Monthly Archives: June 2017

Cocaine from Trinidad and Tobago seized at Toronto Pearson International Airport

48 kilos of Cocaine from T&T at Toronto Pearson International Airport on June 14, 2017 reported that on May 5 CBSA officers screening an aircraft cargo container that arrived on a flight from T&T at the Toronto Pearson international airport seized 38 bricks weighing 48 kilos of cocaine. The news report stated that the 38 bricks of cocaine were discovered beneath the false floor of an airline cargo container which meant that a floor was placed over the container’s floor with the space to allow the 38 kilos to be placed and sealed in for smuggling. A picture of the kilo bricks in the news report indicates that the bricks are not the standard kilo bricks of the trade as they were repacked and packaged to weigh more than the industry standard kilo of cocaine to maximise the quantum of cocaine that can be trafficked to Canada in the space created by the false floor of the cargo container. Hence 38 bricks weighing 48 kilos of cocaine. This is no fly by night piddling trafficking operation out of Piarco international airport, Trinidad as the resources and the impunity demanded by this operation means it is an ongoing smuggling operation with multiple destinations and the security of the airport is in tatters. To fabricate the container, mix it in with other containers, load the cocaine shipment on it, ensure that it is loaded on the designated flight with the entire operation enjoying impunity means that the entire ground handling operation is compromised and much worse the security system charged with monitoring all interactions between humans and airplanes is filled with operational and surveillance holes through which grave threats to safety and security will pass with impunity. This is but another instance of the escalating pace of integration of T&T into the present dominant trafficking structures of the Caribbean today where the depth of globalisation of T&T as a trafficking point has intensified and will continue to do so where the model is the Dominican Republic. T&T has been switched on. The recent murder of the nationals of Venezuela and the Dominican Republic and the ongoing war that commenced in 2011 within the recent arrival group of Chinese from the Peoples Republic of China are simply illustrations of this underlying reality and its impact on the social order.

From the Madrid attack of 2002 to Berlin 2016 Europe has illustrated repeatedly the ability of those intent on attacking the social order can effectively and will use the markets and pipelines of the illicit trades to enable these attacks. To have your largest international airport compromised is in fact a beacon to those intent on entering/returning to T&T intent on making war that impunity is for sale and T&T is open for business. This is a beacon of hope for those intent on making war but in T&T there are a number of beacons like the pipeline across the Gulf of Paria!


The Reality of the Parallel Foreign Exchange Market of Trinidad and Tobago

The Reality of Sourcing US Dollars on the Alternate Market of Trinidad and Tobago

The Business Guardian of June 8, 2017 on page 3 presented the foreign exchange reality of and the counter strategy to satisfy the weekly US Dollar demand of a player in the production and supply of the dominant source of consumed animal protein in T&T. It was revealed that the weekly demand for USD of this single player was between USD 600,000 to USD 700,000 of which the licit forex dealers supplied 25% of the USD demand, with another 25% supplied by the licit forex dealers in the form of Euros leaving some 40% to 50% of the weekly demand of USD to be supplied by “other” sources or the alternate forex market of T&T. The testimony of the player in the article confirms the existence of an alternate forex market and the fact that a strategic private sector entity is now forced to access this market on a weekly basis simply because of the inability of the licit market to quench demand for forex. The licit economy is then forced to deal with the alternate market and the state apparatus is in fact legitimising the alternate market by granting it expanding operational space.

What then is the structure of the supply of USD on the alternate market that enables the sale of some USD 300,000 per week to a single player on a sustainable basis? The key is sustainability! It is most obvious to those not in denial that the illicit trades must be part of this alternate market not because they need to turn the USD they earn from their export trade into T&TD but because they choose to do so to gain strategic advantages in the social order of T&T thereby deepening their power wielded over the social order. USD sourced from the transnational traffickers and their affiliates will be of the required sustainable volume and availability to have the buyers become ultimately dependent on this source and at the right time the buyer can and will become an employee as the supplier moves to take control of the enterprise. By buying their USD through the intermediaries/straw men they utilise in such markets you inevitably become tied into a nexus where there is no amicable separation or severance. There is no separation save with death and you are eternally grateful and forever waiting for the next shoe to drop for this is the way “The Game” is played as you are a rule taker not a rule maker. There is no way you can verify the source of the USD save and except you the buyer is already in “The Game. Once a target identified by the strategic plan of the transnational organisation and enters the market you are the fly in the huge sticky web of the transnational spider. Don’t lose your head! The other market suppliers are the proceeds from corruption and the earnings of small players in the illicit trades which cannot guarantee being the sustainable supply demanded by the private sector. Likewise, remittances of USD that have bypassed the licit sector is not up to the task. Already the USD cash shipments interdicted illustrate the existence of the flow of smuggled USD cash which is vital to the entry and dominance of the transnational traffickers of the alternate forex market. As long as it’s strategic to the operational plan of the transnational traffickers they will enter, expand supply and exercise hegemony over the alternate forex market of T&T and in so doing expand and deepen their presence and power over sectors of the licit economy of T&T which will further impact the social order of T&T. This is the next stage in the replication of the model of the Dominican Republic in T&T! This then is the strategic imperative that will drive entry and hegemony. Pax Mexicana!

Venezuela’s Position on the Supply of Dragon Gas to Trinidad and Tobago (T&T)

Venezuela’s Position on the supply of Dragon gas to Trinidad and Tobago

In a news report dated March 16, 2017 on the PDVSA website in Spanish stated that the Framework Agreement for the supply of natural gas to T&T was signed in Caracas. This agreement has as its parameter the building, operation and maintenance of a pipeline connecting the Dragon field Venezuela to the Hibiscus field T&T some 30 kilometres long. The report stated that a special project vehicle constructed as a joint venture was signed between NGC of T&T and Shell international at the said meeting in Caracas. It was reported that Luis Prado signed for Shell. The report states that Minister Martinez of Venezuela indicated that Shell will construct the infrastructure necessary in T&T to receive the gas from Venezuela and that the Dragon gas deal involves the negotiation and finalisation of an agreement between three parties to the mutual benefit of all three: Venezuela, T&T and Shell. Minister Young of T&T in the report describes Shell as a “collaborating partner”.

A news report dated March 31, 2017 on the PDVSA website in Spanish reported that representatives of Shell and the NGC had visited Guiria to confirm that that the mechanical completion of the submarine infrastructure of the Dragon field was in fact realised. Necessary for completing the project to supply 300 million cubic feet of dry gas to T&T. The joint coordinating commission formed in T&T comprises Venezuela, NGC and Shell was reported by the news report.

A news report dated May 17, 2017 on the PDVSA website in Spanish reported that PDVSA and Shell held a meeting in Venezuela to discuss matters concerning the gas supply from Dragon to T&T with no member of the NGC and the T&T government mentioned as being present at this meeting in the news story. The president of PDVSA and the president and vice-president of PDVSA Gas were there along with Luis Prado president of Shell Venezuela and T&T and the Shell representative for the Americas and Africa but no mention of NGC representation. The news stated that the PDVSA and Shell officials discussed gas prices, gas volumes and the point of interconnection between the Dragon field gas supply and the pipeline to T&T. The vice-president of PDVSA indicated that they are presently reviewing the gas export base of the field, they have received proposals to complete the project and to increase production from the field to enable an increased gas supply to T&T. The meeting also discussed the joint venture Shell has with PDVSA, the Petroregional del Lago project which is a land based oil producing joint venture project.

Shell has then irons in the fire with the prime agenda being the Petroregional del Lago project as Venezuela needs to raise oil production and PDVSA simply doesn’t have the cash to spend to bring about this increase. On del Lago Shell then announces its intention to invest USD 400 million in the venture and its now Maduro’s sweet heart on both sides of the border. What is Shell’s locus standi in this Dragon gas supply project? Is Shell negotiating gas prices and volumes with PDVSA in our absence simply because Venezuela is selling the gas to Shell who is then selling it to the NGC? Is Shell building the necessary infrastructure in T&T waters in keeping with the task of being the vendor for Dragon gas to the NGC? The news report of March 16, 2017 stated that gas from Dragon will be going to the LNG plant in T&T. The power relations of the geopolitics of the gas supply between Venezuela and T&T are not in T&T’s favour unlike the deal with Aruba and the key to these power relations is Venezuela’s gambit. What does Venezuela intend to achieve in its favour that redounds to the benefit of Maduro with this gas supply deal is the primary question that must be answered realistically. When PDVSA sits in a room with Shell and negotiates only with Shell it’s also negotiating with the largest single shareholder of Atlantic and the Dragon field is a very small field in the arsenal of offshore gas plays of Venezuela. The people of T&T remain in the dark on this reality as we did with the deal negotiated for trains 1 to 3 at Atlantic LNG and as always we’re left holding the dirty end of the stick as the gas economy has become unstuck.