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.

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