Listin Diario of the Dominican Republic has published an alleged demand letter from US convicted illicit drug trafficker Paulino Quirino to former president of the Dominican Republic, Leonel Fernandez for the re-payment of money with interest Quirino allegedly passed to Fernandez as a political investment in 2002. Quirino was extradited to the US and subsequently sung the most potent songs of informer where persons in the trade were extradited to the US who then sung also creating the choir boys of the Dominican Republic. Quirino was subsequently released for time spent in jail and his docket sealed by the US authorities and has now launched a programme to recover his assets seized in the DR and to collect on his political and other investments. This is a move on his part fraught with danger but play he must. Click the link and read the letter. Imagine one such letter surfacing in T&T. Wait on it! The Caribbean narco-democracies doesn’t exist only in the minds of those in denial. The story of Paulino Quirino is found in my books: “Cocaine and Heroin Trafficking in the Caribbean Volume 2” and “Cocaine Trafficking in the Caribbean and West Africa in the era of the Mexican cartels” available at Amazon etc.
The Dominican Today February 10, 2015 has published a report where Quirino Paulino has confirmed that he did in fact hand over drug money to then presidential candidate Leonel Fernandez and according to Paulino Fernandez was elected via drug money funding his campaign. What did Fernandez do for the Paulino organisation? T&T wait on it your turn next. Click the link:
Those who delude themselves by believing that my description of the Mexican order of Mexican transnational organised crime (MTNOC) is myth, lies and at best half-truths. Then read the following: “El Sicario an autobiography of an assassin” edited by Mary Molloy and Charles Bowden. “Dreamland” and “Murder City” by Charles Bowden. There are those who insisted that El Sicario was fabricated now the life of the assassin is run of the mill expose for Mexican media. Those who insist in T&T vote for them and we shall rise and vote for them for good governance cannot make real their slogans without grasping this new reality of the Caribbean. Political bi-polar perceptions cannot perceive the worldview that drives MTNOC. Wrap your mind around the discourse of Santa Muerte and the rise of La Raza from the oppression of colonial dominance. Understand the dance with Aztec rituals of the sacredness of blood and understand the orgy of blood-letting by the devotees of Santa Muerte. Denial has failed miserably now deal with what is real.
The manner in which the politicians of T&T have managed the affairs of the energy sector of the T&T economy since independence has never been de-colonised as a result transparency of its operations does not exist. Two gas supply contracts: one between BPTT and the NGC expires in 2017 and the supply contract of gas for Train 1 of the LNG plant at Point Fortin expires in 2019. Key developments in the economy of T&T and the issues at hand are not in the public domain especially given the present price collapse that is impacting the oil and LNG markets of the world. On January 23, 2015 the minister of energy announced in the House of Representatives that a memorandum of understanding will be executed between BPTT and the GORTT concerning the 2017 gas supply contract. BPTT on the same day announced the offer of VSEP to its employees in T&T which points to the issues BPTT have repeatedly raised concerning the pricing of the gas supply to the domestic market in T&T and their inability to sell gas directly to its end users. These developments are all coloured by the fact that since 2010 there is a shortfall of gas to domestic users which is not going away. The reality is that the much touted Juniper project by BPTT will not alleviate the gas shortfall. Hardball geo-politics given the reality of the markets as the new paradigm of energy created by the US shale gas revolution is putting in place a new energy order whilst the politicians of T&T remain trapped in perceptual denial. In the course of the statement of the minister of no energy he made a most interesting and unexplained statement concerning the possible mothballing of Train 1 by ending its gas supply by not renewing the contract to supply gas. As far as I know the Train 1 LNG plant is not owned by the GORTT and people of T&T so its not ours to mothball. Train 1 was granted an income tax holiday by the then UNC government. When does this tax holiday expire? Have the owners of Train 1 indicated that without receipt of gas at a cost which reflects the US shale gas pricing reality then the plant will be mothballed? Have the owners of Train 1 now indicated that given the realities of the US shale gas revolution a gas supply contract must now reflect this reality thereby making the plant competitive? As usual in T&T we the citizens can only guess concerning state policy on energy. Remember BP is a shareholder of and the major gas supplier to Train 1. Over to the minister of no energy. Persons interested in this reality can read my book: “The Geo-Politics of LNG in Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela in the 21st century” by Daurius Figueira available online at Amazon etc. Click on the link for the report on the minister’s statement:
The games continue at a time when the LNG market in Asia for the first quarter 2015 is mired in low demand and oversupply where electricity generating plants with non-LNG fired plants are switching to fuel oil given the collapse in prices and the cutthroat competition for market share. Whilst in Latin America the only new demand for the quarter at present is 13 loads of LNG put out to tender to supply Mexico and the EU is now deeper into the doldrums. BP is then calling the shots in T&T and the political talk about the surety of our gas economy in these market realities is political delusion hoping for a miracle in an election year. Click the link:
Whilst on the oil markets the glut heightens as tight oil production in the US continues to break records as inventories rise and demand grows given the expansion of the US economy and the fall in energy prices. The estimated glut on oil markets of 2 million barrels per day is not decreasing as US production is not slowing yet. The drilling rig count on the shale plays are diminishing and the small or undercapitalised companies are under grave pressure but already the players are lining up to gobble the weak and floundering thereby creating a new order on the shale plays. Watch carefully the emerging shale power of ExxonMobil. The shale revolution is not going away learn to live with it and the House of Saud will soon be forced to learn. Click the link:
In 2014 as the oil price collapsed the initial T&T government response was don’t worry we are a gas based economy then they blinked in January 2015. It is apparent that the initial boast was based on the expectation that Asian LNG prices would continue to be the highest in the world and given the export of LNG from Train 4 to Asia and the different taxation structure governing train 4 the spending spree would have continued with borrowing and sale of state assets to bolster gas revenue. That expectation has proven to be delusional up to the first quarter of 2015. Too much supply chasing lower demand has depressed the LNG price in Asia to below USD 10 per MMBtu and with an estimated shipping cost of USD 2.80 per MMBtu from Trinidad to Japan and the other blows taken from transfer pricing the T&T government’s expected take has taken a grave hit. There is so much supply out there that LNG exports to Maryland and Massachusetts, USA are now booming as suppliers are now willing to take what they get in order to sell their loads. Continuing low demand will soon result in LNG stored in LNG tankers offshore whilst markets are sought. The reality of Asia is the stream of new capacity that is being switched on in close proximity to the Chinese, Japanese and South Korean markets of Asia in Australia, Papua New Guinea and Sakalin, Russia. The price trend of the first quarter of 2015 is now set and this is an election year in which the spending envisaged necessary to winning the next election has already started. The crunch comes when the first quarter taxes become due from the energy companies are due and the ruling politicians see what is due to the government in living colour. Then the mad scramble becomes paranoid delusional. The mad scramble has already commenced on the supply side of the LNG market as with the oil market. Passive players as T&T in both markets simply get played. So much for de-colonisation. Click on the links and read the good news of what is going on in the LNG markets in the 1st quarter of 2015.
The explosion in the trafficking of illicit drugs to the US from the Caribbean especially from the US Caribbean territories of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands has resulted in the creation and publication of the Caribbean Border Counternarcotics Strategy. The alarm bells long going off have now resulted in political action. The US has now recognised the pressing need to undertake for the first time in its policing of its territory need to engage with a narco-trafficking economy and social order in an illicit drug transition zone which happens to be its territory. The strategy outlined in the document certainly does not speak to broken windows policing but to hard core engagement with the aim to dismantle trafficking organisations. The minister of national insecurity of T&T should note this and learn from this reality as I advised in an earlier blog. The document has some glaring gaps in its perception of the trafficking reality of the Caribbean and the central importance of gangland in the Puerto Rican context which must be addressed. Click on the link to access the document.
The official US document names cocaine as the major illicit drug threat being moved through the Caribbean to the US but heroin is also named. Heroin is now increasingly being moved through the Caribbean to the eastern seaboard of the US. The Mexican cartels especially the Sinaloa Federation has a logistics problem to supply the booming, high retail demand for heroin in the north-east US drug markets. When product is crossed from Mexico to the US via the border crossings it has then to be transported from Texas, Arizona etc to say New York. Why depend on this pipeline when you can send the heroin via the Caribbean to the north-east US drug markets? In the 1990s a heroin pipeline which moved product from T&T to Puerto Rico and the US was operational in T&T and was never dismantled by the T&T national security agencies. Non T&T operatives were extradited to the US and that was it. Understand now the interest in T&T exhibited by the Mexican cartels, Cocaine in the US is a sunset product whilst there is now a spreading heroin demand boom as a result of the crackdown on the availability of opiate based pain killers as oxycontin and oxycodone. A kilo of Mexican heroin on wholesale markets sells for USD 50,000 depending on the drug market as in the north-east US the price rises. There is no need to move heroin from the Caribbean to the US via multi-tonne shipments given the value of the product. This is then a product that yields fast wealth accumulation to small traffickers who are affiliates of Mexican cartels. The ideal product for the Caribbean gangland affiliates of the Mexican cartels. To this end click on the link and experience the news story of the heroin interdiction in Belize, a member of CARICOM. Note the quantity, calculate the US wholesale value and visualise this shipment fed into a Caribbean pipeline to the US unlike the speculation of the news report. Never forget and learn from my reality: the wages of my expertise is vagrancy.
February 14, 2015 US ICE reported the interdiction of a mother ship feeding a smaller craft charged with moving illicit product to the coast of Puerto Rico. As the US devotes assets to impacting the illicit drug trade into Puerto Rico trafficking methodologies commonly used in the Caribbean basin will be highlighted the latest being the “mothership connection”. What must be noted is the use of this method from Venezuela up the Caribbean island chain, its use to traffick other illicit products as small arms and the fact that it has gone on for some time without interdiction reported in the Caribbean island chain. US engagement with the illicit trade into Puerto Rico will then highlight realities that US agencies never placed in the public domain previously as the US for the first time engages with an illicit trafficking economy in the Caribbean basin. Learn the lessons well!
In 2006 I published “Cocaine and Heroin Trafficking in the Caribbean” Volume 2 which wrote of the new reality of a transnational illicit small arms trade under the control of the transnational drug trafficking organisations that since the decade of the 1990s was flooding the Caribbean with illicit small arms. After much hand wringing by successive governments nothing has been done to dismantle this illicit trade in the Caribbean and today it has evolved to the era of Pax Mexicana. I am bringing you two instances of the reality of the trade today in the Caribbean. In 2013 in St Kitts two automatic assault rifles were interdicted but both assault rifles were reworked by a gunsmith who removed the stock rifle barrel and replaced them with chrome plated shortened barrels. Reconfiguring these assault weapons for close quarters urban engagement capable of eating the standard vests issued to Caribbean police officers. On January 12, 2015 on the TV 6 program “Beyond the Tape” the interdiction of an AR 15 automatic assault rifle with a chrome plated short barrel and an extended ammunition clip was aired. There is then a transnational organised crime enterprise that is supplying the same weapons to St Kitts and T&T. The possible alternate explanations are not real especially since all of the assault rifles are manufactured outside of the Caribbean. Never forget: the wages of my expertise is vagrancy. Click on the St Kitts link first and watch the fire power in St Kitts.
The attacker of the Paris supermarket left an interview for posterity which reveals a discourse that has motivated persons from Trinidad and Tobago to travel from T&T to the lands of Islamic State. But not all motivated by this said discourse perform the hijrah to the lands of IS there are those who remain in the land of the kuffar. But what of those who return from the lands of IS to T&T what do they intend to do in the land of the kuffar? A repeat of Paris 2015. Over to you minister of national insecurity! How can you monitor the activities of individuals and groups when you don’t understand the nature of the worldview and the discourses generated that motivate these individuals and groups? You are Salafi Jihadi/Takfiri ignorant. Click the link and experience the discourse.
A video from Vice News reportedly displays the illicit drug stash of an IS commander who was killed in battle. The link between IS and the drug trafficking organisations of the Caribbean and Brazil is now becoming manifest. I wrote and published in 2004 a long, long time ago Islamic extremists seeking to fund their activities have long established an operational presence in the Caribbean and Latin American drug trade. Today in Beirut, Lebanon it is now apparent that Lebanon is part of the West African and Brazilian pipelines moving cocaine into this area. From Lebanon it is a short trip to the dealers of IS. The dominant reason for the operational presence in the Caribbean and Latin America is the illicit trades but those bent on military engagement can utilise the illicit pipeline for their own purpose. That is the price we will pay for having these pipelines operating with impunity. Never forget Paris 2015.
I have previously posted on the two children one of whom is a US citizen who left T&T without their father’s consent as the parent with sole custody granted by the Courts of T&T. The father subsequently reported that the US Embassy Trinidad reported that the US citizen was traced to an entry in the Netherlands, EU and subsequently disappeared. The question for the minister of national insecurity is how does a US citizen with his father holding his valid US passport acquire a valid and legal travel document to leave T&T and enter The Netherlands? Can this process happen in the reverse thereby allowing insurgents to acquire T&T documents that allow the freedom to live and operate in T&T?
The 2015 budget has been revised but it is clearly apparent that spending envisaged as key to winning the next general elections will continue by any means necessary. The question then is : if victory then what? Readers should be exposed to what those in the energy industry of the north are saying and as such click on the links in the order presented and experience the discourse of the North and understand that a new energy paradigm is being created with its new brand of geopolitics. In this new reality T&T is simply naked in the cold wind as nothing has been done since 2010 to address this reality and prepare T&T for survival in this new reality. It is the UNC that bought T&T into the old, failed paradigm in 1995 and in 2015 has done nothing to extricate T&T from the dead paradigm. The first reality is the strategy of the Saudis and the Arab Emirates. They are not cutting production regardless of the oil glut. They are insisting that low oil prices will in fact breathe life into stagnant economies and subsequently raise demand. In the interim they will protect their market share by any means necessary. The question is: what if there is no economic upswing to raise demand?
The hot market for LNG last year was Asia but in the second half of 2014 signs of slowdown in demand became apparent even as supply was rising. The dramatic fall in oil prices has brought down LNG prices in Asia whilst the EU is in the skids except Germany for now. The reality today is rising supply of LNG and prices now below 10USD per MMbtu in Asia whilst capacity continues to expand especially in Australia. The core question for T&T is then: what is our take from LNG production in T&T? Are we as a people collecting a just and equitable take from the exploitation of our wasting asset?
The 800 pound gorilla in the energy room today is the US as the US has impacted both the oil and gas markets of the world with its shale gas/tight oil/shale oil revolution. The geopolitics of this revolution demands that the US energy revolution survive the present glut as it rolls out the new order. The US revolution impacts us with competitive access to US energy markets and when the US becomes an oil/LNG exporter there will be the impact on the markets we export to. This is an intractable series of problems we now face as a nation as the energy paradigm implemented in the 1990s is now in tatters. This was a paradigm bought into by the T&T politicians peddled by the north now the north is the agent of our demise. Such is life when you fail to de-colonise your mind.
Throughout the Caribbean the issue is not that we have a crime problem but the reality that we have an intractable problem with POLICING the social order. The core issue is then ensuring policing is now responding to reality on the ground not reality as framed by the politicians and the managerial elite of Caribbean policing including T&T. To grapple with the present reality in Trinidad and Tobago it is necessary to follow what is going on in other Caribbean states. It is instructive that January 2015 in Jamaica has commenced with an alarming increase in the murder rate compared to January 2014 with the areas of Spanish Town/St. Catherine and Montego Bay/St. James being the hottest areas of activity which are in the past the areas of acute gang engagement and intense illicit drug trafficking activity. Given the fact that Jamaica is now part of the pipeline that links Honduras, Guatemala and other Central American states to the north Caribbean pipeline there is now a monetary reason to go to war until the Order of the pipeline is hegemonic on the ground. In 2014 the Jamaican Constabulary reported a dramatic decline in gang related murders and a rise in non-gang murders pointing to a north Caribbean pipeline induced feeding frenzy. What is the reality in Jamaica is the continued failure to dismantle organised crime groups linked to the pipeline. This failure of policing leaves Jamaica at the mercy of the evolution of the pipeline and the violence derived from this evolution. The problem is then POLICING. The Dominican Republic the hub of the north Caribbean pipeline is presently playing the politics of dealing with a major instance of corruption within its anti drug agency. Which is yet another potent indicator of the endemic corruption that drives the state institutions of the DR and the impunity drug traffickers enjoy in the DR. The issue again is then POLICING. Nothing is uniquely different in T&T. The core issue here is the failure of policing to respond to the 21st century reality of crime in T&T. For this failure the managerial elite of the T&T Police Service has to accept full blame. If the politicians of T&T stymie all requests to carry the service into the 21st century then the managerial elite must inform the nation of this reality. This is not being political this is being responsible to the nation you have pledged to defend. The colonial order supposedly died in August 1962 but it never did and it is the duty of those charged with national security to put politicians in their place. Managerial incompetence and corruption destroys the ability of any state institution to respond to the threats posed by the Caribbean illicit drug trade in the 21st century. There is no breathing space to act now means we are already late. Click on the links and experience the discourse of weakness sends the right message to Pax Mexicana.