Within days of the announcement by US authorities that they had intercepted 700-odd pounds of cocaine shipped from Trinidad to Norfolk, Virginia, and the well-publicised arrival here of a number of Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents, I sensed that something had gone awfully wrong. Continue reading De ‘bust’ buss→
THE biggest ever drug bust in the history of the Norfolk Port in Virginia, United States was made on December 20 when US Customs Border Protection officers seized 332 kilos of cocaine which originated from Trinidad and Tobago and which carries an estimated street value of US$100M or TT$640M.
The cocaine was stored inside tins of Trinidad Juice Company juices which were part of a consignment of goods that arrived at the Norfolk Port after being shipped from Trinidad. The cocaine, believed to have originated from South America, was hidden inside 700 juice tins bearing the markings of the Cooperative Citrus Growers Association (CCGA) which is located off the Eastern Main Road in Laventille. Continue reading $640M COCAINE IN JUICE TINS→
Transparency International’s 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) ranks Trinidad and Tobago in position 91 out of 183 countries–falling from a 2010 rank of 73. Remember this is a temperature check of how corrupt we perceive our own public sector to be. So if you are a statistician; walk away–it is not a rigorous quantitative research methodology. If you are a politician, listen-up, as perception drives voting patterns. On one hand, it can be argued that this cannot be completely blamed on the present administration because it reflects a consistent slide from 2001 when we were ranked at 31. Continue reading Bridging the credibility gap→
Britain’s Channel 4 aired a documentary called Trinidad: Guns, Drugs and Secrets. On the night in question, I deliberately avoided watching it. The following day, as I signed onto Facebook, I saw links to it on so many profiles that I ended up watching the whole thing—twice. The two interviews that I found most interesting were the one with the resident from Laventille and the one with the Security Adviser to the Prime Minister. For me, these two represented the opposing sides of this ongoing debate over the state of emergency (SoE) and the current Government’s approach to crime. Continue reading Detaining ‘big fish, small fish’→
After hours of continuous searching at the Port of Point Lisas, police seized yet another 40-foot container of high grade Arizona marijuana on Thursday evening. Customs and Excise officers said the haul had a street value of $7.4 million. But in a news release late yesterday the Police Service Public Affairs Unit quoted the street value as $30 million. The release said the value had been confirmed by an “expert in the field of narcotics.” But Customs communications manager, Alicia Charles, said yesterday Customs and Excise worked out the figure by calculating a kilo of marijuana to be approximately $8,000. She said the officers found 38 bags of marijuana weighing more than 921 kilos. Continue reading Marijuana in the chicken: Drug bust at Point Lisas→
It was most disconcerting to witness Minister of National Security John Sandy and Attorney General Anand Ramlogan trying to convince the nation that the gang leaders from East Port-of-Spain and the East-West Corridor are the “big fish” that the entire nation are waiting to see rounded up and tossed into jail. When the country’s top politicians decide to play blind, pretending not to see the reality that honest eyes among the population see all the time, then we know that times are stark and dark. Continue reading Matters of Race in the State of Emergency→
“GUILTY as charged, sah!” I declare before the court of public opinion. I hasten to add, as most felons do, “But I need to explain, boss.” Yes, I was foremost among persons who felt that serious crimes had long passed the point of tolerance, that law-abiding citizens were living in a state of siege, and if a state of emergency was required to restore some semblance of order in the society, then bring it on. Continue reading State of Confusion→
TIME FOR ACTION
SAYING desperate times require desperate measures, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan yesterday declared war on criminals as the State unveiled a programme of heightened police action and appealed to citizens to stay home during the curfew hours of 9 pm to 5 am at six listed regional corporations.
PRIME MINISTER Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday confirmed Government has cancelled a deal with a Scotland-based shipbuilding company BAE Systems for the acquisition of three off-shore patrol vessels, ordered by the then PNM government at a cost of TT$1.5 billion. Continue reading Govt to get OPV $B refund→
British and Spanish police are investigating why 1.5 tonnes of cocaine, worth close to $1 billion, left Chaguaramas earlier this month aboard a yacht headed for Spain. The yacht was traced across the Atlantic Ocean by satellite after it left Trinidad until Spanish Police intercepted it on Monday. The drug haul showed similar signs to one of the biggest drug cases in Ireland two years ago, which also had strong links to T&T. The La Flibuste yacht, a UK-flagged vessel, was moored at Chaguaramas earlier this month before leaving with the cargo of 1.5 tonnes of cocaine hidden in a false roof of two of the cabins. Continue reading Chaguaramas named in $830m drug bust off Spain→