Caribbean Militarization

August 31, 2018 Crime , North America , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , OTHER

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Ricardo Swire



Members of the St Kitts & Nevis Defence Force (SKNDF) can now operate with police powers. The official proclamation was made by the island’s Governor General, in accordance with Section 7 of the St Christopher & Nevis Defence Force Act. The political decision draws strength from Section 7(1) that allows SKNDF members to exercise such law enforcement powers for six months. The national security countermeasure augments civil powers’ management of crime and violence.


The authority permits SKNDF members to conduct patrols if participation in a given situation is deemed necessary. Soldiers can take immediate action instead of waiting for a police officer to arrive. In September 2012 the SKN government introduced special “Delta Teams” comprised of Police and Defence Force members. The Teams operate from Camp Springfield General Defence Headquarters to cultivate closer camaraderie and integration. During 2015 St. Kitts & Nevis recorded twenty murders, a 10% increase in of 31 killings noted the following year.


Both America’s Department of State and the 2016 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report listed St Kitts & Nevis among Eastern Caribbean (EC) territories that accommodate “abundant trans-shipment points” for illegal drugs. Venezuelan cocaine consignments transit the island Federation en route to Canada, Europe and neighbouring Caribbean markets. SKN is a main sentinel in the EC transit zone, cocaine shipments travelling north and illegal guns moving on the reverse route being KN’s main challenge.


One special intelligence driven operation conducted by SKN counter-narcotics enforcers in Conaree Bay beach area, on the island’s eastern coast, interrupted a valuable marijuana and cocaine smuggling movement. Four occupants of the narco-vessel, two Kittians and two non-nationals, engaged the law enforcers in a gunfight, one trafficker being killed. Transnational Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTOs) also maximise the use of yachts for drug transit, high speed vessels, fishing trawlers and cargo ships playing a major role.


Marijuana cultivation is highest in SKN’s mountainous districts. Since 2012 the EC member’s small size and high murder rate have contributed to an upsurge in gun crimes. Such national scenario and a lack of surveillance capability in the maritime zone are main focuses of the SKNDF. The Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean are vast bodies of water. The island’s military depends on the Regional Security System’s (RSS) aircrafts that cover aerial monitoring, from Barbados in the south to SKN northward, the SKNDF’s new role under Section 7(1) mirroring militaries in Colombia and Honduras.





Ricardo Swire - Tuck Magazine

Ricardo Swire

Ricardo Swire is the Principal Consultant at R-L-H Security Consultants & Business Support Services and writes on a number of important issues.

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