Hours after Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith issued a stern warning several “persons of interest” implicated in an alleged criminal gang plot to destabilise Port-of-Spain, local dancehall artiste Taryll “Prince Swanny” Swan has distanced himself from any activity.
Urging people not to defame his character as an artiste, Swan yesterday referred the claims of his involvement in the activity to his lawyers. He is seeking possible redress against the persons who may have been responsible for naming him in the activity.
On Saturday evening, Griffith met several “well-known” people after police took them to the Besson Street and St Joseph Police Stations. It followed the circulation of the alleged plot on social media platforms, which led to increased police surveillance in the capital. Griffith did not respond to a Guardian Media question on whether there was any evidence to verify whether the plot was real yesterday. In a media release on Saturday, however, Griffith said if there was a plot, the police would move swiftly to shut down any attempts to escalate any gang-related activity.
When asked yesterday, he indicated that there was no further development.
As Swan’s name showed up in several discussions on WhatsApp groups, he posted a release on social media saying he was deeply troubled that people had associated his name with the alleged plot, having pledged his life to serve as a public advocate for peace.
“Prince Swanny denies having any role to play in the so-called war brewing and wishes to distance himself from the claims circulating on social media. The artiste is also concerned about statements contained in the social media message that linked him to a life of criminality and aligned him with criminal gang affiliations,” the release stated.It further stated that Swan was not involved in criminal activities or groups and would like to dissuade the public from sharing mischievous and unverified information that seeks to tarnish his reputation.
“Prince Swanny remains focused on his career and taking his music to a global level. He is committed to promoting peace and positivity among the nation’s youth while upholding the standards of a law-abiding citizen.”Swan has grown in popularity on the local dancehall scene and teamed up with the United National Congress last year to sing the party’s campaign song for the August 10 General Election.
On October 27, Guard and Emergency Branch (GEB) officers arrested Swan and two others and charged them for possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking.
Reports stated that GEB officers were patrolling along the Beetham Highway in Sea Lots when they stopped a black Mercedes-Benz driven by Swan. At the time, Daniel “Bamboo” Charles and Akeem St Hill, all of Carenage, were in the car. Police allegedly found 1.5 kilogrammes of compressed marijuana in the vehicle. The men subsequently appeared in the Port-of-Spain Magistrates’ Court and were granted bail.