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Caribbean narcotics trafficking: what is to be done?

Introduction

At the end of the Cold War, the advent of globalization catapulted domestic crime across national boundaries into the transnational domain. Transnational crime has since mutated into a complex matrix of criminal activities. (1) Narcotics trafficking, money laundering, and illegal migration are integral components of extensive criminal networks that undermine the democratic stability, economic development and social well being of nations. (2) National and international response to non-traditional threats are further complicated by a myriad of security issues territorial disputes, economic decline, and natural and man made disasters that limit available resources.

Today, the narcotics trade is not only a multi-billion dollar industry, but it is also the center of gravity for many of the ills associated with trans-national crime. (3) In the western hemisphere, trade routes for narcotics trafficking vacillate between the transit zones of Central America and the Caribbean. (4) Known as the the third border of the United States, the tiny islands of the Caribbean lie between the world's leading producer, and the world's leading consumer of cocaine and marijuana South America and the United States, respectively. (5) Former U.S. Drug Czar, General Barry McCaffrey, described the ghastly effects of the narcotics trade as a "shared agony throughout this hemisphere." (6)

The geographic outlay of the Caribbean region adds to the complexities of counter-drug measures within the region. These tropical islands are in proximity to major sea lines of communication - the Panama Canal and Caribbean Sea areas. They extend from the Trinidad and Tobago Islands in the south (near the northern Venezuelan coastline) to the Bahama Islands in the north (approximately fifty miles off the U.S. east coast). The proximity of the Caribbean chain of islands to the major sea lines of communication, and its vast coastlines and territorial seas make this region a natural transit route for narcotics trafficking into the United States and Europe.

In recent years, limited resources of Caribbean governments have compelled them to join the United States in a cooperative posture toward combating drug trafficking. (7) Although cooperative security has given way to a host of bilateral and multilateral frameworks, peripheral measures such as joint training and asset acquisition will remain ineffective unless comprehensively reinforced by political will, economic viability, and social stability at the national, multilateral and multinational levels. (8)

These strategic factors political will, economic viability and social stability are major components of national power. Consequently, they must be consistently harnessed and fed into the cooperative equation, if efforts to safeguard the region against narcotics trafficking, and other elements of trans-national crime are to be effective. (9)

Political Will

National sovereignty, regional cooperation, and institutional integrity are vital subsets of political will. Issues regarding them require decisive resolution by government officials and policy makers to strengthen the process of cooperative security between nations.

The political, economic and social crises posed by drug smuggling require both U.S. and Caribbean policy makers to develop means of alleviating understandable fears concerning loss of sovereignty. In the past, interdiction efforts made by the U.S. were conducted within Caribbean territories without regard for the sovereignty and independent legal systems of those countries. (10) This unilateral approach generated much skepticism among Caribbean nations. (11) Upon introduction by the U.S., Caribbean nations interpreted the concept of collective security as an American ploy to undermine their sovereignty. (12) The ensuing political fallout created a collaborative stalemate between the U.S. and its Caribbean neighbors.

In addition to this, U.S.-led sanctions against Cuba following the overthrow of its government in 1959 by communist insurgents under Fidel Castro resulted in Cuba's isolation from regional affairs. Hence, a vital piece of the cooperative puzzle was missing from the Caribbean security framework.

Now that the Cold War is over, the United States no longer has a distinct security strategy for the region and sanctions against Cuba remain in effect. (13) The resultant absence of nationally and regionally coordinated strategies between local public agencies as well as national governments have stifled cooperative engagement. A classic example was evidenced in attempts made by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to better coordinate agency activities within the United States. The ONDCP's endeavours to unite U.S. law enforcement services were resisted by respective agencies resulting in continued deficiencies and ineffectiveness in counter-drug measures. (14) A similar occurrence was noted at the regional level during U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's visit with Caribbean foreign ministers in 1998. At the meeting, the Secretary of State was greeted at the negotiating table by Caribbean leaders, whose individual agendas were focused on national rather than regional interests. (15) Co nsequently, efforts to cement regional security ties were diluted by independent thinking. (16)

Lack of regional collaboration is not solely responsible for the slow tempo experienced in the process of cooperative security. During the Cold War period, the United States had unilaterally fixed its economic and military sights on countering communist threats within the region. This concentration opened a window of opportunity for Caribbean nations, governments and local elites, to furtively nurture narcotics trafficking. Over the years, national dependence on profits gained from this trade had induced a display of administrative and technical lethargy toward crime prevention by local government agencies. This institutional complacency encouraged the growth of the narcotics business and simultaneously inhibited law enforcement counter measure. The 1997 United Nations Drug Control Program report described the result: "... the anti-narcotic spirit--the political will against drug lords--is undoubtedly strong while the anti-narcotic flesh--the implementation of those policies--remains weak and fragmented." (17 )

Without the indispensable instrument of political will to resolve intrinsic sovereignty issues, develop regional cooperation, and overcome dependencies on artificial economies, perpetrators of trans-national crime will continue to thrive.

Economic Viability

Current global conditions demand that economic viability be granted priority status in resolving problems associated with trans-national crime within the broader context of cooperative security. (18) This concept of fostering economic viability abroad was viewed by Captain W. B. Woodson as one of America's promising instruments of national policy. (19) To this end, the implementation of a regional plan that incorporates long term sustainable development is essential for cooperative success throughout the region.

The United States displayed substantial economic interest in the region with the establishment of the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) during the latter half of the Cold War. The U.S. import tariffs for Caribbean goods manufactured under this initiative were reduced, and an equal source of revenue was generated for both the Caribbean and the United States. Since 1984, however, the trade gap has widened to $19 billion in favor of the United States. (20)

Today, the U.S. stands as a regional hegemon in the wake of the Cold War. Nevertheless, U.S. aid to the region has fallen from $237 million in 1985 to $23 million in 2000. The recent terrorist crisis in the United States has pressured Caribbean nations to seek international funding to counter future terrorist attacks, compensate for shortfalls from tourism, and implement measures against money laundering while combating the illegal drug trade. (21) Current economic conditions are expected to worsen as the tidal wave of globalization approaches. Caribbean nations dependent upon revenues derived from import duties and economic benefits under CBI are currently seeking alternative economic solutions before the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA) takes effect in 2005. (22)

Declining economies have also made it increasingly difficult for Caribbean governments to make meaningful contributions toward cooperative strategy efforts against a growing narcotics industry. (23) Additionally, the political and economic crisis in Haiti currently threatens the stability of the region with vast illegal migration flows. (24) The rise in unemployment throughout the region has also heightened prospects for the propagation of the Colombian effect, the luring of many into seeking employment in the drug trade as an alternative source of income. (25) Even worse, this lack of economic viability may very well trigger a new wave of problems in migration, domestic security and politics. (26) Understandably, the United States goal of achieving cooperative security without a regional economic agenda had left many at the 1997 U.S. and Caribbean Summit disappointed. (27)

Social Stability

Professional integrity remains a cornerstone of social stability. The chief obstacle to this strategic factor, however, is corruption. Although significant contributions have been made by non-governmental and charitable organizations toward the establishment of stable drug-free societies, governments play a fundamental role in maintaining professional integrity among local agencies within the cooperative framework. The existence or perception of corruption is a critical weakness within the cooperative environment and can do much harm in destabilizing developing societies.

The Bahamas, for example, became known as a nation for sale at the peak of the drug trafficking era during the 1980s. (28) Charges of corruption stemming from the narcotics trade had far reaching implications within the political and private sectors of the Bahamian society. A national inquiry was held to investigate the illegal use of the Bahamas as a transit region for illicit drugs into the U.S. Widespread corruption was brought to light during the course of the inquiry. (29) In its wake, government officials were compelled to resign from office, the country's reputation was tarnished, and public trust and support for law enforcement institutions were severely diminished.

Like the Bahamas, other nations within the Caribbean have suffered similar experiences stemming from the scourge of corruption. A case in point was the ousting of the prime minister of St. Kitts and Nevis. (30) Even worse, the former Minister of National Security in Trinidad and Tobago was assassinated for allegedly speaking out against corruption. (31)

A core problem experienced in uprooting corruption is the compulsive drive of many within poorer societies to acquire material wealth through corrupt practices encouraged by the narcotics trade. Left unchecked, the attitude of "administrative and technical lethargy" eventually seeps into the domain of counter-drug operations, where it undermines professional integrity and inhibits law enforcement efforts. (32)

Although governments of Caribbean nations are taking major steps to enforce money laundering laws within private institutions, the legislative basis to bring public officials to justice for corruption remains inadequate. (33) The cries of the RJR Communications Group's chairman, J. Lester Spaulding, for a comprehensive anti-corruption driven within government agencies in Jamaica echo the concerns of citizens throughout the Caribbean. (34)

Corruption is inadvertently encouraged by a lack of technical ability to bring those engaged in this social ill to justice. The presence of corruption, real or imagined, within government institutions, therefore, erodes the integrity of government institutions, deters public assistance in providing vital information and moral support for cooperative initiatives, and threatens the stability of democratic societies.

Operation Bahamas Turks and Caicos (OPBAT)

Operation Bahamas, Turks and Caicos (OPBAT) is a contemporary model of cooperative security within the Caribbean region that demonstrates the positive impact of strategic factors when fused into a cooperative framework. This longstanding multilateral counter-drug operation between the United States, the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands (a British Colony) focuses on narcotics interdiction, and is headquartered in the Bahamas. OPBAT was described by former U.S. Ambassador to the Bahamas Arthur Schechter, as one of the finest and largest examples of cooperative efforts overseas by any country in the counter-narcotics area. (35) The constant infusion and interplay of strategic elements of political will, economic viability and social stability by OPBAT policy makers and operational planners into this cooperative process have been instrumental in resolving inherent complexities.

The signing of the U.S.-Bahamas Ship-riders Agreement in 1996, was a fundamental step toward overcoming issues of sovereignty, cooperation and integrity. (36) Enacting this agreement has enabled the U.S., The Bahamas, and The Turks and Caicos Islands to conduct joint interdiction efforts within territorial waters where traffickers often seek refuge. The netting of approximately 100,000 pounds of marijuana, 45,000 pounds of cocaine, and 500 arrests by OPAT counter-drug operations from 1998 to 2002 highlights the importance of the ship-rider

Economically, the U.S. government primarily funds OPBAT operations. The annual cost of running this operation is approximately U.S. $30 million. (38) Although financially constrained, the Bahamas government has committed approximately 14 percent of its annual budget to counter-narcotics efforts. (39) The Bahamas government also continues to make available both personnel and land resources (for use as operational centers), along with coordinated assistance of local maritime assets. Consequently, long term investments made by the U.S. and Bahamas governments in this cooperative venture have sustained OPBAT's operational effectiveness throughout its twenty-year history.

Over the years, local forces and agencies have experienced intermittent incidents of corruption that inevitably create barriers of distrust, and consequently limit prospects for trustworthy cooperation between participating agencies. (40) The Royal Bahamas Police Force's recently established "Policy for the Prevention, Detection and Treatment of Corruption, Dishonesty and Unethical Behavior" within the police force has had favorable results. The continued efforts of this lead agency in local OPBAT operations against corruption within its service will undoubtedly strengthen relationships among OPBAT participants. (41)

As a contemporary model of cooperative success, OPBAT's framework can be used to establish strategic networks of similar operations throughout the wider Caribbean. Operations between the U.S., Haiti and the Dominican Republic or between the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are a few examples where the OPBAT model could be utilized. The adoption of this framework, would conveniently subdivide the region into smaller, more manageable areas of operations. Success against narcotics trafficking and other elements of transnational crime could then be maximized through a cohesive unity of effort within each overlapping zone. (42)

In retrospect, OPBAT's effectiveness has been directly proportional to the interplay of strategic elements vitally important to its overall success. Today, OPBAT stands as a beacon of hope where other cooperative entities have been dashed across the rocks of time. (43) This regional model is, therefore, one that should be carefully studied, systematically developed and incrementally exported to enhance overall success of regional endeavors against the narcotics trade.

The Way Ahead

In view of intrinsic difficulties associated with narcotics trafficking and the limitations of regional governments to solve them, cooperative security offers a positive alternative for the way ahead. Enhancing its effectiveness, however, requires the formation of strong relationships between the U.S., Caribbean states, and regional governmental and non-governmental bodies through the infusion of political will, economic viability and social stability. (44)

In addressing components of political will, sovereignty, cooperation, and institutional integrity it is important for regional partners to individually adopt bilateral and multilateral agreements tailored to deal with specific threats to regional security on an incremental basis similar to that of OPBAT. The implementation of these agreements would form the core from which a network of other relationships could evolve to eventually span the region. To include Cuba in this cooperative process would inevitably "improve U.S.-Cuban relations" a desire expressed by former President Jimmy Carter during his recent visit with Cuban President Fidel Castro. (45)

Economically, the development of a cooperative strategy that promotes long-term sustainable development based on economic parity among regional partners is valuable to U.S. national interests. (46) In designing this regional economic strategy, however, consideration must be given to improving service-based economies of Caribbean partners in the areas of tourism and banking. (47) Initiatives by the United States to promote economic viability throughout the Caribbean will create an environment of mutual benefit as well as regional support for America's national interest. (48) Stronger economies will enable Caribbean nations to make greater contributions toward cooperative measures like OPBAT, establish higher standards of living and reduce the temptation to engage in trans-national crime.

Regional partners acknowledged the problem of corruption within the Caribbean at the Caribbean-United States Summit in 1997. A drafting of model legislation for enactment by individual nations was subsequently proposed. (49) This proposal also included the provision of technical assistance and training by the United States for Caribbean law enforcement personnel to combat corruption. The promotion of professional integrity within government agencies along the lines of proposed legislation is vital for eliminating barriers of distrust and securing much needed public support.

The incremental growth of cooperative bonds between nations, the designing of a regional security strategy with economic parity, and the implementation of legal processes to eliminate corruption are important measures that can augment cooperative endeavors against narcotics trafficking.

Conclusion

Narcotics trafficking and other trans-national crimes are in essence a revolutionary war against the traditional freedoms and values of America, the region and the free world. For decades, the narcotics industry has gnawed at the foundations of society and now threatens democracy, law and order, and social well being throughout the U.S. and the Caribbean.

Many within the region now realize that cooperative security is imperative for eradicating narcotics trafficking and its associated ills. However, the infusion of political will, economic viability and social stability is also necessary for the success of this collaborative approach.

The time is now for regional governments and their respective institutions to recommit themselves to fostering cooperation, economic viability and professional integrity. This cooperative venture will undoubtedly enhance the effectiveness of counter-drug measures and promote stability throughout the region.

End Notes

(1.) Resolution 55/56. International Cooperation Against the World Drug Problem. Agenda Item 106. 55th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, 4 December 2000. http://infoweb2.newsbank.com/bin/gate.exe, 10 April 2002.

(2.) Resolution 55/25. International Cooperation Against the World Drug Problem. United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime. Agenda Item 105. 55th Session. United Nations General Assembly, 15 November 2000, http://infoweb2.newsbank.com/bin/gate.exe 10 April 2000.

(3.) Coast Guard Striving to Define Normalcy, National Defense, January 2002: 13.

(4.) Bahamas Held Up as A Model to Combat Drug-trafficking By U.S. Diplomat, BBC Monitoring International Reports. 26 November 1998. http://infoweb2.newsbank.com/iwsearch/we/InfoWeb [18 March 2002]. See also Angus MacSwan. "Cocaine Traffickers Reroute Into U.S. Via Bahamas." Reuters. 12 March 1998. http://infoweb2.newsbank.com/iwsearch/we/InfoWeb?p action=doc&p docid+OEEE5FB, 20 March 2002. See United States, Department of State, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, International Narcotics Control Strategy Report 2000, (Washington: March 2001), http://www.state.gov/g/inl/r1s/nrcrpt/2000/889.htm, 12 April 2002.

(5.) Bert Wilkinson, "Caribbean-U.S. Relations Take A Dip", Inter Press. February 22, 2002. http://infoweb2.newsbank.com/iw-search/we/InfoWeb, 2 March 2002.

(6.) General Barry R. McCaffrey, Remarks to the 21st Regular Session of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission, Office of the National Drug Control Program, (Washington, DC.: 1997), 6.

(7.) Joseph S. Tulchin and Ralph H. Espach, eds., Security in the Caribbean Basin: The Challenge of Regional Cooperation, (Boulder, Colorado: Rienner, Lynne, 2000), 8.

(8.) Several Caribbean nations have entered "ship-rider" agreements with the United States. These agreements allow U.S. law enforcement vessels and aircraft to patrol territorial waters, and airspace of Caribbean nations with Caribbean law enforcement officials onboard. Caribbean Community (CARICOM) members also conduct annual military training and maritime exercises that are sponsored by the U.S. Southern Command.

(9.) Consumer demand lies at the root of success of the drug trade. See "Drug Abuse and Demand Reduction." United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention. http://www.undcp.org/drug demand hiv aids.html, 24 May 2002. Consequently, demand reduction programs such as education and youth development via governmental, non-governmental, and private organizations are essential for overall success against drug trafficking. Consequently, political will, economic viability and social stability provide the necessary framework for the implementation and continuation of these programs.

(10.) West Indian Commission, Time For Action: The Report of the West Indian Commission, (Black Rock, Barbados: 1992), 348-349.

(11.) U.S. Admiral Thayer Mahan's strategic vision for the region had given way to the American concept of unilateral response to regional security within the Caribbean. See Joseph S. Tulchin and Ralph H. Espach, eds., Security in the Caribbean Basin: The Challenge of Regional Cooperation, (Boulder, Colorado: Reinner, Lynne, 2000), 1-2.

(12.) Ibid., 343-345.

(13.) Institute for National Strategic Studies, Strategic Assessment 1999, (Washington, D.C.: National Defense University, 1999), 179.

(14.) Ibid., 186.

(15.) The Trinidad Guardian, 30 March 1998, 1.

(16.) Joseph S. Tulchin and Ralph H. Espach, eds., Security in the Caribbean Basin: The Challenge of Regional Cooperation, (Boulder, Colorado: Reinner, Lynne, 2000), 9.

(17.) 1997 United Nations Drug Control Report, No One Is an Island, (Barbados: UNDCP Office, 1997), 2.

(18.) Mark Egan, "Global Finance Leaders Grapple With New World Order," The Nassau Guardian, Business Report, (19 November, 2001), 3.

(19.) Captain W. B. Woodson (after whom the U.S. Naval War College's award -- The Woodson Prize -- is named) noted in his 1958 thesis that "the United States national interest required an expanded program of long term economic assistance to underdeveloped countries as one of the most promising instruments of national policy." Although, life span and modem conveniences have improved over the years, the fundamental principle of Captain Woodson's assumption holds true for the Caribbean region and the wider Americas in modem times. See Commander W.B. Woodson, U.S. Navy, "Some Strategic Implications with Regard to Economic Assistance to Underdeveloped Countries," (Unpublished Research Paper, Record Group 13, U.S. Naval War College, Newport, R.I.: 1958), p. iii.

(20.) Bert Wilkinson. "Caribbean-U.S. Relations Take A Dip." Inter Press Service, 22 February 2002, http://infoweb2.newsbank.com/iw-search/we/InfoWeb, 2 March 2002.

(21.) Ibid. Two of the September 11 hijackers had attempted to enter the region via the Bahamas several months before the tragic event. Bahamian immigration officials, however, denied them entry. A third terrorist had entered the Bahamas during what appeared to be a flight training exercise a year before. These events demonstrate the need for cooperative security within the region to guard against potential acts of international crime. See Gustavius Smith, "Terrorists Were In Bahamas," The Nassau Tribune, (15 October 200), pp. 1, 11.

(22.) Caribbean nations have requested financial and technical assistance from the United Kingdom at the Third United Kingdom-Caribbean Ministerial Forum. The assistance is needed to help alleviate burdens felt from increased security costs, declining tourism industry and rising crime. See Lindsay Thompson, "U.K. Shares Caribbean Concerns," The Nassau Guardian, 10 April, 2002, p. 1. In 2005, trade tariffs and CBI benefits will be annulled. See Institute for National Strategic Studies, Strategic Assessment 1999, (Washington. D.C.: National Defense University, 1999), 173.

(23.) Jamaica among other Caribbean states highlights the difficulties experienced with budgetary shortfalls. Although the Jamaican government is committed to combating drugs, it is economically constrained with over half of its national budget going toward debt servicing. See United States, Department of State, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, International Narcotics Control Strategy Report 1999, (Washington: Department of State: March 2000). http://www.state.gov/www/g1oba1/narcotics law/l999 narc report/carib99 part3.html, (12 Apri1 2002).

(24.) Gregory J. Sanial, "National Security Depends On Water, United States Naval Institute Proceedings; (November 2001): 76-79. See also: Gustavius Smith, Haiti Caught in Vicious Cycle of Funds Embargo," The Tribune, (8 February, 2002), 3, and Raymond Winder, The Economic Challenges in These Times: Going Beyond Business as Usual, (Bahamas Chamber of Commerce, 31 October 2001), 3.

(25.) Finding employment in the narcotics trade is a natural inclination for unemployed workers in Columbia. See Scott Wilson, "Cocoa Invades Colombia's Coffee Fields: Falling Prices Push Farmers to Plant illegal Crops, Threatening U.S. Drug War," Washington Post Foreign Service, 30 October 2001, sec. A., p. A 17. This tendency or "Colombian effect" has also affected many within the Caribbean region.

(26.) Mimi Whitfield, "OECD Tactics Decried", The Florida Miami Herald, (7 September 2001), 8C.

(27.) At the U.S.-Caribbean Summit held in Bridgetown, Barbados in 1997, U.S. security interests were realized with the establishing of ship-rider agreements among several Caribbean countries. This meeting, however, was viewed by Caribbean partners as long on rhetoric and short on economic commitments. See "U.S.-Caribbean Summit Disappoints", Latin Amen can Monitor: Caribbean, (June 1997): 1.

(28.) Guy Gugliotta and Jeff Leen, Kings of Cocaine, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1989), 61.

(29.) Government of the Bahamas. Report of the Commission of Inquiry into the file gal Use of the Bahamas for the Transhipment of Dangerous Drugs Destined for the United States, (Nassau: 1984), 41.

(30.) Jorge I. Dominguez, ed. International Security & Democracy: Latin America and the Caribbean in the Post-Cold War Era, (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1998), 176.

(31.) New York Times, October 30, 1995, sec. 1:13.

(32.) Joseph S. Tulchin and Ralph H. Espach, eds., Security in the Caribbean Basin. The Challenge of Regional Cooperation, (Boulder, Colorado: Reinner, Lynne, 2000), 144.

(33.) CARICOM. U.S. Caribbean - Summit 1997. Principals of Declaration. 10 May 1997. http://www.caricom.org/usccs.htm#5.%20Combatting%20Attempts%20to20Cor rupt%20Officias 14 April 2002.

(34.) "Rid JCF of Corruption." Western Bureau, Jamaica Gleaner. 6 November 2000. http:/www.JamaicaGleaner.com/gleaner/2001106/lead/lead.html, 15 March 2002.

(35.) "Bahamas Held Up as A Model to Combat Drug-Trafficking By U.S. Diplomat." BBC Monitoring international Reports, 26 November 1998. http://infoweb2.newsbank.com/iwsearch/we/InfoWeb, 18 March 2002.

(36.) The U.S. and Bahamas governments had informally established the "Joint United States Coast Guard/Royal Bahamas Defense Force Ship-rider and Over-flight Program" for joint operations in 1985. This program was later formalized as the Cooperative Ship-rider and Over-flight Drug Interdiction Program by exchange of diplomatic notes in 1986, and was later extended by a similar exchange in 1996. See Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Joint United States Coast Guard/Royal Bahamas Defence Force Ship-rider and Over-flight Program No. 380, (Nassau, Bahamas: 1996). This program permits Bahamas police and defence force personnel to embark U.S. government vessels operating in Bahamian territorial waters as ship-riders. Additionally, this program authorizes Bahamian ship-riders to board any vessel suspected of drug smuggling in Bahamian territorial waters as well as Bahamian registered vessels on the high seas with the assistance of U.S. law enforcement personnel. U.S. government aircraft are also permitted to over-fly terr itorial airspace. See also: United States, Department of State, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, "International Narcotics Control Strategy Report 2000", (Washington: Department of State, March 2001), http://www.state.gov/g/inl/rls/nrcrpt/2000/889.htm, 12 April 2002.

(37.) Matthew L. Seebald. seebaldm@nassau.cms.southcom.mil "OPBAT Statistics." e-mail address, tellisbethel@juno.com, 15 March 2002.

(38.) "Bahamas Held Up as A Model to Combat Drug-trafficking By U.S. Diplomat", BBC Monitoring International Reports, 26 November 1998. http://infoweb2.newsbank.com/iwsearch/we/InfoWeb, 18 March 2002.

(39.) United States, Department of State, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, International Narcotics Control Strategy Report 1999, (Washington: Department of State, March 2000). http://www.state.gov/www/global/narcotics law/1999 narc report/carib99.html, 12 April 2002. The reallocation of U.S. counter-drug assets to the American "home-front" to assist in "America's War on Terrorism" is a recent example of the need for Caribbean countries to be economically viable. This would help supplement unexpected shortfalls within a cooperative environment. See "Coast Guard Striving to Define Normalcy", National Defense, January 2002, 13. See also "Drug-Policing Efforts May Suffer", Miami Herald International Edition, 18 October 2001, 3A, and "Laid Up; The Caribbean Economy", The Economist, 10 November, 2000. http://proguest.umi.com/pgdweb?Did=000000089307625&Fmt=3&Deli=1 &Mtd=1&Idx=1, 9 April 2002.

(40.) Secure Communications For the Exchange of Intelligence, Technical Study and Report., (Barbados:European Commission, 1996), pp. 20-21.

(41.) See United States, Department of State, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, international Narcotics Control Strategy Report 2000, (Washington: Department of State, March 2001), http://www.state.gov/g/in1/rls/nrcrpt/2000/889.htm, 24 January 2002.

(42.) The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) group that attended the United Nations International Drug Control Program's (UNDCP) Regional Meeting on Drug Control in 1996 had proposed that the Caribbean region be divided into three main zones--the Northern, Central and Southern Zones--for the purpose of maritime cooperation. See Joseph S. Tulchin and Ralph H. Espach, eds., Security in the Caribbean Basin: The Challenge of Regional Cooperation, (Boulder, Colorado: Reinner, Lynne, 2000), 180-181. The exporting of the OPBAT model within this collaborative proposal would ensure that these zones are operationally effective. See Joseph S. Tulchin and Ralph H. Espach, eds., Security in the Caribbean Basin: The Challenge of Regional Cooperation, (Boulder, Colorado: Reinner, Lynne, 2000), 180-181.

(43.) Ivelaw Griffith, Caribbean Security in the 21st Century, (Washington, D.C.: Institute for National Strategic Studies, 1996), 4547.

(44.) These regional bodies include the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), the Meeting of Heads of National Law Enforcement Agencies (HONLEA), the Organization of American States (OAS), the Regiona Security System (RSS), the United Nations Drug Control Program (UNDCP) and the European Union.

(45.) Jimmy Carter. Former President Carter Cuba Trip Report. The Carter Center. 21 May 2002, http //www.cartercenter.org/viewdoc.asp?docID+5288submenu+news, 24 May 2002. Republican senators, Lincoln Chafee and Arlen Specter, met with Cuban President Fidel Castro, who assured them of his willingness to cooperate with the U.S. in drug interdiction efforts. See Nancy San Martin, "Two Senators Seek Cuba Links On Drugs, Terror", The Miami Herald, (7th January 2002), International Edition, 12A. It should also be noted that the U.S. government has a permanent drug interdiction specialist in Cuba. This specialist woks jointly with Cuban officials on a case by case basis. See United States, Department of State, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, International Narcotics Control Strategy Report 2000, (Washington: Department of State, March 2001), http://www.state.gov/g/inl/rls/nrcrpt/2000/889.htm, 12 April 2002.

(46.) The region's economic potential is reflected in job creation, reinvestments and oil production it has generated for the U.S. As a major export market for U.S. trade, the Caribbean region accounts for some 400,000 U.S. jobs. See Bert Wilkinson, "Caribbean-U.S. Relations Take A Dip," Inter Press Service, February 22, 2002, http://infoweb2.newsbank.com/iwsearch/we/InfoWeb, 2 March 2002. Additionally, the region's reinvestment within the U.S. is approximately 50 cents on every dollar spent by the U.S. See Ivelaw L. Griffith, "U.S. Strategic Interests in Caribbean Security," Joint Forces Quarterly, (Autumn 2000), 64-68. Almost 40 percent of the crude oil consumed by the U.S. originates from the Caribbean basin. See Influences On the Region's Economic Development; Latin America Economic Potential, (Washington, D.C.: Institute for National Strategic Studies, 1999), 172.

(47.) The creation of a joint marketing tourism fund by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) during the aftermath of the September 11 crisis is an example of how regional partners can work together to achieve a common goal that is beneficial to all. See Caribbean's Tourism Marketing Fund to Spend $16m in 2002, The Nassau Tribune, (19 October 2001) 7B.

(48.) Bert Wilkinson. "Caribbean-U.S. Relations Take A Dip," Inter Press Service, February 22, 2002, http://infoweb2.newsbank.com/iw-search/we/InfoWeb, 2 March 2002.

(49.) Declaration of Principles: U.S.-Caribbean Summit 1997, CARICOM. 1997, http:/www.caricom.org/usccs.htm#5.%20to20%20Corrupt%200Officials 25 March 2002.

About the Author

Lieutenant Commander Tellis A. Behel is a 2002 graduate of the United States Naval Staff College at the United States Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island. He is also a 1981 graduate of Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, Devon, England, and a fellow at the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies at the National Defense University, Washington, D.C. He currently heads the Royal Bahamas Defense Force's Maritime Defense Training Institute.
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