gang leader first thing first. I am a Muslim and in all these communities it have love and respect with everybody.”
Boney says when he was picked up by the police last Thursday he was kept for over five days and later released without being charged.
He says the police must do their investigation thoroughly before picking up anyone.
“I not against the police doing their work but at the end of the day police must investigate their matter and come up with the evidence before they put somebody through that,” he said.
Dressed in a black jeans, red and white plaid shirt, a Miami Marlins cap and sporting an orange and black Nike Airmax, Boney said he was upset over allegations made in a daily newspaper report yesterday about him having police officers on his payroll.
“The Guardian say all kind of thing about me . They might not call up my name, but everybody know it is me they talking about in society. I am the only man in John John who have a car dealership running. Why they doing that, they impersonating (sic) my character.
“Why must I give my hard earned money to police officers when they getting a salary of $7,000 a month?”
With the upsurge in killings in the East Port of Spain area within the past few weeks Boney was asked: “Is there a war between Laventille and Beetham and are you in the centre of it?”
His response was: “All that is going on I have been reading the newspapers and watching the 7 o’clock news and in this society I know there is something going on.”
The killings, police say, have intensified over contracts awarded in East Port of Spain. Well-placed intelligence sources say that there is an upcoming contract for rewiring the Plannings that certain gang leaders are trying to position themselves for.
“It is a question of killing those who oppose you and staying on top,” said a senior intelligence source.
Boney admits he gets contracts from time to time in Port of Spain and sometimes works hand in hand with Jamaat-al-Muslimeen leader Yasin Abu Bakr to obtain contracts but claims he has never imposed his will on anyone.
“At the end of the day I personally doh want no contract within Duncan Street area to say I ever tend or went to look for that, don’t know why they saying I want some electrical contract on Duncan Street,” he said.
Boney said anyone can enquire from those issuing the contracts in that area if he ever solicited for a contract.
Tomorrow: Boney talks more about the gang war