Monthly Archives: August 2015

The Link between Barbados and the Pipeline

During the decade of the 1990s and the first decade of the 21st century some Barbadians insisted that they were unique in the Caribbean island chain as the gun violence, gang violence and drug trafficking plaguing the Caribbean island chain had by-passed Barbadian society. The discourse insisted that Barbadian values had insulated the Barbadian social order from these plagues. In 2015 the plagues are now sweeping Barbadian society and they will get progressively worse as Barbados has now been switched on by the Mexican trafficking organisations (MTOs) to evolve into an export trafficking node and a booming consumer drug market. This is so because of the evolution of the Eastern Caribbean trafficking pipeline. Barbados is the furthest landmass of the Caribbean island chain jutting out into the North Atlantic hence it is a stop over point for product from South America heading to the Eastern Caribbean pipeline and for the routes to West Africa. The mainstay of the Barbadian economy is tourism and as a result Barbados is well connected via air links to Europe and

North America. The tourist industry provides perfect cover for the recruitment of mules and swallowers from North America and Europe to traffick product from Barbados to their continents of origin. Then there are the airline personnel and the air planes and there is containerised cargo. Barbadian local drug markets are now in the process of consolidation and growth as a tsunami of product floods Barbados  creating a new order on the ground. Groups that were favoured drug retailers/small time wholesalers previously and have found themselves cut off from access to the new supply pipeline controlled by affiliates of the MTOs are now faced with a choice: surrender the power they once wielded and get with the programme or resort to violence and pay the ultimate price. Whilst this power relation is being resolved a wave of persons seeking access to product given the volume available create a feeding frenzy as those at the back of the line resort to violent predatory actions to acquire product with the concomitant violent retaliation. The arms trafficking of the MTOs into Barbados changes the fundamental power structure of the Barbadian social order as an arms race on the ground is already evident and the violent, armed predator who kills for personal power trips has appeared. The Barbadian gang order will rapidly evolve as the MTOs recruit Barbadian gangland affiliates who gain access to the drug and arms pipelines of the MTOs and become transnational trafficking organisations themselves. At this point the Barbadian gangland affiliates have already ensured their hegemony over Barbadian gangland and Barbados has entered the phase of a developed trafficking node according to the model of the MTOs. The issue then is not the decline of family values and households without fathers the problem is a vibrant, billion dollar industry that is allowed to grow and thrive in the Caribbean with impunity. Impunity that is the most potent recruitment tool. Impunity sold by those charged with protecting the state. You sow the wind and you reap the whirlwind. Pax Mexicana. Click the links and note the repeat of the failure of other Caribbean islands: the refusal to deal with the illicit drug trafficking reality in public, the politicisation of crime, the placing of blame on victims rather than on the those who manage the illicit trade on a daily basis and the hand wringing. Which means nothing will be done to address the illicit trade. We now welcome Barbados to the ranks of Caribbean narco states.


T&T’s falure to act in context


Study the map of the Caribbean and note the proximity of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands to the Leeward and Windward islands creating a veritable chain of islands stretching from T&T to the US Virgin islands and Puerto Rico. Then add to this geographical reality the fact that this island chain is unprotected militarily commensurate with the threat posed by drug trafficking organisations (DTOs). This island chain is then a traffickers paradise that is laden with opportunities to move illicit drugs and illegal migrants to the US territories in the island chain: Puerto Rico and the US Virgin islands. Note the number of territories in this island chain that are connected to member countries of the European Union (EU). There are French overseas departments and territories: Martinique, Guadeloupe, St Barts and St Martin, there are British overseas territories as Montserrat, Anguilla and the British Virgin islands and islands linked to Holland as Sint Maarten, Saba and St Eustatius. Each of these islands are jump off points for trafficking to the EU and all of these islands are not adequately protected against the threat of the DTOs. This Eastern Caribbean pipeline is today the least protected area of the Caribbean island chain and is now poised to explode as a premier trafficking node of the Caribbean island chain because of the strategy of the Mexican trafficking organisations to  move illicit product especially heroin to the north-east USA hence the assault on Puerto Rico and the US Virgin islands. Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) unlike no other island member of the pipeline straddle some of the maritime supply routes of the pipeline as product flows via the ocean routes from Venezuela, Colombia, Guyana and Suriname into the pipeline. A viable maritime/air force based in T&T presents a threat to the low cost trafficking operations moving product into the pipeline. A joint naval/air force comprising T&T, Venezuela and Barbados can in fact change the cost structure of trafficking to entry points of the pipeline. The decision to acquire naval assets by T&T in 2009 was late in  coming in light of an already operational pipeline. The decision to not acquire and to have five years elapse without assets in the water was/is disastrous for T&T and a gift to the DTOs. The pipeline has evolved in the five year hiatus with countermeasures already in place to render meaningless the effectiveness of the  military assets finally acquired by T&T. The vessels acquired will only pick off the small independent traffickers thereby enhancing the hegemony of the Mexican organisations over the Caribbean illicit drug markets whilst the interdictions are touted as being blows against the trade. The reality is that the vessels acquired by T&T even before being deployed as a fleet are irrelevant to the evolution of the pipeline. Study the map and note that the largest economy in the Caribbean island chain is placed strategically along the supply entry points to the pipeline. Why isn’t the Mexican organisations organisations active then in this strategically important twin islands? Denial says God is a Trini that’s why. Reality says you can only see when you know what to look for. Pax Mexicana.

The trafficking reality in the Caribbean denied by T&T

MARTILLO rollup copy

The US government made it clear to the governments of the nations of the Eastern and Southern Caribbean in the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century that it was no longer stationing its military assets to assault the drug trade in these areas of the Caribbean. Given budgetary constraints and the need to retire and replace assets the US will now concentrate its assets in the Caribbean to interdict drug shipments from South America to Central America and shipments to the greater Antilles as the DR and Puerto Rico under the operational structure of Operation Martillo. Members of the EU followed the US and joined operation martillo. The eastern and southern Caribbean were then left naked in the world of Caribbean drug trafficking and the void created will be effectively exploited by the Mexican trafficking organisations. The message of the US and the EU was then loudly clear: pick up your bed and walk, help yourself and now is the time to finally implement joint action rather than gum bumping for years and no action. T&T decided to act by purchasing new military/naval assets which was supposed to be an effective response to the reality of void. The new government of 2010 in T&T refused to admit that a void now exists and that this void is a grave threat to the security of T&T. The PP government insisted that T&T must protect its shallow water/coastal zones and the vessels ordered and purchased by the PNM government were defective and unsuitable for T&T’s operational environment. But for a considerable length of time in Caribbean drug trafficking reality replacement assets were not purchased and commissioned intensifying the void as it evolved and the fleet of vessels today  is still not in service. This failure to respond immediately to the void is a grave failure of the PP government that has placed T&T is a most perilous position. The issue of primary importance is the nature of the response to the void. The response is only relevant when assets are acquired informed by a knowledge base that understands the operational strategies of Caribbean drug traffickers. It is simply a waste of resources to acquire coastal patrol assets when the containerised cargo of T&T is the major means of entry and our ports are wide open for business. As the jail break illustrated shiny toys mean nothing when our institutions are penetrated and open for business. The void has evolved and now the eastern Caribbean is a full fledged trafficking node moving product to Puerto  Rico, US Virgin Islands and the DR in addition to Europe, the US and Canada. Whilst there is an explosion in human smuggling which has forced the US to now respond as migrants are being moved from eastern Caribbean islands to Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands such as Cubans and migrants from Syria. T&T is now geographically placed in a trafficking high intensity transition zone and the question that must be answered is how long before T&T comes under assault to become the premier drug trafficking node in the English speaking Caribbean? Our energy based economy and the extensive logistic network that integrates the T&T economy into the globalised world call out to the Mexican organisations saying use me. An attempt was made to do the same in the 1990s and early 2000s which failed because of poor planing but today the Mexican organisations don’t make such petty mistakes. The failure to respond to the void and the evolution of the void will now set in train T&T’s apocalypse now. Ask the Mexicans the question of when. Ask the Mexicans if the fleet purchased presents a grave danger to their operations. They might just answer and say can this fleet deal with what is depicted in the photo in this blog? Remember what is depicted is only the bread and butter of the trade the specialist vessels are the issue and what of our fleet of aircraft?