How Does the $Million Drug Bust Hurt Trinidad and Tobago?

Trinbagonians Are Now Internationally Profiled as Drug Dealers

The fallout for the average law abiding citizen in Trinidad and Tobago has just begun.  The news might be dramatic but it’s the average citizen who will pay the price of a drug shipment gone wrong or right, depending on perspective.  It’s definitely cause for some reflection.

Imagine for a moment that you lived in a house where illicit drugs were sold.  A package of drugs was intercepted after allegedly leaving the house.   Drugs were never found in the house but the police are absolutely sure that your house is the source of the drugs.  What would you expect to happen?

Well in Trinidad that does not take brain surgery.  The authorities will arrest everybody in the house and begin a series of torturous interrogations.  Father, mother, brother, sister and anyone else who lived in the house will be suspect.  Everyone who lives in the house will be scrutinized and targeted as potential drug dealers.  They are all assumed guilty until proven innocent.

Other more developed countries will initiate an investigation, surveillance, wire tapping and maybe even try to infiltrate the organization with an undercover agent.   They will be absolutely sure of what happened and how before making an arrest.

Every local T&T citizen now lives in that house.  The US authorities have intercepted one of the biggest cocaine shipments in history in the port of Norfolk VA.  The bust occurred last December; it was determined that the shipment of Trinidad Orange Juice in cans came directly from Trinidad.  They immediately dispatched over 50 DEA Agents to investigate and identifythe source in this country.

The story is not over yet, these agents are professional drug trafficking investigators and unlike what happens in Trinidad with such a case, they will most likely identify and arrest the perpetrator(s).   In the meanwhile what does it mean for the good people in the country?  People who just want to live and enjoy life in paradise.

It means that the country will be burdened with a negative international reputation as a drug distributing country.   Trinidad and Tobago will be associated with places like Columbia and Dominica.  Every citizen with a Trinidad and Tobago passport will be presumed guilty until proven innocent.  Many will be subjected to unwarranted searches not because they look like drug dealers but because they carry a T&T passport.  What does a drug dealer look like anyway? 

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In Trinidad it will be business as usual, the usual posturing by politicians jumping in the lime light whenever an opportunity presents itself.  Policing may intensify for a short time, meaning that citizens will be subjected to impromptu road blocks and possibly early morning raids if a residence is suspected of having drugs.  Other than that, as we say in Trinidad; “things normal”.

The average law abiding citizens who are not traveling or don’t engage in drug activities, we will not become actors in this story.  The negative international reputation is “water off a ducks back”.  The world can say what it wants about us; we are not all drug dealers even if we have a few bad apples. 

We are like people everywhere else; all Trinbagonians want is to live “normal” lives.  Their biggest concern is that we do not become a statistic, a victim of the 400-500 murders or the uncounted robberies that occur every year.  We want to see another Christmas, next year’s Carnival.

In the meanwhile the war on drugs continues.


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