Sky-high prices helping to fuel drug trade
WE COULD all agree that gangland
in the Caribbean (including
Trinidad) is rooted in illicit drug trafficking, according to Daurius Figueira’s book, Cocaine and Heroin Trafficking in the Caribbean, excerpts of which were published in the Express newspapers recently.
However, it is not sufficient for Mr Figueira, in his excerpts, to state that illegal international
cartels have so radically changed the social order in the Caribbean that the Caribbean state is now perpetually battling
for its survival, and leave it at that, ostensibly, to protect one’s back.
To be credible, Figueira must seek to identify the money trail between the cartels of which he writes, and corrupt public officials. Perhaps he has sufficient time between now and the publication date of his book to do so. We should not wait on the Europeans to do what we must do ourselves.
Our social anthropologists, political scientists, historians and the like aren’t seemingly bothered to piece together and provide solutions to the vast amounts of information already
at hand in this oral society.
There have been rumours of ministers of Government offering
and buying millions of dollars
in real estate, helping to artificially
push up real estate prices in the country. There have been accusations of Government allegedly purchasing
real estate and goods and services by paying questionably artificially inflated prices. Recently, it was publicly made known that high officials operating
in an international self-regulating industry, in a clear conflict of interest scenario, also may not have paid stamp duty taxes on their luxury apartments.
If one man having to do with the nation’s security business tells another man in the business
of security that he ain’t going there, it too big for him, which National Security head dealing with that and, if not, why not?
What do these examples have to do with me and you and the illicit drug trade, you may ask? The cost of real estate, goods and services become artificially
high, prohibitively so, while the quality of goods and services descend.
Drug cartels and arms traders
are dependent, too for their existence on a state’s corrupt patronage networks, fraudulent accounting practices, nepotism, bribery and kick-backs by all levels of public officials. Do T&T’s constitutionally appointed
ombudsman and the auditor general contribute to our state of affairs by not being more effective
in generating the level of activism that’s required of these posts?
What is the role of a comparatively
FIU (Financial Intelligence
Unit) head when not preoccupied with complying with the basics of international protocols? Do local banks and other institutions involved in fiduciary relationships dealing with strict secrecy rules and traditions contribute to the country’s declining state of
What evolves for you and me is a finite number of super-rich persons who are overnight millionaire
politicians, fiduciary officers, judicial, customs and police officers and so on, pushing
up prices of the country’s commodities by their quick, easy and voluminous purchases of prime real estate and luxury goods and services while the majority of citizens cannot find their way to own a little piece of this rock, to maintain what they do own or to buy food and shelter to sustain their little ones. That cannot be right. Not at all.Kathleen PinderPort of Spain