Caribbean Basin Homicide Rates 2020: the case of Trinidad and Tobago

Rank 2020 Homicide Rate……………………Rank 2019 Homicide Rate

1. US Virgin Islands 45.00………………………….3. 40.50

2. Jamaica 43.93…………………………………….2. 44.87

3. Honduras 35.29……………………………………1. 46.26

4. St Lucia 30.49…………………………………….6. 26.80

5. St Vincent & the Grenadines 29.74………………9. 21.70

6. Trinidad and Tobago 28.29……………………….4. 38.13

7. Belize 25.65………………………………………5. 32.80

8. Colombia 23.61……………………………………7. 25.48

9. St Kitts & Nevis 18.79…………………………..11. 20.84

10. The Bahamas 18.56……………………………..8. 24.68

11. Puerto Rico 18.49………………………………21. 9.93

12. Guatemala 14.36……………………………….12. 20.36

13. Barbados 14.26…………………………………13. 17.04

14. Venezuela 13……………………………………10. 21

15. Haiti 12.10………………………………………22. 9.59

16. Panama 11.51…………………………………..18. 11.17

17. Costa Rica 11.16…………………………………19. 11.08

18. Antigua & Barbuda 9.19…………………………27. 3.12

19. Curacao 7.92…………………………………….17. 11.87

20. Guadeloupe 5.74…………………………………No Score

In 2019 Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) was fourth in the ranking and second in CARICOM with 38.13 homicides per 100,000 persons which fell in 2020 to 28.29 per 100,000 persons with a ranking of sixth overall and fourth in CARICOM. This dramatic fall in the homicide rate in T&T in 2020 has been attributed to various factors as excellent policing and the Covid-19 lock-down but the reality on the ground especially in the illicit rades is never factored into official explanations for this dramatic fall in homicides which is accelerating in the first quarter of 2021.

In 2020 the Ganja Wars that drove the blood-lust in Gangland suddenly died and especially after June 30, 2020 the blood letting in Gangland began to markedly decrease whilst the ganja markets became flooded with product, prices stabilized and the glaring gap between supply and demand narrowed. During 2020 demand for ganja markedly increased as we burned our way through lock-down by drawing on the herb but there was no shortage of supply, no price gouging and most of all, no Ganja Wars. In 2017, 2018 and 2019 with market demand at this level the streets of Gangland would have been stained red with blood instead in 2020 the focus was not on killing for a half pound but earning, generating wealth. The volume of illicit imports exploded but the seizures in 2020 in no way reflected the volume of product that was entering T&T in fact the seizures knocked off low level functionaries whilst the players operated with the necessary space to grow richer. Illicit imports of cocaine also exploded but not for local consumption as this is a sunset market but for export to Europe as T&T is a fast developing transshipment point of note in the Caribbean island chain.

The remand yard is not filled with the players of Gangland nor of the illicit trades which raises the question of how did effective policing lower the homicide rate in 2020? The seizures made of ganja and cocaine in 2020 do not account for even 2% of the volume imported into T&T in 2020 especially for ganja as demand exploded as we self-medicated in response to the lock-down depression. Covid heightened demand and certainly did not stop imports in fact it aided imports, so how did Covid reduce the homicide rate in 2020?

The fundamental question is what was intrinsically different on the ground in 2020 that was absent in 2017, 2018 and 2019? In the run up to the second decade of the 21st Century a federation of specific players was formed with the specific intent to exert hegemony over the ganja market of T&T, expand their operations to become players of note in the transshipment of cocaine and heroin from T&T and control the export of homegrown ganja from T&T. This federation was connected to Colombian paramilitary Capos and the members of the federation were desirous of becoming the Capos of T&T with Caribbean rank. In their quest for hegemony this federation unleashed on T&T in the second decade of the 21st Century the most intense period of blood letting in our history especially from 2017 to 2019 with the Ganja Wars. Between 2018 to 2019 four players of the federation were silenced along with vassals of the Colombian Capos in the Venezuelan migrant community. The Megalodon signaled its operational hegemony in T&T formally on June 30th, 2020 and thereafter the homicide rate began to decline in spite of repeated efforts to trigger the tit for tat wars again as the reef sharks now turned into sardines refused to admit that there was now a new order, The Rule was now hegemonic on the ground.

Transnational organized crime, the MTTOs, gave a gift to the elected and non-elected politicians of T&T which enables them to beat their chest boasting of the success of their war on crime whilst the MTTOs are quickly and efficiently turning T&T into an apes transshipment point of the Southern Caribbean. If in 2021 the homicide rate falls to the low 20’s or less than 20 per 100,000 we will have attained the homicide rate for the apex trafficking points of the Caribbean Basin which is the most potent indicator of the hegemony of The Rule of the ground, the hegemony of the Megalodon and its Great White affiliates. Under The Rule the terrain of crime in T&T will drastically change as the blood letting wanes with the emphasis now on earning not killing. The assault on automatic teller machine facilities without the dismantling of this organized crime group is one sign, The acute shortage of foreign exchange on the licit and illicit markets will indicate the power of The Rule as their business is selling product for USD and Euro around the world. Businesses defined as strategic by The Rule and in dire need of foreign exchange will be presented with a very attractive proposal where The Rule ends up as the silent partner and the recipient is the straw man of The Rule, their bitch. The Rule will then become a player in the private sector, making investments which the politicians, elected and non-elected will beat their chest and boast how they made T&T safe for investment. This is the Dominican Republic and Mexican model of development where the national security apparatus is incapable of responding effectively to the threat posed by transnational, globalized organized crime, for they are constituted as instruments of power to ensure social control. Hammers can only see nails. You sow the wind, you reap the whirlwind! Pax Mexicana.

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