Tag Archives: drug trade

St Vincent and the Grenadines, Gun Crimes, Murder and the Eastern Caribbean Trafficking Pipeline (ECTP)

In 2016 St Vincent and the Grenadines (StV&G) recorded 40 murders for a murder rate of 36.482 which paints a picture in which gun violence is present and illustrated not only by the number of murders as a result of gun violence but also the number of shootings which did not result in death. The month of September 2017 was a particularly bloody month which spilled over into October 2017 but at a reduced pace. There were 9 murders in September with four persons surviving being shot with 7 persons killed in the final nine days of September. An analysis of the nine murders and shootings reveal the prosecution of a war on the ground for hegemony over the illicit economy of StV&G in which innocent bystanders are viewed as collateral damage. What is noteworthy is the willingness to shoot to death women gangland execution style and in the pursuit of their target to shoot women in the company of their target. One development in September 2017 that must be noted is the murder of a young female by a group of females in a home invasion of the victim’s family home murdering her in full view of her family. This is another murder that reeks of gangland modus operandi/styling and it’s a development that must be closely monitored in StV&G as it involved young females. What is noteworthy amongst the gangland shootings is the taking out of persons who were known break and enter and robbery artistes including those who recently exited the prison system. Usually this points to the possibility of taking what is not yours as a quantity of drugs, guns and cash etc. and the tit for tat killings roll out in gangland which provides the excuse for a power grab. In October 2017 the gunfire from 4 masked gunmen on the patrons of the Road Side Bar at Diamond resulted in 8 shot with one subsequent death as a result and 40 spent shells were recovered from the scene. From reports of the shootings and murder events the gunmen/shooters are all masked, they arrive on the scene in motor vehicles without number plates or they simply walk up to their targets do the job and walk away. The Diamond shootings were then a message sent to those who controlled the Diamond turf that it was now contested turf. The number of murders as at October 2017 at the time of writing was 33.




Prime Minister and Minister of National Security Dr Ralph Gonsalves in response to the Diamond shootings stated that there are 5 “associational groupings with criminal activity” in StV&G. The Prime Minister listed the operational bases of the associational groupings as follows: the electoral constituency of East St George, three in the Kingstown conurbation including the areas of Ottley Hall, Edinboro and Sharpes and in the South Leeward constituency. The Prime Minister stated that these 5 groups are in competition with each other in various spheres of activity and in the course of this battle for dominance these groups will contract foreign personnel to prosecute the war against their competitors. Prime Minister Gonsalves is then blaming the 5 organised crime groups of StV&G for the gun violence that has targeted those assets marked for elimination and the innocent bystanders who are the collateral damage of this war for hegemony. Prime Minister Gonsalves speaking on the issue of the illicit small arms and ammunition trade into StV&G stated that there are multiple points of origin of illicit arms entering StV&G but those he mentioned were: the USA, Colombia, Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago. The Prime Minister’s position therefore raises the question of the volume of the trade and the capacity of the state to interdict the arms flow to the extent to impact the operational capacity of the 5 organised crime groups.



The reality of StV&G has to be placed in the context of the Eastern Caribbean Trafficking Pipeline (ECTP) and the special position of StV&G in this trafficking pipeline. The ECTP was created to move cocaine and heroin up the Eastern Caribbean island chain to Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands with an ancillary flow of cocaine into the French overseas departments and British colonies. Venezuela, Guyana and Suriname are the jump off transition zones of the pipeline with sea vessels being the dominant means of trafficking. All islands within the pipeline are then faced with an immediate and palpable increase in the volume of illicit drugs moved through their territory and more importantly exported from their territory to the EU, Canada and the USA.


St V&G is unique in the operational structure of this pipeline as it’s a premier production and export point for ganja both within the Caribbean and to the drug markets of the eastern seaboard of the US. Organic, high potency ganja presently fetches a wholesale price in these cities especially in New York which has created high grade organic ganja into a commodity worthy of fighting and dying over. Organic, high potency ganja grown in tropical, volcanic soil is then an apex/premier product of the pipeline attracting the level of investment by organised crime groups into production and trafficking that demands the hegemony of organised crime over the industry much more transnational globalised organised crime who are in fact the premier investors. These are the Caribbean affiliates of the Mexican Transnational Trafficking Organisations (MTTOs) who in joint action created and manage the ECTP.

The producers and traffickers of StV&G who are now affiliates of transnational organised crime groups that control the ECTP are traffickers of all the illicit products and participants of all the illicit enterprises of the pipeline. Such as trafficking cocaine, small arms, fuel and human smuggling in addition to ganja. Inclusion into the pipeline explodes the wealth generation capacity of the StV&G groups and impacts the terrain of the underworld in StV&G. The major issue is hegemony as the affiliates of transnational crime that control the pipeline must now exert hegemony over the underworld, gangland and The Game. Gangland affiliates are used to protect the interests of the pipeline on the ground and they share in the bounty of the pipeline turning them into transnational traffickers. This change impacts gangland as it creates glaring imbalances of wealth and power on the ground and those left out of the bounty react with a vengeful violence seen in the graphic violence used on targets especially with instruments other than guns. It also feeds a frenzy within the lower levels of gangland especially amongst the “baby bandits” that is expressed on the public especially the aged. The operational rules of the pipeline result in the exclusion of non-members of the pipeline from access to the products of the pipeline. Retail markets not under the control of the pipeline are then starved of product and the war for supply commences which only ends when the pipeline supplies product or an alternate supply is found. This is clearly seen in the retail ganja markets of the Caribbean as product shortages on the supply side have fed ganja wars for supply and the move to grow product locally to supply local demand. As ganja producers stress on quality for export rather than lower quality with its lower prices for local consumption the low end market is now in the grip of a supply side deficit which breeds wars of supply on the ground. The war on the ground impacts the murder rate it does not drive it. To prosecute a war on the round requires sustainable resources which demands a sustainable supply of illicit products to maintain the earning power of the organised crime groups at war. The prime weapon is then to contract or end the supply side of the group you are at war with. With this accomplished the enemy simply shrinks, shrivels up and surrenders. The MTTOs are adept at squeezing supply and this is bolstered by giving up their targets to state law enforcement agencies.

The discourse of the new and alternate social order spawned by the illicit trades is illustrated in the spaces liberated from the hegemony of the state where all conflict is mediated through violence and the rule of the violent not law is the primary driver of the murder rate in trafficking transition zones as the Caribbean island chain. This challenge to the hegemony of the state and its hegemonic discourse is what is being expressed in StV&G today. The geographic areas of operation of the 5 organised crime groups of StV&G named by the Prime Minister are the prime contested spaces. Whilst the violence flows the changes to the nature of the social order are being affected which then expands the expanse of violence as a daily instrument of human survival and interaction. Eventually the change generates a sustainable momentum of its own in the absence of state intervention at the strategic juncture.

StV&G is in the grips of an evolutionary phase of its underworld and gangland never experienced before brought about by the impact of the ECTP on StV&G. Its underworld and gangland is in the grips of the great leap forward which will drastically change the nature and structure of the social order of StV&G. The issue is not only to identify the 5 organised crime groups but to place them in the dynamics of the ECTP and the consequent impact on the social order of StV&G and the rest of the Caribbean island chain.


Guyana and Brazil joined at the Hips: Pax Mexicana!

Guyana: Illicit Airstrips and Illicit Air Flights

In September 2016 an aircraft was found abandoned near to the village of Yupukari in Region Nine, Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo, Guyana. The aircraft was under man-made cover in an attempt to hide it and was reported to have been disabled rendering it unable to fly which indicates organisation and strategy. The aircraft was subsequently linked to the illicit drug trade and of Colombian origin. In August 2017 an aircraft was abandoned at an illicit airstrip five miles west of Santa Fe in the Upper Rupununi, Region Nine, Guyana. The aircraft was abandoned on an illicit airstrip discovered two weeks previously by the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) but no illicit goods were reported seized from the aircraft.

Both cases of abandoned aircraft and the illicit airstrips in Region Nine indicate that there is organised crime in the region involved in this illicit airlift as the airstrips are constructed and maintained and the flights into and from Region Nine involve the operation of ground handlers. The operation in Region Nine is not in keeping with the model of illicit drug trafficking in the Caribbean basin to terminal points as in Central America. There is then a specific dynamic that involves Region Nine, Guyana that enmeshes it into a regional pipeline that embraces Roraima state, Brazil and Guyana as a trafficking transition zone to the Eastern Caribbean Trafficking Pipeline (ECTP), Suriname and French Guiana and an export point into a counter flow of the said pipeline. Cocaine entering Roraima state is fed into the Amazon pipeline via the Rio Negro with Guyana now configured as a delivery point for airlifted cocaine in Region Nine which is then trafficked into Roraima state from Guyana then into the Rio Negro pipeline. Region Nine, Guyana borders Roraima state, Brazil with the major border crossing at Lethem, Guyana. Cocaine landed in Region Nine is then moved to the ECTP and to Suriname and French Guiana for the jump to Europe. Region Nine is not the only or the most important trafficking point for the entry of cocaine to Guyana it’s simply part of a complex and strategic flow of product for the trafficking organisations.

With the apparent drop, depart and return methodology utilised on the Region Nine run the flights can accommodate product moved from Guyana after the cargo for Guyana is dropped off and this is ideal for gold, diamonds and other valuable minerals to enter the pipeline leaving Guyana illicitly. The Guyana-Roraima state, Brazil pipeline has also enabled the growth and production of ganja for export in Guyana to the Roraima pipeline. Which has facilitated the emergence of Guyana as an exporter of ganja within the region and the involvement of Guyanese in the trafficking of ganja in the region and external of it. The drop, depart and return methodology enables the movement of coca paste into Guyana where it will be processed into cocaine hydrochloride then exported which is stage three of the evolutionary development of trafficking under the hegemony of the Mexican Transnational Trafficking Organisations (MTTOs) as exhibited in areas where the MTTOs operate as Central and South America and Europe. The drop, depart and return methodology has developed for Guyana primarily because of the inability of the Guyanese state to control access to its air space as it lacks the assets and the military infrastructure on the ground to do so. Geography and the chronic weakness of the Guyanese state are being exploited to the benefit of the MTTOs. Geography and a weak state have now conspired to create a specific trafficking dynamic with its pipelines.

These developments and its impact on the social order are ongoing in Guyana as the Guyanese state cannot defend its territory and integrity from the assault of the MTTOs. Faced with the illicit flights into Guyana the government of the day has admitted publicly that there is little it can do to stop said flights. Guyana and Suriname are the reflections of Hispaniola on the north coast of South America where they are both being exploited by the traffickers to expand the drug market of Brazil and to realise Brazil as the premier drug export point to Europe and Africa from South America. And to turn French Guiana into an export point to France and the EU. Guyana and Brazil have been joined at the hips by the strategy of the MTTOs. Pax Mexicana!




September 30, 2017

The nexus between the state of Roraima, Brazil and Guyana was potently illustrated with what has been placed in the public domain following the murder of the owner of some 19 gold dredges with some 120 Brazilians in his employ operating in Cuyuni, Region 7, Guyana. The murdered Brazilian gold miner Antonio Da Silva has been identified as Siviomar Antonio de Oliviera a fugitive from Brazilian justice. De Oliviera was incarcerated in 2004 for killing his wife, in 2008 he was implicated in the murder of inmates of the Monte Cristo Agricultural Penitentiary where he was incarcerated. In 2011 de Oliviera escaped from the penitentiary and remained a fugitive from justice in the Brazilian state of Roraima. The murder of Da Silva/de Oliviera this week opened the can of worms.

To have killed whilst in prison repeatedly meant that de Oliveira was a member of a prison gang of the Monte Cristo penitentiary which illuminates his ability to escape from the prison, escape the police of Roraima and flee to Guyana. What must now be explained is how a prison gang member on the lam a fugitive ends up with the mining concessions to run 19 dredges with some 120 Brazilians in his employ in Guyana? To purposefully display his face in public as a known wealthy Brazilian gold miner and trader in Guyana yet remain off the radar screen of the police of Roraima state, Brazil? To have some 120 Brazilians in his employ and retain his impunity in Guyana free from the clutches of Brazilian police? Was Da Silva a man of straw the front man in an operation under the control of the overlords of the prison gang he ran with in Monte Cristo? If so clearly the time was ripe for a change in management personnel carried out in keeping with the tradition of the game. At least he kept his head on!



The Message in the Opinion Polls for T&T

The Failure of Politicians to Be Relevant to the Reality of Trinidad and Tobago (T&T)

On Thursday 7 September 2017 the Daily Express and the Guardian newspapers of T&T published the first instalment of opinion polls done by Solution by Simulation Ltd (SBS) and HHB and Associates (HHBA) respectively. The SBS poll for the Express utilised a sample size of 450 adults who were chosen via the random digital dialling method, were interviewed via telephone with a +/- 5% margin of error. The HHBA poll utilised a sample size of 301 adults drawn from the HHBA national representative adult panel who were interviewed via telephone with a +/- 5% margin of error. Both polls were designed to poll different sets of political opinion as they had different discourses driving the aims and objectives hence the nature of the questionnaire utilised. They then present different political opinions solicited by a research instrument of the T&T electorate thereby complementing each other. This analysis is based on what was published of the polls in both newspapers.

The Express presentation of the findings of the SBS poll placed greatest emphasis on the approval rating of the Prime Minister. The rating of politicians’ ebb and flow with the political tide but in T&T where the politics of race is hegemonic the race basis of this rating is noteworthy. The SBS poll reports an African approval rating of 62% and a disapproval rating of 30%. With an Indian approval rating of 21% and a disapproval rating of 68 %. At this point in time the message is now clear that the seats of St Joseph and San Fernando West are up for grabs. The SBS poll tracks the public opinion on what SBS defines as “apolitical institutions” defined as: the education system, government, opposition, financial sector, media, health institutions, parliament, public service, judicial system and police. Whether those listed in the SBS poll are in fact viewed as apolitical by the electorate is another matter but in the poll under review the worst performer of the “apolitical” national institutions are the police. Tracked from 2012 to 2017 the confidence level of 14% in 2017 is only eclipsed by the 11% rating of 2013 when combined with a confidence level of 16% for the judicial system it is again apparent that there was a change of government in 2015 but this change failed to translate on the ground to an increase in public confidence in two of the pillars the so-called criminal justice system of T&T. There was political change but no substantive institutional change which is seen in a rise in public confidence in the police and judicial system. If political change cannot result in the rise in public confidence then democracy is in fact dead, at best in chains which means that the basis of politics in T&T is the battle to control the state waged between two political parties which command the support of the two largest black races in T&T nothing else. Politics and democracy in T&T has nothing to do with governance and the quality of life for the people of T&T. Nothing illustrates this reality more potently than the crime reality on a daily basis in T&T. What the SBS poll is relaying to the political talking heads is the reality that in T&T the primary reason why we have a crime problem is because we have grave problems with policing and the judicial structure. Is there the political will to admit this and deal with it? According to the SBS poll No! As 87% of the poll indicated that they were very concerned with crime which translates into the rating for the police and the grim existential daily exercise of coping with this reality. This rating most of all indicates that the actions of the present government since 2015 dealing with crime is simply not resonating on the ground and all the discourses unleashed to mask this reality are in themselves not convincing the masses otherwise. In 2017 the emperor and the emperor in waiting are stark naked in public, the masses are gazing upon their nakedness but the emperor and his retinue are all in denial. The product of this reality is that the murder and mayhem is now our new normal. The state structure is then in collapse. In T&T for some time now the politics of race has evolved into the politics of denial by which its adherents cope with the daily reality that their politicians are simply not up to the task of enabling us to improve our quality of life. The SBS poll indicated that 72% of the poll was very concerned with corruption which illustrates the deepening of the malaise being seen by the masses where the ravages of crime on our daily lives are combined with the ravages of corruption and the third horseman of the apocalypse is the economy with 70% of the poll being very concerned with it. In 2017 the poll is expressing the grave insecurity of those polled where crime, corruption and economic insecurity are now insisting that individual survival strategies be devised and implemented to cope with this risk horizon and event. The level of aggression and the spontaneous resort to violence are indicating the nature of, the reaction to the stressors perceived and the range and choice of action perceived, possible and probable.

The discourse driving the HBBA poll is different to that of the SBS hence the questionnaire of this poll presents to the sample a different discourse with which to react to. This poll speaks to the direction of the government, a list of the most pressing problems to rank in order of severity, the performance of the government on crime and violence and other named social problems as unemployment and the opinion of the sample on their confidence in government to solve problems enumerated. The most pressing problems ranked according to the sample was crime with 66% followed by unemployment with 15% then cost of living with 9%, then government doing nothing 5% and finally corruption and poverty both at 3%. The performance of the government on crime and violence was 1% very good, 24% good, 36% very bad and 39% bad therefore 75% of the sample gave the government a failing grade on crime and violence. The confidence of the sample in the government’s ability to solve crime and violence was as follows: a great deal 4%, some 25%, little 33% and none 39%. The question with this instrument is that it does not say what level is acceptable to the sample namely “some” and “little” without that one is left to guess. What then is apparent from the results of this question is the low level of confidence by the respondents in the ability of the government and the certainty of that in lowering the level of crime in the society. The reality is that contrary to the political discourse of lowering crime is the duty of the police the respondents hold the politicians responsible for crime and its impact on them in both polls. In response to the question on the direction in which things are going in T&T 83% of the sample stated “wrong direction”, 11% stated “didn’t know” and 6% stated “right direction”. The responses then express the conception of collapse when linked to the responses to the question of “what is the most pressing problem the country faces at this time”. The crime reality of T&T and the failure of the present government to deal with it has then derailed T&T. The second most pressing problem is unemployment and the government’s performance on unemployment was as follows: Very good 0%, Good 16%, Bad 39% and Very bad 44% a rating worse than that on crime. Confidence that the government will be able to solve unemployment was rated as follows: Very good 3%, Some 28%, Little 33% and None 39%. A confidence rating very reflective of that of crime. On corruption which only 3% of the sample listed as the most pressing problem the performance of the government on corruption was as follows: Very good: 0%, Good 21%, Bad 41% and Very bad 38% an assessment of performance that is worse than that on crime and violence. The HBBA instrument utilised two questions to gauge the position of the sample on the leadership of the Prime Minister: opinion about PM Keith Rowley as a leader and approval of the job Keith Rowley is doing as Prime Minister. The first question polled as follows: Favourable 35%, Unfavourable 50% and Not sure 16%. The second question polled as follows: Approve 32%, Disapprove 53% and Not sure 15%. The difference between both questions falls within the margin of error illustrating the reality that the sample interpreted the quality of leadership of the PM as being equivalent to their position on the job he was doing as PM. Leadership and job performance are joined at the hips and all the discourse deployed to separate them is not resonating on the ground. The buck stops with the PM. On race and job approval 53% of Afro Trinbagonians approve of the job performance of the PM whilst only 16% of Indo Trinbagonians do so. The racial divide between the two major black races of T&T is then palpable after 55 years of independence.

The approximate 40% of the Africans of both polls who expressed a disapproval or unfavourable assessment of the performance of the PM are faced with the choice of action called for. To vote or not to vote and if yes to voting for which party.

Two polls utilising different instruments have then uncovered very similar positions of two samples of the electorate. The message has been sent to the politicians of T&T via both polls but will they listen and respond? No! The politicians will call out the electorate to stand and deliver and the options for response are defined by the politics of race. The result is the de politicisation of the politics of race where you vote not for the politicians as you expect them to be irrelevant to your life chances, security and personal wellbeing and most of all ungrateful. You vote when you choose to, to deny your enemy race control of the state. When you choose not to vote this choice is most likely part of a worldview that rejects all politics and your interest and participation in it. When you choose to be a motivated follower of a political discourse then you are most likely an activist in the war of the two black races. This is the reality spawned by politicians who do everything in their power to confirm our scepticism of their commitment to what they preach as they are drunk on the impunity the politics of race affords them.

The politics of T&T after 55 years of independence is the politics of an evolved colonial plantation with democracy simply being a slogan. Being a slogan it has no traction on the ground in the daily lives of the people of T&T especially so in the daily lives of those who don’t make up the oligarchy of T&T. But such is the reality of the model of massa’s plantation. A model rooted in bipolar even schizophrenic worldviews where individualism to the detriment of group solidarity is juxtaposed with the imperative to deny your enemy race control of the state. The model is then chronically unstable and this heightens as the hierarchy of inequality of the social order hardens. Crime and racial tensions are symptoms of this evolving inherently flawed social order. The issue then is when would the social order evolve to the extent where a strategy of race war will be formulated and launched as violent crime is rapidly evolving to a new normal as it spirals out of control illustrating and indicating its continued evolution. It’s then only a matter of time when the undeclared race war will evolve into a declared race war. Learn from the methodology of the genocide of Rwanda!

Human Smuggling in the Caribbean under Pax Mexicana!

An Analysis of the Evolution of Human Smuggling in the Caribbean under the Hegemony of the Mexican Transnational Trafficking Organisations (MTTOs)

In 2015 human smuggling in the Caribbean basin changed as Asians, Africans and Middle Easterners entered the Caribbean basin to commence their journey to Mexico in their quest to enter the US illicitly and traditional Caribbean illicit migratory movements changed dramatically in its choice of destinations, strategies employed and organisational sophistication. This was the bounty unleashed by the hegemony of the methodology of the coyote of the transnational human smuggling organisations (THSOs) over human smuggling in the Caribbean basin. Before these dramatic changes that became manifest in 2015 the changes in the strategy of human smuggling in the Caribbean island chain indicated the impact of the new dynamic.

The Caribbean Island chain

Puerto Rico

The most potent indicator is the smuggling of individuals into the Caribbean island chain from various countries external of the Caribbean for eventual illicit entry into Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands then to the mainland USA. This trade is especially noted with the case of Brazilians entering Puerto Rico, acquiring false Puerto Rican or US identification then utilising air travel to enter the US. Haitians, Dominicans, Cubans and other nationalities also utilise this corridor. An illicit infrastructure enables and fosters this smuggling enterprise encompassing traffickers utilising sea vessels moving clients along the Caribbean island chain to the coyotes who animate the structure of moving and housing clients, providing the necessary inputs as false ids, providing the range of necessary services from agents of the state and collecting the funds from the clients. The package of goods and services accessed by the client is directly dependent on the quantum of money paid for the package with the budget customers being the most prone to exploitation in contravention of the contract with the coyote. The flow from Brazil to the Caribbean island chain then Puerto Rico and the mainland US fosters and enables a counter flow from the Caribbean to Brazil. The movement of smuggled humans to Puerto Rico via ocean travel utilises the ocean drug trafficking routes of the Caribbean island chain to Puerto Rico and in this movement of humans the Dominican Republic plays a dominant strategic role as is the case with the smuggling of illicit drugs. Citizens of the Dominican Republic, Haitians and other nationalities make the sea crossing via the Mona Passage from the DR to Puerto Rico. Dominicans and Haitians dominate the flow of migrants to Puerto Rico. The flow of Haitians has increased in volume following the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the pause in deportations of Haiti and from the US and the placing of Haitians requesting US asylum in the slow assessment process following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. There are also collection and distribution points along the eastern and north eastern Caribbean island chain as St Lucia, Sint Maarten and Saint Martin, the British Virgin Islands and the US Virgin Islands as there are a multiplicity of routes and methods utilised to place illicit migrants into Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands then the US mainland successfully. The wave of migrants and illicit drugs entering Puerto Rico is impacting the social order and the state at a time of acute financial crisis and a mass exodus of Puerto Ricans to the mainland US. The organised crime groups that manage these illicit enterprises in Puerto Rico will impact the social order much more effectively as a result threatening the viability and sustainability of the licit order. The end of the special status afforded Cuban migrants to the USA, wet foot, dry foot, was ended in January 2017 which means that Cuban migrants to Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands must now comply with the immigration laws that didn’t apply to them since 1966. To enter these territories now without a valid US visa, Cuban migrants will now be illegal migrants/aliens with the only option being to apply for asylum but this process can involve incarceration in a Federal immigration detention centre and possibly deportation to Cuba if the application is rejected at the end of the period of assessment. Or to enter the USA illegally and live under the radar seeking to become invisible from the gaze of the law. A far cry from what obtained under wet foot, dry foot which has impacted the volume of Cuban migrants heading to US territory in the Caribbean since January 2017. The Dominicans and Haitians will continue to make the journey as they seek to enter the US mainland illicitly whilst they settle in Puerto Rico or to make the jump to the US quickly following entry into Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.





The Bahamas

The demand for human smuggling services from the Caribbean island chain to the US is potently illustrated by the re-awakening of The Bahamas island chain as a jump-off point for illicit entry to the US in spite of the US investment in assets and personnel to patrol the ocean separating the US from The Bahamas both singly and jointly with The Bahamas. Persons from Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America seeking to enter the US illicitly via The Bahamas are arriving in the Bahamas from various jump-off points as Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica. Some are entering The Bahamas legally then moving to utilise the illicit ocean crossing to the US. Cubans and Haitians dominate the nationalities seeking to make the crossing but Brazilians are also a noted nationality which again contributes to the operation of the counter Caribbean to Brazil pipeline. The intensity of the US security net placed over this crossing raises the probability of failure which increases the risk to the safety of migrants in transit and impacts the cost to traffickers as coyotes must factor this risk to their person and operation in the cost of their services. This route then attracts migrants with special conditions attached to their quest for asylum as Cubans and those desperate enough to enter the US to risk the ocean crossing but unwilling to undertake the long route to the US/Mexican border. The end of wet foot, dry foot in January 2017 has then impacted the volume of Cubans entering The Bahamas to make the jump to Florida, USA. Haitians continue to flow into The Bahamas seeking to fit into the huge Haitian population of The Bahamas whilst seeking out the finances and the means to make the jump to Florida, USA. The largest groups of illegal migrants by nationality are: Haitians, Jamaicans, Dominicans and Brazilians.

The re-awakening of the use of The Bahamas as a human smuggling jump off point to the US was preceded by the re-awakening of The Bahamas as an illicit drug trafficking point to the US as is the case with the rest of the Caribbean island chain the illicit drug trade and human smuggling complement each other.






The case of St Lucia

Cubans can enter St Lucia without a visa but 38 Cubans interdicted by the US Coast Guard in a sea vessel headed to the US Virgin Islands carried a St Lucian tourist visa in their Cuban passports. The party entered St Lucia then boarded a boat in St Lucia to be smuggled into the US Virgin Islands either directly or via another island stopover. The package sold to the Cuban party of migrants included a St Lucian visa indicating the ability of the trafficking organisation to purchase services and impunity from agents of the state in St Lucia. This was not a single visa purchased but 38 placed in Cuban passports which at minimum indicates the handover of Cuban passports to the agent/s of the state in St Lucia. With such transactions one expects that the production of false/fake identification documents with false or stolen identities is also in existence in these Caribbean states. Again the confluence of the illicit drug trade and human smuggling must be noted in this case as St Lucia is a transition point on the Eastern Caribbean Trafficking Pipeline (ECTP) and there is the St Lucia to Guadeloupe spur of this pipeline where the pipeline enters an overseas French territory by extension France and the EU. The end of wet foot, dry foot in January 2017 has also impacted the flow of Cubans to St Lucia seeking to be smuggled to US territory in the Caribbean island chain. Any smuggling of Cubans since then is now a run of the mill operation to penetrate the border of US territories in the Caribbean island chain with illicit migrants.






Trinidad and Tobago (T&T)

T&T has evolved in the second decade of the 21st century into the apex destination country for migrants in the Caribbean island chain with migrants from CARICOM member states especially Jamaica and Guyana being the dominant migrants. Migration to T&T also has a global context with migrants from Asia mainly Chinese, Africa especially West Africans such as Nigerians, the Middle East especially Syria and Latin America especially Venezuelans. The flow of migrants to T&T especially from non-CARICOM sources is driven by transnational organised crime groups and the acquisition of the services of state agents necessary to ensure legal entry and presence in T&T is part of the package offered for sale to migrants. Those unable to afford these services then resort to methods which place them outside of the law where they inhabit the dangerous world of an illicit existence. Transnational organised crime groups active in human smuggling to T&T are also involved in the illicit drug trade, gambling, prostitution and financial crimes. By far the largest non-Caribbean basin and Latin American migrant group is the Chinese from China and this group has had an impact on the landscape of Trinidad and Tobago that no other recently arrived migrant group has had. What is noteworthy is the discourse of deception and victimhood peddled in the media by members of the recently arrived Chinese migrants who choose to speak to the media. Why is there a need to mask the area of origin of these migrants by spinning a web of lies of origin from far flung autonomous zones of China where ethnic minorities as the Miao, the Dung, the Hui, the Tibetan and the Mongol live when it’s obvious to those of us who know better that the majority are from Guangdong, Guanxi and Fujian. Is there then an attempt to mask the operational presence of the Fujian snakeheads in T&T?





Lessons of the human smuggling enterprise

The discourse of the Wall of the US Border Service is simply a discourse with a discordant reality on the ground where holes functionally exist for a variety of reasons the most potent being complicity and political gamesmanship. Both the illicit drug traffickers and the human smugglers expose this reality on a daily basis. One most illustrative instance is the US deportee from the DR who successfully, repeatedly re-entered the US after multiple deportation events from the US.



Events and law in both the sources and destination countries impact each other to establish an environment that creates and facilitates the movement of migrants but this is not the entire reality.

A discourse has to be created and launched that constitutes the perception that the need to migrate, the opportunity to migrate, the country to migrate to and most importantly the logistics to successfully migrate to the destination of choice all exist as a coherent whole. This discourse presents a possible, real outcome for a choice made and a price paid. The masters of creating this discourse are the transnational human smuggling organisations (THSOs) and when unleashed they have the ability to motivate human action that can be reckless and a plausible threat to the life of the person paying and choosing to be an illegal migrant. In spite of this reality the clients willingly pay for the services and surrender their safety and well-being to a criminal organisation over which they have no power. The THSOs then link perception to logistics which insists that the journey is feasible and the end result is attainable therefore the price for the package is acceptable no matter the personal sacrifice to gather the resources to pay. It also justifies the submission to the THSOs as the successful attainment of the prize is uppermost. It is only with the failure of grasping the prize including interdiction by state agencies do you then speak of the horror of the journey and the treatment meted out to you by the personnel of the THSOs. The foundation of the entire process is the strategic input of the THSOs and any failure to engage with these groups is a failure to deal with the entire process of moving people to destinations illicitly.

The best examples of this reality in action in the evolution of human smuggling in the Caribbean is the case of Cuban and Haitian migrants in the second decade of the 21st century.

Haitian Migration

Haitians before the 2010 earthquake pursued a migratory strategy with multiple destination points utilising a mix of licit and illicit means to facilitate migration. There was the mass migration to the Dominican Republic, the movement to the US, Canada and France and the territories of the US and France in the Caribbean island chain and movement to islands of the Caribbean island chain namely the ex-British colonies and the Dutch territories. In the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake a new and unique dimension was added to Haitian migration which was first the route from Haiti to Brazil via various transition countries, then Haitian migration to states other than Brazil many of them were originally transition states as Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Peru and Ecuador, then the movement from Brazil to the US border with Mexico, the movement from Haiti to the US border with Mexico via various transition countries and finally the movement from the US to Canada in pursuit of asylum. From 2010 to 2017 the landscape of Haitian migration from Haiti has organically changed dramatically and this revolutionary change was made possible by the hegemony of THSOs over this migratory movement. It must be noted that every single migrant pipeline established to facilitate the Haitian migration to Latin America mirrored the existing illicit drug trafficking pipelines of the region even in the case of Brazil. Migrants crossed the border into Brazil at existing drug transition points in the states of Amazonas and Acre whilst others entered via cities Belo Horizante and Sao Paulo of the eastern region of Brazil bordering the southern Atlantic Ocean which is a major jump off point for traffickers to Africa and Europe. In the Caribbean basin the THSOs are all part of or affiliates of the MTTOs which accounts for the explosion in the movement of migrants from sources other than Central America into Mexico for transition into the US across the US/Mexico border. The MTTOS by the second decade of the 21st century globalised its coyote services on the Mexico/US border. Without a tradition of Haitian migration to Brazil and the knowledge on the ground of the logistics necessary to access Brazil especially via transition countries as Ecuador and Peru and the cost of undertaking this journey from Haiti and the DR this new pipeline with counter flow appeared literally overnight. It was clearly the product of the discourse of the THSOs that created Brazil as a desirable and attainable target for Haitian migration which created the demand for the services of the said THSOs. The THSOs chose Brazil given dominance of the Brazilian forces in MINUSTAH in Haiti, the possession of the logistics necessary to reach Brazil from Haiti and the DR and Brazilian law that was in support of migration to Brazil. The result of which was the explosion of human smuggling capacity in the transition countries and Brazil which enabled nationalities other than Haitians to be smuggled into countries of the transition zone and Brazil as Dominicans. The Brazilian strategy to grant Haitians humanitarian visas issued in Port-au-Prince enabling licit entry to Brazil did not curb the explosion of human smuggling networks and their coyotes in the pipeline to Brazil. The pipeline evolved from 2010 adding Chile as the second destination for Haitian migrants after Brazil and from 2015 the counter flow of Haitians leaving Brazil for Mexico merged with the transnational flow entering Central and South America destined for the Mexico/US border. This flow through the transition countries to Mexico included Haitians held up in countries as Colombia, Panama and Costa Rica precipitating a migrant crisis driven by attempts to form barricades to prohibit the flow of migrants through the transition countries to Mexico. These flows now merged with the flow out of Central America headed to the Mexico/US border.






The success of the Haitian migrant enterprise of the THSOs is illustrated by the estimates of Haitian migrants present in countries of MERCOSUR as a result of this enterprise. Brazil: 2010-2016: 67,226 Haitian migrants, Chile: 2011-2015: 17,849 Haitian migrants, Venezuela: 2016: 6,509 Haitian migrants, Colombia: 2010-2016: 1,375 Haitian migrants, Argentina: 2011-2015: 1,165 Haitian migrants Bolivia: 2011-2015: 905 Haitian migrants, Ecuador: 2011-2014: 776 Haitian migrants and Peru: 2015: 56 Haitian migrants. The estimates of Haitian migration to MERCOSUR reveal the primacy of Brazil as the destination country with Chile being a distant second which illustrates that the strategy of targeting Brazil yielded a momentum of its own which deepened the flow of migrants through the response of the  Brazilian state to issue humanitarian visas to all Haitian citizens desirous of migrating to Brazil in 2012 and in 2015 to invite Haitian migrants in Brazil who entered Brazil without the humanitarian visa from January 2012 to so apply for them. The number of Haitian migrants presenting themselves as applicants for asylum at Brazilian points of entry before the granting of the humanitarian residency visa in 2015 for those illicit migrants in Brazil forced this response and thereafter the flow of Haitians migrants evolved as the families of those in possession of said visas in Brazil now joined the flow of migrants to Brazil for the purpose of family reunification. Discourse, strategy, organisation, enterprise and logistics indicate the hegemony of the THSOs over this migrant movement. The picture afforded by the estimates of Haitian migrants to countries of MERCOSUR is expanded with the figures reportedly released by the government of Chile which show that in 2016 43,898 Haitians entered Chile and for the period January 1 to July 26, 2017, 44,289 Haitians entered Chile. Chile is both a destination country and a transition country for Haitian migrants and the numbers entering in 2017 for the period has already outstripped the total arrivals for 2016. The economic recession in Brazil and the inability of Haitians to enter the US freely as before in the period post 2010 earthquake to September 2016 in order to apply for asylum within the context of a slow deportation process and a moratorium on the deportation of Haitians from the USA has now turned Chile into the destination of choice in MERCOSUR. The Brazilian ambassador in Port au Prince is reported to have stated that 107,000 Haitian migrants have been regularised in Brazil as a result of Haitian migration to Brazil.





It has been estimated that Haitians in Haiti needed to raise between USD 2,000 to USD 6,000 to finance the journey from Haiti to Brazil. Haitians without the cash resource were then forced to liquidate their assets and/or raise capital through loans from the informal financial sector. This engagement with the informal financial sector was the first step of prospective Haitian migrants into the spaces dominated by the THSOs. Those migrants departing Haiti indebted to these organisations inhabit an entirely different reality from those migrants independent of the informal financial sector. Those indebted migrants are in fact the property of the informal financial sector and the THSOs who both exact harsh and heavy prices for failure. The news report which indicated that the “unreported” remittances to Haiti from Chile in July 2017 amounted to USD 8.7 million an increase of 16% over June 2017 illustrates the flow of money to Haiti from Haitian migrants in Chile part of which flows into the coffers of the THSOs and the informal financial sector. Haitian migration then exacts a financial toll on the people of Haiti a toll made necessary by the chronic underdevelopment of Haiti and the severe inequality that holds the social order to ransom.



The estimate of Haitian migrants in MERCOSUR lists Venezuela as having the third largest Haitian migrant population in spite of the realities of the present Venezuelan economy. This reality fits into the movement of Haitian migrants into the Southern rim of the Caribbean basin to Venezuela, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname and the prized destination of French Guiana. The government of the French overseas territory of French Guiana exerted pressure on Suriname to place the need for an entry visa on Haitians and in French Guiana an entry visa was also imposed. Again the movement of the Haitian migrants in this region mirrors that of the illicit drug trafficking pipelines of this region. In this case various air travel routes were used to enter Suriname where as members of CARICOM Haitians required no entry visa and from Suriname the Haitians crossed into French Guiana. Haitians are also entering Guyana where they are smuggled into Suriname then to French Guiana which is a French overseas territory. There are also reports that Haitians left Haiti entered Guyana a fellow member of CARICOM to then travel to Brazil to join the Brazil to Mexico pipeline utilised by Haitians leaving Brazil for the US via Mexico.








The strategy of moving Haitian migrants to multiple destination points simultaneously is to ensure that the demand for the services of the THSOs is sustainable and maximised. As the Brazilian economy tanked alternatives were found to exploit the desire of Haitian migrants to move to alternate destination points where the opportunities sought exist. This strategy of the THSOs impacts the social order of destination and transition countries through the organised crime spawned to ensure this strategy is realisable. This organised crime enterprise is multi tasked with a range of illicit products trafficked to maximise profits: illicit drugs, illicit small arms, human smuggling, kidnapping, prostitution, gambling, extortion, fake goods, energy, natural resources as gold, diamonds and coltan. Transnational Trafficking Organisations (TTOs) engaged in illicit trafficking in the Caribbean basin and MERCOSUR were then simply expanding their business interests to earn and maximise profits when in 2010 in the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake they applied their multi destination smuggling strategy to Haiti. In this geographic area the Mexican TTOs are hegemonic and the new strategy for the smuggling of Haitians is their creation.

Destination USA

In the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake the USA on July 23, 2011 afforded Haiti Temporary Protected Status (TPS) expiring on January 22, 2018. From July 23, 2011 the imperative was now for Haitian illegal migrants in the US to now apply for TPS. The Obama administration announced immediately following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti the change in the manner in which Haitians without valid US visas would be treated with when they presented themselves for entry to the US at a US port of entry. These Haitians were allowed to enter the US and placed on a slow process of assessment for deportation or asylum which placed them in the US population rather than being incarcerated awaiting the outcome of assessment. This was then the attraction post 2010 earthquake for Haitians to journey to the US and present themselves for assessment. In 2015 a new wave of Haitians impacted this scenario and the strategy that drove it as Haitian migrants began leaving Brazil for the US/Mexico border the majority using the land routes through South and Central America concentrating their efforts to enter the US at the San Ysidro port of entry near to San Diego, California and Tijuana, Mexico. San Ysidro is the world’s busiest border crossing which was commencing in October 2015 and continuing inundated with a tsunami of Haitian migrants. From October 1, 2015 to September 4, 2016 the facility processed in excess of 5,000 Haitian migrants which swamped the facility presently under construction. With an estimate of 40,000 Haitians in transit to the US/Mexico border, the threats posed by this tsunami of migrants admitted under the slow deportation process buttressed by the no deportation position post 2010 earthquake and the geopolitical fallout in the countries of transition especially Panama, Colombia, Costa Rica and Mexico heightened by transition countries closing their borders to Haitians migrants. Thereby creating a diminished flow in the pipeline and a backlog of migrants in transition countries creating pressure within the social order. In September 2016 the Obama administration announced the lifting of the ban on deportations of Haitians and the return of Haitian migrants without a valid US visa to the fast track of assessment and deportation. With the licit door to the US now closed the choices left were to enter the US illicitly, to return to Brazil or now to Chile, to settle in the transition countries, find another destination country as French Guiana or return to Haiti. The entire response to the US action in September 2016 is premised on possession of the monetary resources necessary to pursue any option chosen. This operational reality placed and places Haitian migrants in positions of grave risk of kidnapping, extortion, slave labour, murder, poverty, disease and indigence for those without the necessary monetary resources.


The fact that the THSOs created and offered the services of a counter flow to the US/Mexico border to the Brazil flow enabled, sowed the discourse of the possibility and need to leave Brazil in the grips of an economic recession for the apex promised land of Haitian migrants: the USA and made the flow possible to the Mexico/US border.  The sophisticated nature of the smuggling strategy formulated for the flow of Haitians to the Mexico/US border is illustrated by press reports in 2015 and 2016 of Africans from the Democratic Republic of the Congo utilising the pipeline to enter Mexico then cross into the US. It was subsequently unearthed that the migrants from the DRC were in fact Haitians masking their identity from the governments of the transition countries and especially the government of Mexico. The transport of Haitian migrants to Tijuana, Mexico for the purpose of inundating the busiest border crossing in the world whilst it was under construction potently illustrates the strategy of the MTTOs in action. The border crossings of Texas and Arizona were not targeted for obvious strategic reasons. The threat posed by the strategy of the MTTOs to US border security in a presidential election year demanded political action which came to the detriment of Haitians seeking to exploit the post 2010 earthquake immigration position. But the MTTOs and their coyotes are still in business catering to the demand for illicit entry to the US especially by international clients who in 2015 increased their demand for illicit crossings into the US from Mexico. In 2017 the victims of the illicit enterprise of the THSOs that encompasses the Caribbean basin and transition countries of Central and South America remain trapped in the landscape of their quest for a life they desired and were denied in the land of their birth: Haiti. A news report indicated that about 20, 500 mainly Haitian migrants arrived in the state of Baja California, Mexico concentrated in the cities of Mexicali and Tijuana of this estimated number 16,500 entered the US before the border was closed to them with about 4,000 Haitians stranded in both cities. The Mexican government aided some 800 Haitians to return to Brazil mainly, Costa Rica and Panama and Ecuador whilst the rest were invited by the Mexican government to regularise their status in Mexico or face deportation to Haiti.







Departing the USA for Canada

Whilst stranded in Tijuana and Mexicali migrants were exposed to a new discourse of migration to a new destination country. The discourse called for travel to Canada where at the Canadian port of entry migrants will apply for asylum. Obama in September 2016 ended the moratorium on deportation and placed Haitians again on the fast track assessment path which entailed incarceration during assessment. The Trump administration further tightened the screws by speeding up the deportation process and illegal Haitian migrants in the hands of the US immigration agency formed the expectation that their deportation was assured and TPS will die at its expiry date in 2018 further speeding up and deepening the process of deportation of Haitian illegal migrants from the US. The response of Haitian migrants in the US especially those classified under TPS was to enter Canada illegally and request asylum. What started in July 2017 has now grown into a river with a significant number of the flow of Haitians being below 18 years of age and some being citizens of the USA if they were born in the USA. It is estimated that the flow of illegal Haitian migrants ranges between 200 to 300 per day with 5% to 10% being children presenting themselves to the Canadian state agency as applicants for asylum. The major crossing in Canada is at Saint Bernard de lacolle which is the gateway to Montreal whilst the transition city in the USA is Pittsburgh. It was also reported that Haitians are leaving Haiti to enter Canada and applying for asylum. One such route to Canada is to enter the US travel to Pittsburgh then cross the border at Saint Bernard de lacolle, Canada. Canada does not have a tradition of granting asylum to Haitians to merit this flow into Canada seeking asylum. Those rejected by Canada will be deported to Haiti and those with children born in the USA under Canadian law will be separated from their children who are US citizens. These US citizens will be repatriated to the US beckoning memories of another holocaust. With an estimated 58,000 Haitian migrants in the USA under the TPS designation the reservoir for the flow to Canada in pursuit of asylum is huge. The spawn of the aggressive neoliberal imperialist agenda pursued by Canadian politicians in Haiti especially against the presidency of Jean Bertrand Aristide and thereafter has now come home to roost. The chickens are coming home to roost facilitated and motivated by the Hawks of the THSOs specifically the MTTOs.









Cuban migration to the US

In 2015 a wave of Cuban migrants utilising the land route of Central America to the Mexico/US border then the US was unleashed. This was a wave of migrants confident that their entry into the US was automatic given the legislation in their favour. In fact, believing that this was their entitlement as Cubans fleeing a communist state. The choice of the land route was logical given the volume of migrants heading to the US border and the wet foot, dry foot policy which encouraged and rewarded entry via a land route but punished those with deportation to Cuba if interdicted on the sea on their way to US territory. What distinguished this Cuban wave of 2015 from all others since the revolution is the choice of the central American land route to Mexico, the volume of migrants choosing this route, the financial resources expended by members of this wave of Cuban migrants to Mexico and most importantly is the partnership of members of this wave with the THSOs in the quest for effective and rapid movement to Mexico. In fact, this group of Cuban migrants moving through the Central American land route constituted a feeding frenzy amongst THSOs given the demand for their services and the ability to pay for these services by the Cuban migrants.


In 2014 27,278 Cubans entered the US, in 2015 the number rose to 43,169 Cubans and in 2016 it was 56,406 Cubans which indicates the pressures exerted by this wave of Cuban migration on the land route to the Mexico/US border and the impact on the US ports that they chose to enter the US through. The Cuban route entailed entering Ecuador then moving north through various transition countries as Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Guatemala then Mexico. In the US some 64% of Cuban entrants chose the port of Laredo, Texas for their entry to the US. There were alternate routes as through Belize to Mexico and through Guyana to Brazil then to Colombia for the crossing into Central America. The organisation and strategy of the migratory flows are evident as the Cubans were slotted into the Laredo crossing zone whilst the Haitians, Africans, Chinese, South Asians, North Asians and Middle Easterners were slotted into the crossing zone of Mexicali and Tijuana in Baja California the twin of San Diego, California, USA. During the course of the Cuban migration through Central America the geopolitical realities that favour Cuban migration to the US at that time, the resources the Cuban migrants had access to, to facilitate their journey and the organic relationship with the THSOs were potently indicated. Their favoured migrant status in the US ensured that their journey through the transition countries allied to the US was non-problematic unlike the case of the Haitian migrants. There was no problem for the Cuban migrants to enter and exit Panama, Colombia, Costa Rica and Guatemala for example provided they were in transit to Mexico. When Nicaragua refused to grant entry visas to these Cuban migrants resulting in the migrant flow stagnating in Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia these governments enabled the chartering of airplanes to be filled with Cuban migrants at a cost of over USD 500 per migrant to be flown to Guatemala thereby by passing Nicaragua and recreating the flow to Mexico then to Laredo, Texas, USA. In these state sponsored attempts to ensure the Cubans arrived in Mexico then entered the USA THSOs were active entrepreneurs.


The quantum of the flow of Cuban migrants at the Mexico/US border and the velocity of their flow into the US ensured by the actions of the US allies in the transition countries resulted in the abrogation of the special status afforded Cuban migrants to the US under wet foot, dry foot by President Obama in January 2017 during his final days in office and to-date President Trump is yet to rescind this Presidential order of Obama. Cuban migrants to the US must now enter the US with a valid visa and an illegal entry to the US to enable an application for asylum triggers the assessment process with the possibility of incarceration during assessment and deportation to Cuba at the end of the process. Cubans trapped in Mexico following the Obama presidential order were given the following choices by the government of Mexico: deportation to Cuba or regularisation of their status in Mexico. But the MTTOs offered another choice: illicit entry into the US via the coyote network the business survives and thrives because of politics and political action.





There is an alternate Cuban migration that does not target the US which quickened in 2013 when the government of Cuba relaxed the travel restrictions placed on Cubans. Cubans now fly to countries that don’t require a visa for their entry and enter into the process of migrating to countries for various reasons. Various countries in the Caribbean and Latin America are then then the entry points that become migration points/transition countries. Cubans regularly fly into Guyana given the no visa requirement and the long standing ties between both countries shop and return to Cuba or stay on in Guyana and then move through Latin America or the Caribbean island chain. Cubans enter Guyana seeking employment, to establish enterprises or to take part in illicit activity such as travel document forgery. Entry to Guyana enables entry to Brazil and the CARICOM member states hence the use of the weekly flights from Cuba to Guyana and the no entry visa requirement for Cubans to enter Guyana to facilitate personal agendas. The demand for official documents from state agencies in Guyana from this flow of migrants and others has expanded the expanse of the supply of illicit services from agents of the state.

The end of wet foot, dry foot in January 2017 has changed forever the flow of Cuban migration where now the alternate/secondary minor flow is now the major flow. A flow that is now in need of the services of the THSOs as never before since 1966. Whilst the once much valued flow to the US must now address the US immigration channels Cubans were exempted from previously or pay for the services of the coyotes of the MTTOs to enter the US illegally.





Destination USA: the global migrants

The Cuban and Haitian waves along the land route to the Mexico/US border grabbed the attention of the western media thereby masking the sustainable nature of the enterprise of transporting migrants to Mexico then into the US and Canada illicitly as demand for this service has not waned from continental clients and off continent clients from Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The volume of demand from off continent clients does not outstrip and even match the voluminous flow of the Cuban and Haitian migrant waves of the 21st century but the flow is constant and its illicit as the migrants are intent on entering the USA and Canada illicitly as there is no intention to abide by the immigration laws of both countries which means that the prices charged are much higher. These migrants are then the most vulnerable, the cost of services offered and sold to them are much more expensive compared to the Cubans and Haitians and those among them unable or refusing to pay for the services of the coyotes of the MTTOs and the THSOs are open to violent deprivations such as kidnapping for ransom, slave labour, even murder.



The impetus for the THSOs is then to manage migrant flows to Mexico and in doing so multiple routes to Mexico is the strategy adopted which has now embraced countries of the Caribbean basin which were previously excluded from the logistics of the migrant flow to Mexico then to the USA and Canada. Caribbean deportees and migrants are using this route to re-enter the USA which blends with the flow of global migrants entering the Caribbean island chain for movement to Mexico. Circuitous routes are adopted and the entry point to Mexico can be Belize as Belize is a member of CARICOM therefore movement to Belize via a CARICOM route is feasible. Belize in 2006 and 2010 had two instances of complicity of the state agencies of Belize in the sale of travel documents to Chinese migrants seeking to enter the US and in the 1990s Belize was integrated into the Fujianese snakehead transnational organised crime group that smuggled Chinese into the USA especially New York headed by Sister Ping. The Fujianese snakehead THSO was never dismantled in Belize and remains operational today. The flow of Chinese migrants into the Caribbean basin and to Mexico for illegal entry to the USA and Canada illustrates the continuity of a smuggling pipeline fostered by its ability to adapt to changing operational realities. The Caribbean basin is a transition zone to the route to Mexico as it’s also a transition zone to the USA and Canada. But with the expansion of Chinese interests in the Caribbean basin and Latin America these zones are now destinations for illicit Chinese migrants especially those under the control of the snakeheads. The prime destinations are still the USA and Canada hence the need for use of the Mexico/USA border. But in the Caribbean the flow of Chinese migrants between Guyana and Suriname which masks the flow into Latin America and the Caribbean island chain is illustrative of the pipelines moving Chinese migrants into, through and out of the Caribbean basin where the snakeheads and the MTTOs have formed an alliance where there is the illicit flow from China to the region and the counter illicit flow from the region to China.









The abiding lesson of this illicit enterprise is the cost attached to a hierarchy of service packages offered by the THSOs. The experience of those who purchased the premium package for their journey from their country of origin to their destination is vastly different from those who could only afford the low end package. And the experience of those of very limited means seeking to traverse spaces under the control of the coyotes of the THSOs is in a category by itself. Western media concentrates predominantly on the discourses of those of the latter group and the low end package but the effectiveness of the enterprise of the THSOs is best illustrated by the discourse of those who purchased the premium package but they are the most successful smuggled migrant group and not given to talking to the media. There is then a social order of migrants at the US/Mexico border with those experiencing grave hardship to attain their objective being most visible and vocal as is common to all illicit social orders. But this reality in no way sums up the reality of this illicit social order and the sustainability of its illicit enterprise as demand for an illicit service drives it but those who can afford the premium package, a minority, are its most successful customers in attaining their personal objective. An illicit enterprise that exhibits the characteristics of capitalism in all its glory yet it contravenes law. There is then a vast difference in outcome between the price paid of USD 50,000 and USD 5,000. What then must you expect when you pay USD 800? Or worst yet when you choose to make the journey to Mexico, then from Mexico to the US and within the US independent of the MTTOs who dominate this space? Whitened bones in the desert wilderness!

The North Atlantic Discourse of Human Trafficking

This discourse when applied to the Caribbean basin refuses to deal with the reality of human smuggling only focused on something defined as human trafficking where the person is being trafficked against their will. The overwhelming number of persons smuggled in the Caribbean basin pay for these services and are conscious, willing participants in an illicit enterprise. The most profitable victims trafficked in the Caribbean basin are the children smuggled in the company of adults posing as their parent/s or guardian charged with the task of delivering these children to the organisations that sell them to the paedophiles especially of the tourist resorts. The child slave markets of Haiti and the DR and the children of the sex business of Punta Cana are simply potent indicators of the child sex work business of the Caribbean. These children/victims are never the concern of the discourse of human trafficking much less its primary concern enabling the growth and development of online paedophilia sites using these children for media packages sold at great profit. They are the silent victims of this north Atlantic discourse in the Caribbean basin. Abduction, kidnapping and forced labour as sex work is part of the human smuggling industry in the Caribbean basin but the primary victims are those who willingly entered into a business relationship with the coyotes of the THSOs. The business of human smuggling is the terrain in which these actions take place you therefore deal with the primary activity not its offshoot. The business of human smuggling is all pervasive as persons being smuggled have learnt with the arrival of the discourse of human trafficking in the Caribbean basin you insist that you are a victim of human trafficking whenever interdicted by state agencies. Human trafficking is then the domain of the bottom feeders of the underworld in the Caribbean basin. Having no operational links to the hegemonic THSOs and devoid of the resources to create a smuggling organisation capable of competing with that of the THSOs they choose to use hustles of promises of jobs in other countries with package prices undercutting that of the THSOs and other players. They are looking for especially vulnerable people women for sexual slavery and men for forced labour. The gravest danger they face is the discipline of the THSOs for entering into their space as interlopers. This discourse of the north Atlantic has in fact worked in favour of the THSOs and the suppliers of children for sexual and other purposes and to the detriment of the children of the Caribbean basin.


Transnational Organised Crime Groups (TOCGs) Linkages to the MTTOs

The linkages between TOCGs and the MTTOs is now apparent as there are alliances and affiliations to maximise the profits of illicit trades that these crime groups are involved in. The premier smuggler of Chinese from China the Fujian snakeheads to the rest of the world has now an operational alliance with the MTTOs to move illegal Chinese migrants across the Mexico/US border into the US and this alliance also covers smuggling of migrants to Canada. The migrant flow of China is simply one illicit commodity of a pipeline of valuable inputs from China such as precursors for meth production and there is the flow to China of one of a range of illicit commodities such as the product, nose powder, that is the rage of the elite of China as in Shanghai. The premier human smugglers of West Africa the Nigerian organised crime groups also have an operational alliance as the Ghanaian dominant organised crime groups. This alliance moves migrants into the Caribbean basin and through the Caribbean basin to Mexico for entry to the USA and Canada. The alliance with these West African groups primarily encompasses illicit drug trafficking to the EU which illustrates a deepening of the alliance and affiliation. The movement of citizens of Nepal and Bangladesh in ever increasing numbers to Mexico and to North Africa for entry into the USA, Canada and Europe respectively indicates the links between the drug trafficking organisations of North Africa and the MTTOs who now control the flow of migrants across the Mediterranean to Europe. And the links between those THSOs moving the Asians to the Caribbean basin and North Africa to the MTTOs. The MTTOs through their operational alliances with illicit drug trafficking groups in North Africa, Mediterranean Europe, the Adriatic and the Black Sea have welded this reality to its hegemony over the Caribbean basin and the Mexican pipeline to the US and Canada to create in the 21st century the most expansive and transnational THSO alliance in history. In an era when the talking heads of neoliberal financial capitalism are speaking of de-globalisation whilst the hegemonic players of globalised TOC are welding alliances and affiliations into a profit maximising machine to exploit the weak and inadequate state produced by the political cult of neoliberalism further weakened to inadequacy fostered by the lack of will to engage by the cult of complicity of neoliberal financial capitalism with the TOCGs of the world.




The Chinese Globalised Video Gaming machines Hustle

The Globalised Video Gaming Machines Hustle of the Chinese

Video gaming/gambling machines manufactured in China and exported globally has now spawned a global Chinese hustle. Two examples to illustrate this Chinese hustle are the realities of Ghana and Trinidad and Tobago (T&T). In Ghana gambling is legal whilst in T&T gambling is illegal except in approved facilities such as the race club, the betting shop and the members club. Yet in both Ghana and T&T the Chinese hustle is strategically very similar which raises the issue of how does the Chinese hustle in T&T surmount the obstacles placed by law and the specific realities that arise with illicit gambling activities? In Ghana and T&T the machines are imported from China sold to locals, placed in the hands of locals through a working relationship with the Chinese or directly managed by the Chinese. In both countries the labour and the face of the Chinese hustle is imported from China and this imported labour works for the faceless owners of the hustle. This is a cash business which means that cash is collected from the machines, it has to be transported, converted and placed into the world currency flows at some point for the Ghanaian Cedi and the T&T $ has to be converted into USDs preferably and repatriated to China or some other point of reception.

In Ghana the country has been inundated with the Chinese hustle but gambling is legal which has enabled the saturation level of the Chinese hustle in Ghana. One issue highlighted with the Chinese hustle in Ghana is the endemic gambling addiction spawned by the machines in the north of Ghana. Where persons now believe that they can earn a living by investing their limited cash resources to beat the machines which inevitably fails. What is then happening is the drain of limited resources from Ghana to China further under developing Ghana. In T&T where gambling is illegal the potent sigh of the Chinese hustle is common throughout the island of Trinidad but are all establishments in which these gambling machines operate legally private members’ clubs? All establishments that are part of the Chinese hustle who are operating illegally operate in the realm where crime groups police the spaces of this realm seeking profits and dominance. The recent arrivals operating in illicit spaces are in need of protection and the links by which to purchase services and impunity from agents of the state and the players of the illicit realm. Those who operate the hustle in T&T without the protection and operating structure of Chinese transnational organised crime groups have then to navigate the terrain of the state and the crime realm in the quest to attain the necessary impunity to ensure sustainable operation of the hustle. Those who arrive in T&T from China as independents with the intent to run this hustle on the cheap refusing to pay the taxes and the tribute due will find themselves on the receiving end of the backlash from the crime realm. The issue of the murders of recently arrived Chinese and the number of reported robberies of these Chinese in T&T have arisen but this is also a reality of Guyana and Jamaica must be viewed via this reality as well as others in play. Those who are operating this hustle along with other hustles such as the illicit numbers game and other forms of illicit gambling are targets of opportunity even though they are part of a transnational organised crime group but the grave risk scenario explodes in intensity for those who are independents as both local and transnational organised crime will feed on them violently when necessary. Being part of an organised crime group generates its own risks as the risk of infighting within the group and there is the risk of conflict between organised crime groups where the earners on the ground become the prime targets. The market in T&T is in change and in a period when a new order with a new group exercising its hegemony is in transition bodies get dropped that’s the nature of the game.

As in Ghana the operating strategy is similar as cash is the preferred operational mode fed into the purchase of foreign exchange and the word is out on this reality in the realm of crime which has become the blood on the water that created a crime feeding frenzy focused on the recent arrivals in T&T, Guyana and Jamaica. In Ghana this feeding frenzy will inevitably appear as there is no shortage of persons in the realm of crime willing to exploit this opportunity as your operational mode facilitates predatory acts. Which in itself potently illustrates the lack of sophistication expected from transnational organised crime making these operations the expendable mask that shields those of transnational organised crime from scrutiny. Only those afflicted with denial don’t accept the reality of the operational existence of Chinese transnational organised crime and those dispensing the discourse of Chinese as incapable of being involved in criminal activities.


October 8, 2017

The Minister of Finance in the 2017-2018 Budget speech of October 2, 2017 stated that: “Trinidad and Tobago is home to a gambling industry worth an estimated $15 billion -$20 billion, from which we collect little or no taxes.” The Minister again states: “the non-enforcement of the current law has led to a considerable rise in non-compliance in respect of remittance of taxes by the sectors of the gambling industry.” And finally “The totally unregulated and buoyant gambling sector and the emergence of online gambling are absorbing significant foreign exchange resources. Some estimates put the annual outflow from Trinidad and Tobago at approximately US$ 200 million.” The Minister of Finance has then confirmed reality on the ground with respect to the failure to police gambling in T&T, the wholesale tax evasion that pervades gambling in T&T and the drain on the foreign exchange reserves of T&T. Not mentioned by the Minister is the money laundering that thrives in this environment and the organised crime that controls it all. Gambling in T&T is then a cauldron that spawns’ violence and the violence will accelerate. One cause of this escalation will be the 10% tax on cash winnings from the online games of the NLCB which will push players into the hands of the illicit numbers game who already pay higher odds and will not levy the tax. This will then intensify the turf war that is presently developing enveloping the Chinese illicit book makers who are not playing by the rules of the game. The failure to police the law is then enabling crime and violence. The dramatic rise in taxation levied on the tables and the machines of the gambling sector has given rise to a public discourse of collective punishment unleashed by specific entities within the sector as the failure to police the sector is the cause of the tax evasion with those abiding by the law being punished along with the tax evaders. In this public discourse the Chinese involved in the gambling sector have been identified as the major evaders and the call is to police the sector not raise the taxes as there is no guarantee that the evaders will now pay the higher taxes due. The visibility of the newly arrived Chinese minority in T&T is rising as they are being placed under the spotlight.




Race, Income and the Ownership of Elite Business Enterprises in T&T 2017

August is the month of the end of African enslavement and independence from British colonial domination. It’s then a month in which hard questions on the nature of the social order of T&T must be posed and  answered. I have already posted on the price paid for independence 1962 what follows is an analysis of race, income and ownership in the social order.

Race and the Social Order of Trinidad and Tobago (T&T)

A question devotedly evaded by sociological research on T&T is the impact of race on the structure and power relations of the hierarchy, that is common to all social orders, of the social order of T&T. Existing literature has focused solely on race relations between African and Indian Trinbagonians driven by the premise that the two major race groups are engaged in the constant battle to dominate the state via political power hence these two races therefore wield power in the social order. This position deliberately evades studying the power wielded by minority race groups and specifically the distribution of income between race groups. Salient realities of the social order of T&T are evaded by this position specifically the nexus between race and power in the social order and the power relations that flow from the nexus between race and power.  In its place a discourse of race and power defined as the competition between the two major race groups is propagated that relentlessly attempts to mask and prohibit exposure of the reality of race and power on the ground. This is vitally necessary as the reality of race and power on the ground falsifies this discourse of racist hegemony which insists that the two majority black races dominate the social order that drives the politics of race especially voter mobilisation in T&T.

The “Household Budget Survey 2008/2009” of the Central Statistical Office (CSO) presents a picture of race and the social order within the bounds of the paradigm informing the study. Conducted from 2008 to 2009 based on a sample of 7,090 households in T&T it presents an insight into the nature of the social order of T&T at the tail end of the gas boom. The study classifies income into low, medium and high areas and ethnic groups as follows: African, Indian, Chinese, Syrian-Lebanese, Caucasian, Mixed and Other with Not Stated included. In Volume 4 Table 1.8 of the study the percentage distribution of household members by ethnic group and income area is presented. This table reveals that the ethnic groups with the highest percentage distribution in the high income group is as follows: Syrian-Lebanese 83.3%, Caucasian 74.4%, Chinese 52.3%, Other 47.4%, Mixed 29.3%, Not Stated 27.6%, African 24.1 % and Indian 17.1%. Two minority race groups prove that the distribution of income is skewed in favour of these two groups and the third placed minority race group, Chinese, whilst not having the depth of high income distribution as the first two still manages to tower above those groups following i.e. Mixed, African and Indian in that order. The picture is then potently clear that the structure of the social order in biased in favour of three specific minority race groups earning income in a manner that enables a saturation of its group members in the case of the Syrian-Lebanese and Caucasian groups and in the Chinese group the case is over 50%. The three major race groups of T&T present the counter reality with Indian 17.1%, African 24.1% and Mixed 29.3%. Some 17% of the Indian households of the study were in the high income bracket which meant that the largest single race group in T&T had the lowest presence within the high income bracket. The Mixed group which is the third largest group nationally had the highest percentage of the three largest groups of the national population with the African having a percentage of 24.1% or second place. The discourse of Indian wealth is then severely falsified by this reality. It is then apparent that structures exist within the social order that enable the social mobility and sustainable generation of income to maintain socio-economic positions within the high income bracket that are not available to wide cross sections of the Indian, African and Mixed populations. The structure of restricted access is specifically biased in favour of the Syrian-Lebanese and the Caucasian groups to the detriment of the Indian, African and Mixed groups. This is clearly illustrated by the percentage distributions for the middle income bracket by race groups. The Indian was the largest single group in the middle income bracket with 58.2% yet they are the smallest group in the high income bracket. The African group is the second largest group with 47.5% in the middle income bracket yet they are the second to last group in the high income bracket. The mixed group is the third largest group with 43.8% in the middle income bracket yet it is the third to last group in the high income bracket. The Syrian-Lebanese 16.7%, the Caucasian 21.8% and the Chinese 27.3% are the three lowest groups in consecutive order in the middle income bracket which is the stark opposite of the ranking for the high income group. There is then no ceiling for the Syrian-Lebanese more so, the Caucasian and the Chinese in the transition from middle to high income unlike the Indian, African and Mixed. In the low income bracket the African group with 28.4% of households is the largest group in this bracket followed by the Mixed group with 27.4% then the Indian group with 24.4%. The Chinese group is next with 20.5% then the Caucasian group with 3.4%. There were no households of Syrian-Lebanese in the sample in the low income group. The group Other recorded 15.8% of Other households in the low income bracket, 36.8% in the middle income bracket and 47.4% in the high income bracket. Of the three largest race groups the Indian had the lowest number of households in the low income bracket, the highest number of households in the middle income group for the three largest race groups and for the entire study and the lowest number of households in the high income bracket for the entire study. The reality is similar for the African and Mixed groups and entirely and extremely different for the Syrian-Lebanese as there were no households in the low income bracket. Clearly the Chinese population has been impacted by the arrival of labour from the Peoples’ Republic of China and the migration that has ensued.

Given the demography of T&T the Syrian-Lebanese and Caucasian groups are over represented in the high income bracket of the study and underrepresented in the low income bracket. The mechanism that created this disparity must be deconstructed but much more importantly is exposing the power relations that arise from the positions of privilege the Syrian-Lebanese, Caucasian and Chinese occupy with especially the state and the politicians of the Indian, African and Mixed groups. What is readily apparent is the impact of the gas boom has had on the social order where the number of households of the three major race groups in the low income bracket are below 30% and the number of households of the three major race groups in the middle income bracket range over 40% to just below 60%. But the gas boom has singularly failed to enable the three major race groups to occupy the high income bracket in numbers representative of their individual share of the national population. The gas boom has then been exploited to the full and greater benefit of the Syrian-Lebanese, the Caucasian and the Chinese seen in their dominance of the high income bracket. The gas tide rose but not all ships rose in response in a balanced and equitable manner as an oligarchy dominated by minority races is the outcome. The oligarchy then ensures its hold on power by dominating the spaces they control and relentlessly seeking to exert hegemony over spaces not under their control thereby constricting the supply of free space necessary to enable mobility into the high income bracket. To limit opportunity sustainably demands power and power relations exercised in your favour and in T&T that means minority races exerting power over members of the majority races especially those who animate the state.

The picture presented of race and the social order of a hierarchy driven by a race order very much premised on that of the colonial plantation order some 55 years after independence is made more cogent by the income area heads of households of the sample are classified in according to race. Volume 2 table 16 (2.16) shows the relationship between the race of the heads of households of the study and the income areas they are classified into. 100% of the head of households of the Syrian-Lebanese were in the high income area none in the middle and low income areas. 80.4% of Caucasian heads of households were in the high income areas with 17.4% in the middle income area and 2.2% in the low income area. 47.8% of Chinese were in the high income area with 39.1% in the middle income area and 13.0% in the low income area. The Chinese whilst overrepresented in the high income area as the Syrian-Lebanese and the Caucasian groups have attained the depth of the process of mass mobility to the high income area as the other two groups. For the demographically largest groups the Indian has 18.7% of heads of households in the high income area, 57.8% in the middle income area and 23.5% in the low income area. The African has 25.6% in the high income area, 47.2% in the middle income area and 27.2% in the low income area. The Mixed has 31.3% in the high income area with 42.7% in the middle income area and 26.0% in the low income area. The Mixed among the three major race groups of T&T has the largest percentage presence in the high income area with an appreciable presence in the low income area and middle income area given the size of this demographic group. Apparently your mobility into the high income area is potently impacted by the race mixture of your miscegenation. Volume 2 Table 1.7 matches the race of head of households to average monthly income and expenditure of the household. Under average monthly income the Caucasian had the largest average monthly income of TT$19,503.9 next was the Syrian-Lebanese with TT$ 15,303.1 then the Chinese with TT$ 12,142.0. The Other followed with TT$ 10,794.2 then the Mixed with TT$ 9,317.5, followed by the African with TT$ 9,255.1 and finally the Indian with TT$ 8882. The difference between the average monthly income of the Caucasian and Indian groups is marked and potently illustrates the skewed nature of the race based distribution of income.

The context of these tables is framed by the 2011 population census where the population of T&T was 1, 328,019 persons with the ethnic composition by percentage of total population as follows: Indian 35.4%, African 34.2%, Mixed 22.8%, Caucasian 0.59%, Chinese 0.30%, Syrian-Lebanese 0.08%, Other Ethnic group 0.17%, Portuguese 0.06% and Indigenous 0.11%. The non-institutional population by race is as follows: Total T&T 1,322,546; African 452,536; Caucasian 7,832; Chinese 4,003; Indian 468,524; Indigenous 1,394; Mixed: African/Indian 101,363, Mixed: Other 200,503; Portuguese 837; Syrian/Lebanese 1,029; Other Ethnic group 2,280. The study indicates that the apex of the hierarchy of the social order of T&T is dominated by the three minority races: The Syrian-Lebanese, the Caucasian and the Chinese along with non-representative numbers of members of the Mixed, African and Indian groups.

The research instruments utilised by the CSO are not constructed to identify those within the high income area who own and control capital which is exerted via various mechanisms that impact the social order to the extent where individual action has political significance to the extent of impacting the actions of the politicians in control of the state. These mechanisms involve enterprises, investment decisions and personal wealth generation and management. When you have a situation where a small minority of the population can impact the integrity of the social order via the decisions made in the quest to maximise profit and wealth then you have an oligarchy on your hand. When this oligarchy impacts the operation of the state through its power relations with those who articulate the state especially the politicians then you have an oligarchy that has captured the state. When you have an oligarchy that is dominated by minority races wielding power over majority races through state capture buttressed by economic power then you have an apartheid state. This apartheid state will at some point in its evolution generate a race relations crisis which will be expressed via race war in an attempt to resolve the power relations in favour of parties in conflict.

The Three Conglomerates

The T&T energy economy and its place in the international capitalist order has generated an import driven indigenous non-energy private sector catering to consumption driven by imported tastes and lifestyles made possible only by the foreign exchange fed into the system by the energy exporters via taxes and royalties. Those who import what we consume don’t export to the world to earn what they need to pay for what they import. It’s a delusional lumpen-oligarchy that has evolved in T&T as it squats on feet of clay in its subservience to international capital. The oil and gas wealth that has flowed through T&T via the political discourse of development has resulted in the creation of an indigenous non-energy private sector dominated by three conglomerates: Massy Group, ANSA McAl Group and Victor E. Mouttet Limited. The original number was four with C L Financial Group included but with the intervention of the state into C L Financial it is now in stasis with an uncertain future. The Massy Group is a listed public company active in the Caribbean island chain, Guyana and Colombia with approximately TT$ 11 billion in assets as at the 2016 financial report. The 10 largest shareholders of the Massy Group are all institutional and financial services investors of T&T and Barbados. The ANSA McAl Group is a public listed company with the dominant, hegemonic shareholder being the family of deceased Anthony Sabga active in the Caribbean island chain, Guyana and the USA with approximately TT$ 13 billion in assets as at the 2016 financial report. The Victor E. Mouttet Ltd group is a private company owned by the family of deceased Victor E.  Mouttet active in the Caribbean island chain through its joint venture with Goddard Enterprises Ltd of Barbados and in T&T. Combined these three conglomerates dominate or are competitive in the sectors of the economy where they are active and they avoid investing in competitive wars for domination of sectors with each other. Together they dominate two sectors of strategic importance to the social order: the importation and distribution of pharmaceuticals and food. The Victor E. Mouttet is the leading food processor of T&T, the largest importer of pharmaceuticals, a food importer with traction in the local market and the dominant operator of fast food franchises in T&T with KFC, Pizza Hut, TGI, Subway and Starbucks. Massy Group and ANSA Mc Al with their importation of pharmaceuticals and food complete the strategic impact of these three conglomerates on the social order of T&T. There are two models of ownership and control within the three dominant conglomerates of the non-energy private sector: private ownership in the hands of a family owning the business and wielding control over an instrument that contributes to the generation of family wealth and its sustainable management across time and the executives of a conglomerate who don’t own and has fleeting control which ends with retirement. This group can only generate and manage personal wealth from the compensation package afforded them by the conglomerate or via personal enrichment via illicit activities within and without the conglomerate. The lesson is then clear that the families handling multi-billion TT$ businesses are the basis of an oligarchy that is sustainable. Much more importantly is the reality that professionals don’t command the resources and the instrumental means to compete with these families unless they command multi-billion TT$ enterprises that they themselves own. There is no group of the scale of these three owned and controlled by an Indian Trinbagonian family and a Chinese Trinbagonian family. Given the demise of C L Financial there is now no African owned business of comparable scale and expanse. The Anthony Sabga family that holds the dominant shareholding in ANSA Mc Al is Arab Trinbagonian of Syrian ethnicity. The Victor E. Mouttet family is the product of the marriage of a French Creole Trinbagonian male to an Arab Trinbagonian female therefore their offspring are Mixed. The Victor E. Mouttet group is in the hands of Mixed race persons.

The acquisition of majority shareholding in the Mc Enearney/Alstons group by Anthony Sabga was the most potent business acquisition in the private sector of T&T from 1962 to the present. That it was the acquisition of a white dominated group by an Arab businessman of Syrian ethnicity dramatically changed the terrain of the private sector inherited from the colonial order and by extension the power relations of the post-independence social order. This acquisition by Anthony Sabga and the strategy pursued by Neal and Massy to acquire white owned companies within the ambit of a publicly listed company forever changed the race structure of the private sector formed under colonialism and bequeathed to independent T&T.

The Arab and Chinese groups took the strategic direction to invest in the creation of businesses rooted in families where members of future generations will then have the choice of entering the professions once the wealth base of the family is established and sustainable. To accept the choice to pursue professions at the outset would have negatively impacted their drive to create family rooted wealth generation instruments with the likelihood of continuing deprivation amongst members of the family as not all are cut out for the professions and would have then slipped into the mill of salaried employment. The family owned and worked business was then the chosen instrument to ensure family mobility to the apex of the social order. Both groups today consist of a hierarchy of families who exert power through the amassed resources and sustainable wealth generation.

The Arab clans and families

Besides the family of Anthony Sabga the Hadeed clan is visible on the landscape of T&T through its economic activity through its brands as Blue Waters, Francis Fashions Shoe Locker, Sports and Games and Gulf City Malls but all activity is not restricted to these brands. The Aboud clan is visible with the brands Amalgamated Security Services Limited and Global Brands Limited, the Starlite Group, Jimmy Aboud, Mode Alive and Aioli but all activity is not restricted to these brands. The Rahael clan is visible with its property development activities seen in its brand Amera Caribbean Ltd, Amera Corporation and the RHL Group of companies. Richard Azar owner of The Falls at West Mall and Dairy Dairy milk products is a financial investor in the North Atlantic of note. The Matouk family owner of National Canners. The Emile Elias group of companies with the flagship NH International (Caribbean) Ltd. The Issa Nicholas group of companies comprised of hotels, an energy company, a new vehicles and equipment sales company, property development and commercial property rentals. The Laquis family pioneered the marriage of medical professional status with the business of the sale of medical supplies and equipment.

The Arab population of T&T especially those of the Syrian ethnicity is the only race group in the social order that has experienced sustained and drastic social mobility into the apex positions of the hierarchical social order of T&T particularly from the second half of the decade of the 1980’s which quickened in the decade of the 1990’s and solidified its present form and content in the first decade of the 21st century. This upward mobility into the apex positions of the social hierarchy involved a wide cross section of this minority group but this did not eclipse the creation of a hierarchy within the group placed in the apex positions of the social hierarchy. This dramatic upward mobility by a comparatively recently arrived minority immigrant group in a comparatively short time frame is uncommon in the Caribbean and in the North Atlantic which demands research and explanation of but mind you don’t lose your livelihood doing such a study.

The Arab population of Trinbago has seen especially since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war the arrival of predominantly Syrian migrants who have established food outlets specialising in Syrian and other food with a Syrian twist. Known commonly on the streets as the “gyro boys” these new arrivals are changing the demographic and the sociology of the Arab population of Trinbago with the pressures of being new arrivals seeking space in which to position themselves in the social order as they are not of the existing Arab population, Arabic is still their first language, yet different from the rest of the population and are subject to the body of perceptions utilised in interpreting the actions of the Arab Trinbagonians on the ground. Whilst learning a new culture and language they are very much treated as the miscegenate of their race in Trinbago. Already they have had to deal with the move to brand them all with the terrorist brand simply because they are ethnically Arab.

The Chinese families

The Chinese in Trinbago is now a race group in flux with the arrival of a wave of Chinese from the Peoples’ Republic of China who are now visible on the landscape of T&T via the supermarkets and Chinese fast food outlets they have established throughout especially Trinidad. Juxtaposed to this wave of new arrivals are the Chinese Trinbagonian families who dominate this group and are ethnically distinct from the new arrivals. Then there are the haquai Chinese or the Mixed products of predominantly Chinese males copulating with non-Chinese Trinbagonian women. This is one aptitude of the waves of Chinese men that preceded the new arrivals of this era are not practising as in the case of my maternal grandfather Chin Ming Lung. The prominent Chinese Trinbagonian families in the public space are: Mack, Scott, Gillette, Chin with Derek Chin as the noted public face, Chin Lee, Poon Tip, Siu Chong, Williams, Tang Yuk, Chan and Soong. The enterprise of note created by haquai Chinese is Albrosco by the Aleong family. The order of the new arrivals is entirely different which raises the question of the power relations between the Chinese Trinbagonians and the newly arrived Chinese in their attempt to replicate the power relations of China in T&T.

The White Group

The White business elite present in 1962 had their ranks severely depleted by mergers and acquisitions with Neal and Massy now Massy Group and the acquisition of Mc Enearney/Alstons by Anthony Sabga. The same would happen to Barbados Shipping and Trading with its acquisition by Neal and Massy. Further inroads were made with acquisitions by Victor E. Mouttet Ltd leaving a vastly reduced number of business enterprises with national impact in the hands of White families. The business enterprise of this race group that has strategic impact on the social order is the Bermudez Biscuit company owned by the Bermudez family through its ownership of the largest baked goods production units in T&T through the Kiss baking company and the Bermudez biscuit plant. Others of note in the eye of the public are the Peake group of companies owned by the Peake family, Brydens Trinidad and Tobago group of companies, Laughlin and De Gannes and the Furness group owned by the Ferreira family all compete in sectors where the conglomerates and other are active. Label House owned by the Lewis family dominates the sector it’s positioned in.

The Mixed group

The largest footprint of a business enterprise owned by a member of the Mixed group is Arthur Lok Jack with his ownership of Associated Brands and investments made such as the number of shares he holds in Guardian Holdings. Mario’s Pizzeria the largest pizza franchise in T&T which also has a regional footprint is owned by the Richard Harford family is another noted national brand in this group. The disparity in income within the Mixed group is then starkly illustrated by the disparity in the ownership of elite businesses within the group. Where amongst the three largest race groups in T&T the Indian, the African and the Mixed, the Mixed group had the largest number of households in the high income area, the lowest number in the middle income area and the highest number in the low income area. Clearly what races you are mixed with impacts your life chances, your income earning ability and your ability to own businesses and attain professional status. The glaring contrasts of wealth and income distribution within the Mixed group of T&T then succinctly exposes the racist nature and structure of the social order of T&T contrary to the political discourse of “all ah we is one”. Miscegenation works for a minority within the group and condemns the majority of the group to deprivation and social immobility. The racist colonial plantation social order is still hegemonic in 2017 with some apparent changes.

The Indian group

In the Indian group’s strategic impact is in the production and processing of chicken for human consumption, the supply of steel for construction and fabrication, general construction including paved roads and steel fabrication, the globalised producer of beverages S M Jaleel and Electrical Industries group. In the chicken processing market Arawak owned by the Mohammed family dominates the T&T sale of processed chicken market. Arawak was originally owned by Neal and Massy who sold it to Jai Ramkissoon. The second placed company in this market is the Nutrimix Group of companies owned by another Mohammed family. In the steel market the Bhagwansingh Group of companies dominate and they are also the largest single supplier of hardware items. In the construction market which is very addicted to state contracts two dominant players are the Junior Sammy group of companies and the Coosal group of companies. The premier steel fabricating company is Hafeez Karamath Ltd part of the Hafeez Karamath Group which also owns Desalcott the desalinated water plant. In this market sector there are a number of firms competing for state contracts all predominantly Indian owned which heightens the power relations between this sector and the politicians thereby politicising the market. S M Jaleel owned by another Mohammed family is the premier globalised corporation of Trinbagonian origin headquartered in T&T specialising in the production of non-alcoholic beverages on a global scale. Electrical Industries group owned by Dave Ramkissoon grew through acquisitions of plants put up for sale by Neal and Massy, Agostini and L J Williams with his first acquisition at one time being part of the Ram Kirpalani empire produces electrical cables, lighting fixtures and PVC moulded products. Other strategic players are: Southern Sales Group of companies owned by the Ahamad family which is involved in new car sales and the family is noted for their investments as in the case of Guardian Holdings, Solo Beverages owned by the Charles family, Chief Brand products owned by the Khan family, K C confectionary owned by another Khan family and Kaleidoscope Paints by the Parson family. These companies own brands that are household names in T&T but they are active in market segments open to competition from other local producers and imports especially since the dismantling of tariff and non-tariff barriers. These brands have then to-date indicated their sustainability.

What has been the reality of Indian business activity in Trinbago since 1962 is premised on: the inability of a single family to drive their family controlled enterprise to the point of growing into a conglomerate of national strategic scale, the willingness to crowd sectors of the economy where they compete against themselves with cut-throat predatory actions, the willingness to over rely on markets dominated by the Indian Trinbagonian population thereby acquiring and in many cases deliberately pursuing a specific ethnic persona. This strategy yields limited value to any future attempt to expand beyond the ethnic base nor does it insulate from the advances of the conglomerates and minority races into the Indian dominated markets especially south of the Caroni river. Finally, there is the aversion for joint family investment action in order to launch projects which are not highly leveraged with the mainstream financial structure a strategy common to the Chinese group. Strategic choices have then resulted in action where specific families have generated wealth placing them on the national stage but the strategic impact of the race group on the social order is not reflecting the Indian Trinbagonian size of the national population. The worldview and the discourse that drives it which values the attainment of professional qualification and status over that of wealth generation and power maximisation through enterprise has directly and heavily influenced this reality today. Indian Trinbagonians dominate the medical and legal professions in T&T but this cannot translate into economic power and by extension the political power of capital. Families within the group invest in winning political control of the state as the primary means to grow family wealth and power but on the two occasions when political parties representative of the Indian Trinbagonian electorate have won political power the drive to feed at the trough of the state through contracts and the acquisition of state assets has further divided the economic elite of the group by intensifying the bitter rivalry between contending families. The legacy of this feeding frenzy and the fallout from it continues whilst the Indian Trinbagonian party languishes in sterile opposition politics.

What is obvious with the Indian Trinbagonian group is the number of business enterprises of the elite category owned and controlled by Muslims of Indian Trinbagonian descent. Given the size of the national population of Muslims (5% 2011 census) it’s obvious that Muslims are overrepresented in this category. Indian Trinbagonian family owned firms have acquired space in which to grow elite enterprises by acquiring enterprises active in market segments put up for sale by conglomerates and race minority owned enterprises. This is especially apparent with Arawak and the Electrical Industries group. Then there is the reality of pioneering enterprise such as the Parson family who in 1970 founded the first locally owned and operated paint manufacturing facility Kaleidoscope Paints where in 2017 Kaleidoscope paints is now active in an environment where the tariff and non-tariff barriers have been dismantled enabling imports and the local production environment is dominated by ANSA Mc Al who owns three of the dominant brands on the market Berger, Penta and Sissons paints.

The African group

With the demise of C L financial there is no African owned enterprise within the elite group of the indigenous non-energy private sector of T&T. The level of involvement of African Trinbagonians as owners in the private sector of T&T is in fact the lowest of all race groups and given the demography of T&T African Trinbagonians are extremely underrepresented as owners in this sector of the economy. This reality matches that of Jamaica and Barbados. The traction of the discourse of Black Power from 1969 and thereafter raised the question of Why is this so? The responses to this question mainly focused on the differences real and imagined between Africans and the other races culturally which precluded Africans to enterprise. An essentially racist argument borrowed from Max Weber’s racist discourse of the “Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism”. What is clearly apparent is that African Trinbagonians in their survival strategies have determined that employment with the state agencies, the public service, the state enterprises, the private sector and the professions is preferable strategically to the risks of investment in enterprise. African are then numerically the largest single race group employed as managers in T&T where they manage the enterprises of the other race groups contributing to the wealth generation and management of these groups. Why then don’t these managers who have relentlessly proven their skill and competence to manage other people’s wealth not invest in generating their own via enterprises which they own? The ability and competence of Africans to manage enterprises and generate wealth is now a given except for the racist hegemonists. The potent question then is there space in the domain of the private sector that will allow African enterprises to thrive and grow into conglomerates and other elite enterprises along with an African entrepreneurial base that now constitutes for the first time in our post-independence history an African Trinbagonian presence of note and impact in the private sector of T&T? Can the African risk aversion to investment in enterprise be the result of the perception that you are entering a severely competitive and crowded domain where you are disadvantaged to begin with and destined to lose your investment? Is this position informed by the actual experience of those who chose to invest, collapsed and ended up in debt and survival trauma? How can you rent from your competitor? Research on the survival strategies of Africans and the choices made thereof and the rationale for the choice of African managers to work for others rather than themselves must be done to expose the discursive reality underpinning this reality. Without this research the explanations relentlessly propagated over time is simply discourse with a political purpose.

The Terrain of Race Power Relations

An analysis of the race of members of the executive elites of Massy Group and ANSA Mc Al reveals the following:

Massy Group

The President and Group CEO is an African and the Executive Vice President and CFO is Mixed. The Executive Committee of the group comprises 19 executives including the CEO and the CFO and is composed as follows: 4 Africans, 1 Mixed, 1 Indian and 13 White and Latin. The white antecedents of the evolution of the Massy Group is still evident in the overrepresentation of whites on its executive committee even though it’s a publicly traded corporation. The colonial legacy survives the transition to being a publicly traded corporation.


The executive elite of ANSA Mc Al comprises 3 Indians, 1 African, 5 Whites and 5 members of the Anthony Sabga family in 2016. With the acquisition of majority shareholding by Anthony Sabga of a white dominated Mc Enearney Alstons group the overrepresentation of whites in the executive has continued. White executives remain the largest single non-Sabga group in ANSA Mc Al.

An analysis of the race of members of the executive elite of one-member company of the Victor E. Moutett group is as follows. Prestige Holdings Ltd is a public company where the Mouttet family owns the dominant share holding. The race composition of the executive elite of Prestige Holdings is structured as follows: 3 Whites, 1 Arab, 1 African, 1 Indian and 1 Mixed.

In the financial services sector of T&T the executive management picture afforded by Republic Bank, Scotia Bank and Guardian Holdings is as follows: Republic Bank: Indian 5, African 3, Mixed 4, Chinese 2, White/Latin 2, Arab 1. Scotia bank: Indian 7, African 1, Mixed 4, White 3, Arab 1. Guardian Holdings: Indian 4, African 5, Mixed 3, White 3.

In three apex strategic enterprises where the state holds the dominant share holding: T&TEC, National Gas Company (NGC) and National Flour Mills (NFM) the picture of the executive management of these enterprises is: T&TEC: Indian 4 and African 4. NGC: Indian 3, African 4, Mixed 3 and Chinese 1. NFM general management elite: Indian 3, African 1, Mixed 1. NFM executive management group: Indian 8, African 7 and Mixed 3. It’s expected that the politics of race impacts the hiring practices and career paths of employees within the state sector. But what is even more relevant to this study is the absence of the minority races within the executive elite of the state sector which indicates that this sector is not a priority career path for the Arab, White and Chinese groups.

Is there then a limit to upward mobility for African, Indian and Mixed managers in the indigenous non-energy private sector T&T? Specifically, is there a limit to upward mobility for African managers in this sector? The continued relevance of this question in 2017 signals the relevance of another question: was there social change or cosmetic surgery to alter the face of the colonial order post 1970 thereby ensuring its survival?
















The study is based on information in the public domain specifically the reports from the CSO, on the indigenous non-energy private sector and the state sector. The availability of the information necessary is the major deficiency to overcome hence there is the tendency to present evidence from available entities in the public domain. Private companies which are predominantly family owned in T&T are under no legal obligation to public disclosure hence information is framed by what is actually revealed in the public domain. The state sector is also noted for its willingness to evade placing the information sought in this study in the public domain limiting the expanse of the information presented. The public companies are then the main source of information for this study with its limitations but such is the reality of this sector in T&T. My study on Jamaica is available at: http://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/d0264a_88107f3c855746d9a1a358a575dc75ec.pdf and on Barbados at: http://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/d0264a_f66c5708d8da4fb88f97560873b166e9.pdf


“Household Budget Survey 2008/2009” Central Statistical Office Trinidad and Tobago

“Trinidad and Tobago 2011 Population and Housing Census Demographic Report” Central Statistical Office Trinidad and Tobago

The overarching Energy foundation of T&T’s economy and Prosperity








The Three Conglomerates




The Arab Group






















The Chinese group















The White group










The Mixed group






The Indian group

















The Terrain of Race Power Relations














How We Got Our Independence 55 years ago. The British Agenda Revealed!

The British Colonial Agenda for the Neo Colonial State of Trinidad and Tobago (1953-1962)

Understanding the Survival and Evolution of the Colonial Plantation Social Order After Independence (1962)





©Daurius Figueira July 2017














The Agenda for Trinidad 1953-1962 of the British colonial overlord

From August 1962 to the present we have failed miserably to interrogate the British colonial agenda from 1953-to independence in 1962 to expose how this agenda has impacted post-independence Trinidad and Tobago (T&T). We have then given the British colonial master a blameless, exemplary record as massa as we tear apart each other via the politics of racist hegemony. One side insists that the PNM released a tsunami of racial oppression upon them as the largest race minority of the period whilst the other insists that it was a case of nation building premised on massa day done. Both sides in their discourse must refuse up to today to delve into the British colonial agenda for independence and how this agenda impacted the very political leaders of both sides especially how it influenced their actions which amounted to compliance with the British colonial agenda. The discourse of racist hegemony of T&T relentlessly seeks to mask the historical reality of 1953-62 which places in the realm of suppressed knowledge the reality of what transpired for it reveals the nature of power and power relations in T&T post 1962 and it points to an explanation of the reality that with independence a social order premised on the hierarchy of a colonial plantation has not been demolished. In 2017 the African population of T&T is still not present in the private sector as owners of enterprises of power as the two conglomerates owned and controlled by ethnic minorities. In spite of political domination of the political state for extended periods after 1962 there is no erosion of the hierarchy established under the colonial order as is the case with Barbados and Jamaica. The move to liquidate C L Financial will then erase the last vestige of African ability to erect a globalised conglomerate confirming the examples of Barbados and Jamaica as the norm and CLICO and C L Financial in T&T as being the exception to the Caribbean rule. In a complex reality it is necessary to deconstruct the wall of discourse layer by layer.

In my book “The East Indian Problem in Trinidad and Tobago 1953-1962 Terror and Race War in Guyana 1961-1964” in the section on T&T I studied de-classified British colonial files for the period 1953-62 to unearth the British discourse of T&T for the period. The discourse consists of the following planks: T&T as part of the British West Indian Federation (BWIF), the intention to grant internal self-government, the rejected politicians of T&T, the threat posed to British interests by the rejected politicians, the need for a politician that the British can work with: the accepted politician and the agenda with this politician. The files show that prior to 1953 the prime threat to the British as visualised by the British was Tubal Uriah Butler and his Butler Party and Butler paid a very high price for this both personally and politically and the members of his movement paid the highest price. When you were a leader of Butler’s movement you simply lost your job and became non employable. In 1953 a new plank and target for action was added to the discourse. This was the “East Indian problem” which was the Hindu political movement founded by and under the leadership of Bhadase Sagan Maharaj expressed via the PDP and the Maha Sabha. The British viewed the Hindu political awakening with grave alarm especially the threat posed by an alliance between Maharaj and Butler for the 1955 general elections presenting for the British the totally unacceptable option of granting internal self-government to a Maharaj and Butler political alliance. To have Maharaj and Butler serving as Ministers was already unacceptable but having them serve under internal self-government as a government was unimaginable, unacceptable and impossible to accept. The British viewed the Hindu political movement as dangerous enemies of the BWIF worsened by an East Indian alliance against the BWIF between Maharaj and Cheddi Jagan of British Guyana. The British intelligence structure of T&T set about the task of creating personas for the frontline leaders of the PDP that painted them as sub-human barbarians and criminals who posed a grave threat to all non-Hindus of the colony. The British intelligence apparatus in response to this threat stepped up the race war in the colony to defeat this threat that drove them paranoid and when combined with Butler they simply went stir crazy. The British set out to defeat this clear and present danger by any means necessary. The 1955 general elections were postponed to a date to be announced whilst the granting of full internal self-government was moved off the table. The PNM was formed in January 1956, the general elections were called in September 1956 and Maharaj and Butler personally set about to destroy all the groundwork laid for an electoral compromise in the run up to the 1956 general elections. Maharaj and Butler fielded candidates in each other’s core seats splitting the vote and working to the benefit of the PNM. Butler divided his own party by dumping electoral favourites fielding unknowns and opening the way for the PNM. The British gave Butler an all-expenses paid trip to England before the 1956 elections he returned from England much too late to seriously and strategically campaign and proceeded to destroy the alliance and his party. Maharaj chose in the run up to the 1956 elections to purge those he considered his enemies from the party fracturing the party and destroyed whatever cross race appeal it had when he proceeded to attack Butler ending any hope of an alliance. Without the alliance there would be no victory. Was it political stupidity or the actions of maximum leaders massaged by the skilled hand of the British colonial overlord? Remember they knew all your most secret desires! Most importantly the power to draw electoral boundaries was firmly in the hands of the British until the 1961 general elections and they used this power to over represent the urban areas and underrepresent the rural areas in the legislative council. In the independence era the British model would live on until the demographic growth of the rural population demanded a modified model.

In the run up to the 1956 elections the British dismissed with contempt Albert Gomes and his POPPG as a viable alternative to Williams and the PNM whilst the other individuals and parties were all berated and dismissed. The files contain no assault on Williams and the PNM as reserved for Butler and Maharaj and certainly no contempt as applied to Gomes. But Williams in the files is an uncertain entity and the British want certainty. Let the games begin! The results of the 1956 elections indicated that T&T was not yet PNM country this would come with the 1961 general elections. Williams then was in need of favours from the colonial massa in order to solidify his hold on the limited power he was bestowed by the massa. In a unicameral legislature Williams insisted that he wanted a certain number of members who were appointed by the governor chosen by him and loyal to him. The governor led an assault on Williams at every chance he got but the massa in London gave Williams every favour he asked for and eventually moved the hostile governor.  In the aftermath of the speech Williams made after the defeat of the PNM in the federal elections of 1958 the governor led an assault on Williams to the London colonial massa insisting that Williams was a racist intent on destroying the colony through race war between the Africans and the East Indians. The London massa wrote back insisting that everything Williams said about the East Indians was in fact correct. Commencing with the 1958 speech Williams led an onslaught on the Indo Trinbagonian population utilising a discourse of demonisation with the full support of the colonial massa until the elections of 1961. In this time the new governor replaced the then governor noted for his anti-Williams position. Why this sudden change in Williams’ politics which he never repeated in post 1962 politics? From the files it was revealed that the massa gave Williams an ultimatum and a deal. Which was: without a clear and crushing defeat of the Hindu political movement in the 1961 general elections there will be no independence for T&T! A general election before independence in which the Hindu political movement is devastated, consigned to the benches of futile and sterile opposition politics is mandatory for independence. The result demanded will be won by any means necessary and the colonial massa and his governor are the playmakers, the offensive and defensive coaches and the quarter back coach. In the run-up to the 1961 general elections incidents of inter-racial violence broke out and a limited state of emergency was called in specific areas where the population was dominated by Indo Trinbagonians on the grounds of the threat of armed organised violence but nothing was found and no persons charged and prosecuted thereby confirming the reality of the threat. In this strategy massa’s governor was the play maker and the quarter back coach. The legislative council was expanded to 30 seats for the 1961 elections with the PNM winning 20 and the DLP 10 mission accomplished independence was now a given and as early as possible Williams demanded.

The games played by the Indo Trinbagonian politicians from 1956 to 1961 are also potently indicative of the hand of massa. The discourse of black oppression of the East Indian minority exonerated the agenda of massa to consign them to the futility of opposition politics. Whilst the African was fingered as the villain of the piece heightening the race divide and energising the politics of race across generations these Indo politicians were absolutely servile to massa’s agenda. They made it a political art to publicly appeal to massa for deliverance from the oppression of the African to the point of rejecting independence for it would entrench black oppression of the East Indian. They cobbled together a discourse of the East Indian victim at the hands of the African rawan whilst sucking up to the architect and playmaker of the strategy to consign their race to the political wilderness: massa. They ensured the success of massa’s strategy by preaching a discourse of racist hegemony which excluded political alliances with all persons opposed to the PNM insisting that they will eventually win political power with the demographically dominant Indian vote. Until such time they will labour in the wasteland until their deliverance from African oppression comes. The leader of the DLP under whom this discourse was unleashed was Rudranath Capildeo in the period 1956-1961 but Rudranath’s ties to massa are clearly illustrated by the agenda he pursued with his rise to power in the DLP following the departure of Maharaj and the bending of the rules to allow him in the period 1961-1966 to be leader of the opposition whilst resident in England pursuing an academic career. Ensuring that he was unable to attend the stipulated number of sessions of the House of Representatives in T&T yet his seat in the House never being declared vacant. R. Capildeo therefore in the period collected the salary of an MP and leader of the opposition in spite of never being present to execute effectively the duties of both posts. Under R. Capildeo’s leadership massa’s discourse of the DLP now spoke of a new DLP where all the threats to the British from the PDP are purged and new leadership emerges with local whites overrepresented among them but not Africans. R. Capildeo then set to the task of purging the DLP and in doing so finished its evolution into a narrow race based and religion defined party devoid of any chance of defeating the PNM at the 1961 polls comprising individuals beholding, subservient and suppliant to R. Capildeo and his agenda. The final blow was delivered in his reaction to race based heckling during the campaign and his call to arms which confirmed the discourse of race unleashed that the minority Indians were now willing to seize power via armed violence seen in the need for the instrument of the limited state of emergency. Racist hegemony has then been used for decades to mask the actions of a compliant, lackey elite to the dictates of massa.

The structure of the neo colonial state of T&T was laid in this period as the political elites of T&T were all beholding to massa for favours rendered and massa held the files of secrets. By 1969 the revolt against the continuation of the planation order was expressed in the streets via the discourse of Black Power which picked up momentum in 1970 culminating in the army mutiny. By 1970 the neo colonial order was in tatters and the services of massa were in demand and necessary in the period 1969-1970 to preserve the neo colonial order but on this occasion the enemy was the African population in the streets the base of the PNM was on the move and Williams was playing catch up. In this period 1969 and thereafter as is the case for the period 1956-1969 massa never deserted Williams but the heavy dose of state suppression could not change the plantation social order and its new variant the neo colonial plantation order. The rise in oil prices from 1973 onwards allowed Williams to purchase a truce with the African masses on the move and to tinker with the plantation order by creating visible blacks in the state sector, a workers’ bank and a national commercial bank. But the structures that ensured the entitlement of minorities continued and went into overdrive with the revenues derived from the oil windfall combined with the political discourse of development adhered to by all sides of the political divide. Whilst the energy resources of T&T particularly the shallow water offshore acreage was the plum that was picked cheaply to the benefit of a small player from the US.

The politics of race driven by the discourse of racist hegemony drives the electoral politics of this neo colonial state rendering the politicians arrogant but the politics of race is irrelevant to the power relations between the neo colonial state and the massa. The most recent development is the rise of race minorities who are insisting that the politicians must be subservient to them rather than massa. That is the politics of delusional local minority elites for massa must and will answer this challenge and they have your files also!

For greater detail read the book.

For an analysis of the discourse of racist hegemony in T&T see “The Politics of Racist Hegemony” by Daurius Figueira

See my book “Tubal Uriah Butler of Trinidad and Tobago and Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana the Road to Independence 6 March 1957 31 August 1962”