Failure to Launch – Security: Caribbean Basin Security Dreams

Go Lean Commentary

There is a vision of a shield protecting the people and property of the Caribbean region. Is that a vision of something real, or is it a mirage?

The Caribbean region has an eclectic history when it comes to security, think the bad actors of the Pirates of the Caribbean. Yet, those Pirates have since all been extinguished, thanks to a multilateral effort among European (and now American) imperial powers. Credit goes to the British, French and the Dutch military/naval powers of the past.

That was a BIG accomplishment in terms of regional security. Can we get that again? Can these championing national powers – and their descendants – come together and provide a modern day shield so as to project Caribbean homeland security anew?

This has been a goal for Caribbean stewards for a long time, but to no avail, there has been a Failure to Launch.

The historicity of military conflicts (think: World War I and World War II) in the 20th Century has resulted in the emergence of just one Super Power, the United States of America, providing security assurances for the Western Hemisphere. The foregoing vision therefore is one of an American shield; this country boasts that they are keeping us safe in the Caribbean.

The perception of security – much like the perception of beauty – is in the eye of the beholder.

My job is to keep the ‘pink elephants‘ away.

Do you see any pink elephants? Well then, I am doing my job!

This seems to describe the efforts of the American hegemony with their formal efforts for Caribbean Basin security – see ‘Pax Americana’ in Appendix A below. Their job is just to keep the pink elephants away:

  • Weapons of Mass Destruction – WMD’s – i.e. nuclear, chemical, biological, etc.
  • Terrorism

Truthfully, we do not have the manifestation of these threats in the Caribbean region. But do we feel safe?


The American-sponsored Caribbean Basin Security pact is only a Dream for us in the Caribbean; there is no feeling of security in this basin! Despite all the promise of a strong defense, we have serious deficiencies in our peace-and-security offerings … due to:

  • Narco-Terrorism
  • Organized Crime / Gang Activity
  • Human Trafficking
  • Border Intrusions
  • Environmental Protection
  • Disaster Response

This theme was also posited in a previous blog-commentary from 2015 regarding American homeland security solutions for the Caribbean region. While they use the term Caribbean Basin as a political catalogue, for us this is more than politics, this is home for 42 million people! That blog stated:

The United States of America is proud of its security commitment to their Caribbean neighbors, but the amount they devote is such a piddling – they prioritize 0.1968% of the total security budget towards the region – that the Caribbean should not be lulled into complacency. We need our own security solutions!

The start of the Troop Surge in 2007; to quell the insurgency.

The US is the only remaining super power; it devotes massive amounts of finances to its [Department of Defense ($526.6 billion for 2014) and Homeland Security ($59.9 billion)], far exceeding all other countries. The US also asserts that it will provide frontline protection for its neighboring countries, in this case the Caribbean Basin. Just how do we quantify that commitment? Budget percentage.

The US has committed $263 million in funding since 2010; … that’s 5 years combined. For easy arithmetic, divide that figure by 5 to yield $52.6 million a year in commitment. $52.6 million [over $526.6 billion plus $59.9 billion] … is just a “drop in the bucket”; [less that 2/10 of 1 percent].

Unfortunately, Caribbean people do not feel as if their homeland is secured. Among the “push and pull” reasons why people have fled away from the region, personal security has been listed as a high rationale. As communicated, our concern for homeland security is not WMD’s or terrorism – as is the case for our American neighbors – but rather it is the risks and threats of crime and the dread of emergencies.

Our societal abandonment rate is atrocious – one report stated that the professional classes have fled at a 70 percent rate, and recent hurricanes have resulted in more Failed-States and Ghost Towns. Remediation and mitigation for these concerns should be the primary focus of any security initiative for the Caribbean homeland.

This consideration is in harmony with the book Go Lean…Caribbean. The book serves as a roadmap for change in the region, affecting the economics, security and governing engines. It presents new measures and new empowerments as it introduces the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU) and an aligning Status of Forces Agreement for the 30 Caribbean member-states to benefit from an integrated security pact. This commentary is the 3rd of 4 parts in a series on the Caribbean’s Failure to Launch integrated solutions to elevate the region’s societal engines. The full series is catalogued as follows:

Where are the European Masters – British, French and the Dutch – now for contributing to the security of the Caribbean region?


Could the solution for Caribbean security needs be fulfilled by the British, who is a stakeholder in this region with 6 Overseas Territories and 12 members of the British Commonwealth?

Frankly, security needs are glaring for current and former UK Territories. Under this Commonwealth scheme, the UK is supposed to be “front and center” in a “mutual defence” for the Anglophone Caribbean’s security threats. But alas, the UK is not doing enough for the security of their Caribbean responsibilities – this is the assessment of British stakeholders themselves. In fact, the UK itself now depends on interdependence with others – North Atlantic Treaty Organization or NATO – to fulfill their own security needs.

Britain itself is now just one part of the NATO military alliance in which the Commonwealth had no role apart from Canada. The ANZUS treaty of 1955 linked Australia, New Zealand, and the United States in a defensive alliance, with Britain and the Commonwealth left out. – Wikipedia

This is all that remains of the once-great British military in the Caribbean region, notwithstanding visiting naval vessels:

Location Details
Belize British Army Training and Support Unit Belize: Used primarily for jungle warfare training, with access to 5,000 sq mi of jungle terrain. Although British facilities were mothballed in the 2010 SDSR, BATSUB is still seeing increased usage.
Bermuda The Royal Bermuda Regiment : Formed in 1965. Official website:
Montserrat Royal Montserrat Defence Force: Raised in 1899.


Could the solution for the Caribbean security needs be fulfilled by France, who is a stakeholder in this region with 2 Departments (governmental sub-sets like provinces) – Guadeloupe and Martinique – and 2 Overseas Territories – St Barthélemy and half of St. Martin? They do possess a military presence in the region, with these bases:

Territory Garrison No. of personnel
French Guiana Les forces armées en Guyane (FAG) 2,100
Martinique Les forces armées aux Antilles (FAA) 1,000


Could the solution for the Caribbean security needs be fulfilled by the Kingdom of the Netherlands, who is a stakeholder in this region with 3 Constituent nations within the Kingdom – Aruba,  Curaçao and Sint Maarten – and 3 Overseas Territories – Bonaire, Saba and St Eustatius? They too possess a military presence in the region:

The Netherlands is responsible for the implementation of the Defence tasks of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the Caribbean.

Military tasks in the Caribbean

Over 500 armed forces personnel in the Caribbean are tasked with:

  • protecting the borders of the Caribbean part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands;
  • supporting civil authorities;
  • maintaining the (inter)national rule of law  in the context of, for example:
    1. the international drug trade. Because of the location of its islands, the Caribbean is vulnerable to drug trafficking by sea. The navy is part of Joint Inter Agency Task Force South, an international organisation that conducts operations to counter drug trafficking.
    2. military assistance. The navy’s military units provide humanitarian assistance or maintain public order following disasters or accidents caused by the passage of hurricanes, for example. Each year, the navy is on standby from 1 June to 1 December to perform these tasks.
    3. illegal fishing and environmental offences. The navy supports the Dutch Caribbean Coastguard in conducting surveillance and taking action against illegal fishing and environmental offences. The navy also assists in search and rescue missions in Caribbean

Source: Retrieved December 13, 2017 from:

The Dutch security solution for the Caribbean is organized under the Royal Marechaussee, a military Police with broad homeland security functionalities. See more of this perfect role model – this is our dream –  for Caribbean success in this VIDEO here:

VIDEO – Marechaussee in the Caribbean –

Published on Dec 14, 2017 – This VIDEO is the property of the Defense Ministry of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; all Rights Reserved to this property owner. Retrieved from


Could the solution for the Caribbean security needs be fulfilled entirely by American defense apparatus? Yes, indeed; if this was their priority.

It is not!

They should have a motivation; they are a stakeholder in this region with 2 sovereign territories (Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands). Plus, they have signed treaties with neighboring countries, as in the Caribbean Basin treaty and NATO accords identified earlier. This is demonstrative of the militaristic society the US has become. They are the largest operators of military bases abroad, with 38 “named bases” having active-duty, national guard, reserve, or civilian personnel (as of September 30, 2014). According to sources, the American military Caribbean footprint include:

Bahamas: Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Detachment AUTEC

Cuba: Guantanamo Bay Naval Base

Puerto Rico: There are only two remaining military installations in Puerto Rico: the U.S. Army’s small Ft. Buchanan (supporting local veterans and reserve units) and the PRANG (Puerto Rico Air National Guard) Muñiz Air Base (the C-130 Fleet).

The American security efforts are coordinated with laser-focused precision by professionals in their Southern Command, based in Greater Miami; see reference in Appendix B below.

The Americans “talk the talk, but do not walk the walk”. So the vision of an American shield protecting the Caribbean region is just a dream. We need a realistic solution.

Way Forward

American, British, French, Dutch … not enough! Let’s try a reboot, something different: all of these efforts … together.

As related in a previous Go Lean commentary

… the book Go Lean…Caribbean prescribes a detailed, complex plan for effecting change in our society. The goal is to confederate under a unified entity made up of the region’s stakeholders to empower the economics and optimize Homeland Security. But Homeland Security for the Caribbean has a different meaning than for our North American or European counterparts. Though we too must be on defense against military intrusions like terrorism & piracy, we mostly have to contend with threats that may imperil the region’s economic engines, like our tourism products. This includes concerns like narco-terrorism and enterprise corruption, plus natural and man-made disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes, oil/chemical spills, etc..

So the Go Lean security goal is mostly for public safety!

We do not have the public safety assurances that would be expected of an advanced democracy. The book Go Lean…Caribbean posits that the region must therefore prepare its own security apparatus for its own security needs. So the request is that all Caribbean member-states confederate to execute a limited scope on their sovereign territories. This ideal solution is for an integrated, unified regional entity – a confederation. This solution is conceivable, believable and achievable for the Caribbean. What we need is a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) to be embedded in the treaty for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation among the 30 member-states. Under international law, this approach allows for a military presence in a homeland without the view of an occupation force – SOFA allows for mutual consent between both the host and engaging powers. There after allowing us to:

This security goal is detailed in the Go Lean book as it serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic CU Trade Federation. The roadmap ensures that security dynamics of the region are inextricably linked with the economics and governing engines of the region. Therefore the Go Lean roadmap has 3 prime directives:

The book contends that bad actors will always emerge just as a result of economic successes in the region. This point is pronounced early in the book with the Declaration of Interdependence (Page 12) that claims:

x. Whereas we are surrounded and allied to nations of larger proportions in land mass, populations, and treasuries, elements in their societies may have ill-intent in their pursuits, at the expense of the safety and security of our citizens. We must therefore appoint “new guards” to ensure our public safety and threats against our society, both domestic and foreign. The Federation must employ the latest advances and best practices … to assuage continuous threats against public safety.

xvi. Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes, including piracy and other forms of terrorism, can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.

The Caribbean appointing “new guards”, or a security pact to ensure public safety is not so new an endeavor. Different strategies have been deployed in the past, but have Failed to Launch a successful solution. Consider these:

  • West Indies Regiment within the West Indies Federation
    In the previous submission of this blog series – Part 1 of 4 – the history of the failed West Indies Federation (1958 to 1962) was detailed. This effort only related to the Anglophone countries (United Kingdom) and among its many initiatives was the West Indies Regiment. The Go Lean book provided more details (Page 302):This infantry unit of the British Army recruited from and normally stationed in the British colonies of the Caribbean between 1795 and 1927. Throughout its history, the regiment was involved in a number of campaigns in the West Indies and Africa, and also took part in the First World War, where it served in the Middle East and East Africa. In 1958 the regiment was revived with the West Indies Federation with the establishment of three battalions; however it was disbanded in 1962 when its personnel were used to establish other units in Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago.Though the West Indies Federation was aborted, the need for security among the overseas territories of the United Kingdom remains.
  • Regional Security System (RSS)
    There is currently a security pact; shared by 5 Eastern Caribbean member-states that was first consummated in 1982 – this was discussed in full depth in a previous commentary regarding the Regional Security System:This RSS is an international agreement for the defence and security of the eastern Caribbean region; [it] was created in 1982 to counter threats to the stability of the region in the late 1970s and early 1980s. On 29 October four members of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States—namely, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines—signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Barbados to provide for “mutual assistance on request”. The signatories agreed to prepare contingency plans and assist one another, on request, in national emergencies, prevention of smuggling, search and rescue, immigration control, fishery protection, customs and excise control, maritime policing duties, protection of off-shore installations, pollution control, national and other disasters and threats to national security.[1] Saint Kitts and Nevis joined following independence in 1983, and Grenada followed two years later.
  • Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA)
    The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency was established in 1991 as CDERA (Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency) with primary responsibility for the coordination of emergency response and relief efforts to Participating States that require such assistance. It transitioned to CDEMA in 2009 to fully embrace the principles and practice of Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM).(CDM) is an integrated and proactive approach to disaster management and seeks to reduce the risk and loss associated with natural and technological hazards and the effects of climate change to enhance regional sustainable development.This CDEMA agency was detailed in a previous commentary lamenting the fact that the region is often faced with a “Clear and Present Danger”. Though there is a regional agency to attempt to prepare and respond, it is far inadequate. For example, the accompanying Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility associated with CDEMA – also detailed in a previous blog – only pays out “pennies on the dollar” that the member-states need to re-pair-recover-rebuild after a natural disaster in the region.

All of these prior instances of regional integration have been deficient to meeting the needs of Caribbean stakeholders. Though they have made a good faith effort, they have Failed to Launch adequate solutions to satisfy any Social Contract – the implication that citizens surrender some of their freedoms and submit to the authority of the State in exchange for protection of remaining natural and legal rights.

The Go Lean roadmap however calls for a permanent professional security forces that complements and supplement existing Police and Defense Forces; there will be opportunity for Defense Force assimilation later in the Go Lean roadmap. The CU Trade Federation will lead, fund and facilitate the security forces, encapsulating (full-time or part-time) all the existing armed forces in the region. This CU Homeland Security Force would get its legal authorization from the Status of Forces Agreement vested with the ascension of the CU treaty.

This SOFA is “Step One, Day One” in the Go Lean roadmap. The Go Lean book provides a full 370-pages of turn-by-turn instructions on “how” to adopt new community ethos, plus the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to execute so as to reboot, reform and transform the societal-security engines of Caribbean society. There is a lot of consideration in the book for optimizing the currency and monetary eco-systems.

Other subjects related to security and governing empowerments for the region have been blogged in other Go Lean…Caribbean commentary, as sampled here: Plan for ‘Policing the Police’ State of the Union: Unstable ‘Volcano States’ Accede the Caribbean Arrest Treaty Want Better Security? ’Must Love Dogs’ Funding the Caribbean Security Pact ISIS reaches the Caribbean Region Security Role Model for the Caribbean: African Standby Force Tragic images show refugee crisis at a tipping point in Europe A Lesson in History: 100 Years Ago – World War I Here come the Drones … and the Concerns Trinidad Muslims travel to Venezuela for jihadist training America’s War on the Caribbean Remembering and learning from Boston Jamaica to receive World Bank funds to help in crime fight US slams Caribbean human rights practices 10 Things We Want from the US and 10 Things We Don’t Want – Pax Americana

Underlying to the prime directive of elevating the economics, security and governing engines of the Caribbean, is the desire to make the Caribbean homeland, a better place to live, work and play.

  • There will always be “bad actors” to disrupt the peace of society. We need to be ready for them.
  • There will always be natural disasters. We must be ready for them too.
  • Bad things will happen to good people!

We must no longer Fail to Launch … workable security solutions. We know exactly what we want to be and do in the Caribbean; we want to deploy a regional-federal security force to ensure homeland protections, much like the Dutch Marechaussee – see the above VIDEO – we only want it for the full region. All Caribbean stakeholders are therefore urged to lean-in to this Go Lean roadmap. 🙂

Download the free e-book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.


Appendix A – The Bottom Line on Pax Americana

Pax Americana refers to the historical concept of the relative peace in the Western Hemisphere and later the Western world resulting from the preponderance of power of the military establishment of the USA. The term is primarily used in its modern connotations to refer to the peace established after the end of World War II in 1945. Since then, it has come to indicate the military and economic position of the United States in relation to other nations. The USA is the only remaining super power and as such they exert a vigorous defense for their version of capitalistic democracy in the region. The focus on the Western Hemisphere is still guided by the principles of the Monroe Doctrine, which stated that efforts by European nations to colonize land or interfere with states in North/South America would be viewed as acts of aggression, requiring US intervention. Pax Americana is the underlying policy that led to escalations (with Russia) during the 1962 Cuban Missile crisis. – Go Lean book Page 180.


Appendix B – United States Southern Command 
The United States Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM), located in Doral, Florida in Greater Miami, is one of nine Unified Combatant Commands (CCMDs) in the United States Department of Defense. It is responsible for providing contingency planning, operations, and security cooperation for Central and South America, the Caribbean (except US commonwealths, territories, and possessions), their territorial waters, and for the force protection of US military resources at these locations. USSOUTHCOM is also responsible for ensuring the defense of the Panama Canal and the canal area. As explained below, USSOUTHCOM has been under scrutiny due to several human rights and rule of law controversies in which it has been embroiled for nearly a decade.

Under the leadership of a four-star Commander, USSOUTHCOM is organized into a headquarters with six main directorates, component commands and military groups that represent SOUTHCOM in the region. The current commander is Admiral Kurt W. Tidd, USN.

USSOUTHCOM is a joint command[1] of more than 1,201 military and civilian personnel representing the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and several other federal agencies. Civilians working at USSOUTHCOM are, for the most part, civilian employees of the Army, as the Army is USSOUTHCOM’s Combatant Command Support Agent. The Services provide USSOUTHCOM with component commands which, along with their Joint Special Operations component, two Joint Task Forces, one Joint Interagency Task Force, and Security Cooperation Offices, perform USSOUTHCOM missions and security cooperation activities. USSOUTHCOM exercises its authority through the commanders of its components, Joint Task Forces/Joint Interagency Task Force, and Security Cooperation Organizations.

Source: Retrieved December 14, 2017 from:


Appendix C – The U.S. Military’s Presence in the Greater Caribbean Basin: More a Matter of Trade Strategy and Ideology than Drugs

Washington’s initiative to have access to at least seven Colombian military facilities …

… would [help the] fulfillment of U.S. policy goals in the region. Two of the facilities soon to be available to the U.S. are located in the Caribbean region – the military port in Cartagena and the air base in Malambo – and will serve the needs of the U.S. Navy.

The new Caribbean coast facilities will join an array of existing U.S. military establishments in the region dating back to 1903. Up to now, the official raison d’etre for a U.S. presence in the Caribbean was to combat drug trafficking. However, the proliferation of security threats, in particular developments possibly against the interests of Chávez’s Venezuela, has led some to argue that no matter how much Washington’s officials deny it, an unspoken reason for the U.S. deployment to Colombia is to keep Chavez under check. With the Washington-Bogotá decision, it is necessary to discuss the relationship between masking antinarcotics efforts as a cover for a variety of U.S. security concerns and aspirations throughout Latin America, especially in the coming trade war over commodities.

Read the full story … posted September 23, 2009; retrieved December 14, 2017 from:

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