Crime is a Drug Trade Issue NOT a Public health issue

Crime as a public health issue in CARICOM

The April 2023 two day event in T&T was convened to have governments within CARICOM work out and present an action plan to deal with an epidemic of gun violence especially in Jamaica, T&T, St Lucia, St Vincent and The Bahamas. The public releases of the CARICOM heads reveal a body of ruling politicians whose depiction of CARICOM reality on the ground reeks of denial which casts grave doubts on the efficacy of the intervention they have proposed.

The discourse of crime as a public health issue is straight out of the North Atlantic neo-liberal playbook on crime, especially that of the USA, but the politicians rejected the intervention prescribed by the 21st century neo-liberal playbook choosing instead to go with a 1990s neo-liberal intervention devised by the war on drugs to handle the crack epidemic. This intervention failed miserably in the USA where it was created and during the late 20th and early 21st century it was applied in T&T and it also failed miserably. We have then once again embraced a failed prescription with no efficacy for the sake of political expediency and deflection. Same old wine in old wine skins which has long gone sour.

The only new initiative was not the product of action by a CARICON nation but Mexico, as per usual we are devoid of innovation in our governance, just copycats and riding other peoples bandwagons. The CARICOM group called on the USA to tighten its border controls to stem the flow of illicit guns into the Caribbean, shifting blame to the US for the grinding failure of the politicians to bring our agencies of border security kicking and screaming into the 21st century. In T&T today Customs & Excise is gutted and unable to mitigate the transnational organised crime threat posed in the 1980s much less for the 21st century. But whilst our barns burn and the horses have bolted we twiddle our political thumbs and call on the USA to solve our problem. If the USA closes down on the illicit gun supply, transnational organised crime has a series of supply pipelines to fall back on already operational in the Caribbean basin, it is called built in obsolescence and Pax Mexicana is a committed practitioner of this principle. But the USA cannot close this trade completely down to reduce gun violence in CARICOM to tolerable levels, just as they cannot close down the illicit drug trade.

The glaring deficiency of the discourse of the CARICOM crime symposium was the refusal to embrace the reality that the products of transnational organised crime (TOC) in the Caribbean with its premier illicit trades of drugs, guns, human and cash money smuggling have relentlessly degraded social control in specific CARICOM states marred with escalating gun violence, with its alternate culture and value system which have adherents throughout the structure of the social order. From the drug trafficking oligarchs, to the local launderers, the front businesses, the persons who sell impunity to the smugglers and launderers and Gangland created by transnational organised crime to serve transnational organised crime and the in-betweeners who flirt from the legal to illegal realms. To fail to accept that transnational organised crime and uts nexus of illicit trades, violence and the rule of survival of the fittest that has degraded our mores, values, ethics, morals and spirituality is NOT the driving force, the locomotive of our collapse as a social order, means that your intervention is addressing a reality that is not present on the ground, only in your minds and those of your advisors, you are simply playing us while there are those who are expecting a difference to be made by the ruling politicians. The two day symposium will then make no impact on the operations of transnational organised crime in T&T and CARICOM, which leave us naked to answer the pressing question if in T&T in 2023 we will surpass the murder toll of 605 of 2022. For fear is our daily reality aided and abetted by a political system in stasis induced by the politics of race.

The terrain of transnational organised crime and its impact on the social orders of Jamaica, T&T, St Lucia and St Vincent today is instructive and its lessons must be heeded if we are intent on arresting the escalation of gun violence in CARICOM.

Jamaica is now switched on as a growing trafficking point in the Greater Antilles for cocaine. Cocaine transiting Jamaica has now joined with the growth and export of ganja. Jamaica is joined to Colombia, Venezuela and more importantly Honduras by trafficking pipelines. Jamaican TOC has an organic relationship with Haitian TOC involving ganja, cocaine and weapons. Jamaican and Haitian TOC in the USA are adept at smuggling product into the USA and weapons and other products into the Caribbean.

T&T is the first stop on west to east pipelines along the Venezuelan Caribbean coast and the first stop on the Eastern Caribbean Trafficking Pipeline heading to the Greater Antilles. Ganja, cocaine, heroin, synthetic drugs, weapons, and humans are dropped off for local use and transshipment via any and all means available. T&T is also a strategic stop for refueling for the run north. The Colombian business model dominant in T&T since the 1960s is now dominated by Pax Mexicana which generated the tsunami of gun violence from 2017 to the present. This war accounted for the sourcing of AR-15s in the USA by those who found themselves losing the arms race with Pax Mexicana.

St Lucia and St Vincent are both impacted by the dual pipeline linking Martinique to France/Europe. Cocaine flows to France and Moroccan hashish and weapons flow to Martinique. St Lucia is linked to Martinique via the Colombian business model but this has been replaced by Moroccan TOC with new rules which generated the violence in St Lucia which is a battle for hegemony. Moroccan hashish is smuggled to the USA and possession of this prized product generates the violence in St Vincent.

For the first 4 months of 2023 in T&T the monthly murder toll eclipsed that of every one of the first four months of 2022. What is painfully obvious in as in the rest of CARICOM is the collapse of social control and the creeping anarchy of a state of proto civil war that in T&T is now being fanned by the failed political system with their knee jerk racist hegemonist discourse to hopefully deflect and deny the legacy bequeathed to us by the politics of race : the chronic inability to deal with TOC groups and mitigate their impact on the social order of T&T. The same reality applies to CARICOM. Pax Mexicana!!!

There is now a human smuggling pipeline as follows: Pakistan, Turkey, T&T, then illegally entering Venezuela at Sucre state via the maxi peneros that run back and forth night and day without hindrance from the T&T Coast Guard. TOC at its best. Pax Mexicana!!!

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