Dreading the ‘Caribbean Basin Security Initiative’

Go Lean Commentary

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 US is the only remaining super power; it devotes massive amounts of finances to defense and homeland security. The ratio of Defense budget versus the total budget of $3.8 trillion (2014), far exceeds 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.

CU Blog - Caribbean Basin Security Initiative - Photo 1

According to the subsequent news article, the US is proud of the security commitment to their Caribbean neighbors. But their efforts are a far cry from what is truly needed in the Caribbean! Yet, even these measly efforts have lulled the region into complacency. This commentary asserts that this is bad!

See an excerpt of the source article here:

By: Alexander Britell

It’s been six years since United States President Barack Obama made his first visit to the Caribbean, on the occasion of the Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain, [Trinidad]. And it’s been four years since he visited Puerto Rico, his last visit to the region.

While Obama hasn’t made many visits to the nearby region, his administration has not been inactive, however, promoting plans like the wide-ranging Caribbean Basin Security Initiative and, more recently, his potentially transformative rapprochement with Cuba.

Now, with two years left in his term, it seems the Obama Administration is looking to ramp up its engagement with the region.

The story is found in its entirety at: Caribbean Journal Regional News Site; posted January 26, 2015; retrieved 02/25/2015 from: http://www.caribjournal.com/2015/01/26/barack-obama-new-caribbean-push/#

The US has committed $263 million in funding since 2010; see Appendix below; that’s 5 years combined. For easy arithmetic, divide that figure by 5 to yield $52.6 million a year in commitment. This is $52.6 million of someone else’s money being dedicated to us in the Caribbean. Showing the proper appreciation: “Thank you very much Washington”.

But this is just a “drop in the bucket” compared to the general American defense/security spending:

That makes a total of $586.5 billion for 1 year. Truly, “blood is thicker than water”; the US spends massively for its own and a piddling on its neighbors. Percentage-wise, the Caribbean Basin commitment is 0.0448% of the US Defense / Homeland Security budget (2014).

0.0448% – “Our thimble runneth over”!

The overriding theme of this commentary is the commitment of American society in providing for their own security; and how the Caribbean can emulate the US example; we want to be a protégé of American society, not a parasite.

This American experience is relevant for the Caribbean to consider; not only for the fact that two Caribbean member-states are American territories: Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. There are military bases in Puerto Rico, so obviously there is some Defense spending there. That figure amounts to $285 million in Defense contracts and $584 million in procurements and salaries (2004). There are no permanent military bases in the US Virgin Islands, but yet there are some spending for Defense contracts ($4.6 million), procurements and salaries ($17.5 million).

Assuming the same level for spending for 2014, the new calculation of Caribbean percentage of American Defense spending now totals: $1,154.1 million or 0.1968%

0.1968% – The cause-and-effect is still the same; a piddling!

The region is in crisis; at the precipice of Failed-State status. No doubt, there is an overriding need for the Caribbean to create its own regional security solution. This is the assertion of the book Go Lean…Caribbean, that the region must prepare its own security apparatus for its own security needs. For this reason, we should be dreading the formal Caribbean Basin Security Initiative as currently formulated. Obviously the heartfelt commitment, the devotion to the Caribbean homeland is not there for Washington, the White House or the Pentagon; see VIDEOs below. We must appoint our own “guardians” with our self-interest in mind; starting a new community ethos of National Sacrifice.

The news reports abound in the Caribbean: Gang and organized crime-related activities, including drug trafficking accompanied by epidemic levels of gun violence, threatens the democratic fabric of the Caribbean sub-region. Between 2005 and 2008, the Caribbean Community (CariCom) registered 9,733 homicides, the highest rates -per capita – in the world.

So the request is that all Caribbean member-states confederate – unite and empower – a security force to execute a limited scope on their sovereign territories. Yes, there is a need for a regional Caribbean security solution; which will include the US Territories as well; (Puerto Rico reports runaway crime statistics as well).

Homeland Security for the Caribbean has a different meaning than for our American counterparts. Though we must be on guard against military intrusions like terrorism and piracy, we mostly have to contend with crime – remediation, mitigation and threats that may imperil the region’s economic engines. The CU security goal is for public safety! This goal is detailed in the Go Lean book as it serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). So while the CU is set to optimize Caribbean society through economic empowerment, the security dynamics will be inextricably linked to this same endeavor. Therefore the Go Lean roadmap has these 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improvement of Caribbean governance to support these engines.

The book contends that “bad actors” will emerge as a result of economic successes. 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. There is currently a security pact; shared by 5 Eastern Caribbean member-states dubbed the Regional Security System. The Go Lean roadmap however calls for a permanent professional force with naval and ground (Marine) forces, plus an Intelligence agency. This security apparatus would be sanctioned by all 30 CU member-states, not just the current 5 and including the US Territories. The CU Trade Federation will lead, fund and facilitate the security force, encapsulating all the existing (full-time or part-time) armed forces in the region. This CU Homeland Security Force would get its legal authorization from a Status of Forces Agreement signed as a complement to the CU treaty. The Go Lean roadmap also calls for a greater commitment to Justice institutions: law enforcement and regional policing. In fact, the book’s 370-page turn-by-turn instructions present a plan with a lot of time, talent and treasuries focused on the comprehensive security vision.

This commentary posits that the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative, from the foregoing article, should be coupled with these CU security initiatives; see VIDEOs below. This required security apparatus is “Step One, Day One” in the Go Lean roadmap, covering the approach for adequate funding, accountability and control.

The Go Lean book details a series of community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to provide increased public safety & security in the Caribbean region:

Economic Principle – Economic Systems Influence Individual Choices Page 21
Economic Principle – Consequences of Choices Lie in Future Page 21
Community Ethos – Privacy –vs- Public Protection Page 23
Community Ethos – Witness Security & Protection Page 23
Community Ethos – Intelligence Gathering Page 23
Community Ethos – Anti-Bullying and Mitigation Page 23
Community Ethos – Minority Equalization Page 24
Community Ethos – Cooperatives Page 25
Community Ethos – Ways to Improve Sharing Page 35
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Strategy – Vision – Caribbean an integrated and unified region Page 45
Strategy – Mission – Enact a Defense Pact against systemic threats Page 45
Tactical – Confederating a non-sovereign union Page 63
Tactical – Fostering a Technocracy Page 64
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Homeland Security Page 75
Implementation – Ways to Pay for Change Page 101
Implementation – Start-up Foreign Policy Initiatives Page 102
Implementation – Start-up Security Initiatives Page 103
Implementation – Ways to Foster International Aid Page 115
Planning – Ways to Model the EU Page 130
Planning – Ways to Make the Caribbean Better Page 131
Planning – Ways to Improve Failed-State Indices Page 134
Planning – Lessons Learned from the West Indies Federation Page 135
Planning – Lessons from the American West Page 142
Planning – Lessons from Egypt Page 143
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Governance Page 168
Advocacy – Ways to Better Manage the Social Contract Page 170
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Leadership Page 171
Advocacy – Ways   to Impact Justice Page 177
Advocacy – Ways   to Reduce Crime Page 178
Advocacy – Ways to Improve for Gun Control Page 179
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Homeland Security Page 180
Advocacy – Ways to Mitigate Terrorism Page 181
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Intelligence Gathering/Analysis Page 182
Advocacy – Ways to Impact the Prison Industrial Complex Page 211
Advocacy – Ways to Protect Human Rights Page 220
Advocacy – Ways to Impact US Territories Page 244

Other subjects related to Homeland Security and crime remediation empowerments for the region have been blogged in other Go Lean…Caribbean commentary, as sampled here:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=4308 911 – Emergency Response: System for First Responders in Crisis
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=3881 Intelligence Agencies to Up Cyber Security Cooperation
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=3662 Migrant flow / Border Incursions / Threats spike for Caribbean into US
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=3432 OECS diplomat has dire warning for Caribbean “Begging”
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2782 Red Light Traffic Cameras, other CCTV Deployments Can Impact Crime
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2684 Role Model for Justice, Anti-Crime & Security: The Pinkertons
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2259 The Criminalization of American Business – White Collar Interdictions
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1965 America’s Navy – 100 Percent – Model for Caribbean
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1674 Obama’s $3.7 Billion Immigration Crisis Funds – A Homeland Security Fix
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1554 Status of Forces Agreement = Security Pact
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1531 A Lesson in History: 100 Years Ago – World War I
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1487 Here come the Drones … and the Concerns
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1143 White Collar-Health-care fraud in US; criminals take $272 billion a year
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1076 Trinidad Muslims travel to Venezuela for jihadist training
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=960 NSA records all phone calls in Bahamas, according to Snowden
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=809 Muslim officials condemn abductions of Nigerian girls
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=789 America’s War on the Caribbean
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=535 Remembering and learning from Boston
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=392 Jamaica to receive World Bank funds to help in crime fight
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=273 10 Things We Want from the US – #4: Pax Americana

The planners of the new Caribbean, those in this Go Lean movement, are not ungrateful for the contributions of the US. We appreciate their support and invite even more assistance, cooperation and facilitation. After all, a leading factor in the regional threats the Caribbean contends with is derived from the US demand for illicit drugs. Many times, our small island states are just in the way of narco-terrorists trans-shipment plans. Plus a number of American states have now adopted new community ethos when it comes to drugs, legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana; sometimes declaring a “faux-medical” subterfuge. If the State says “OK”, it is very hard for parents, teachers and religious leaders to counter the arguments. So American vices are breaking Caribbean societal structures.

It is what it is!

An underlying goal of the Go Lean movement is to make the Caribbean homeland, a better place to live, work and play. (It is out-of-scope of Go Lean … Caribbean to fix America). While this roadmap includes a heavy focus on economics, the other areas of Caribbean society must get equal attention, like security and governance. A 0.1968% commitment is not the community ethos we advocate; in fact, at those piddling numbers, it is no commitment at all, it only constitutes a slight involvement – just sticking a “toe in the waters” when a wholesale bath is needed. In an illustrative depiction, it is just “milk or eggs to a recipe that requires bacon”. So we cannot expect Caribbean leadership to come from American sources.

Accepting the premise of “bad actors” inevitability means preparing counter-measures in earnest. There is nothing earnest about a 0.1968% commitment. Rather, a technocratic security apparatus for public safety is necessary to elevate the Caribbean homeland. This prime directive is front-and-center with the Go Lean effort. Now is the time for all of the Caribbean, the people, institutions and governance, to lean-in to this roadmap.


Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!


APPENDIX A – VIDEOs: The Caribbean Basin Security Initiative Commission; 3rd meeting in St. Kitts; Oct 3, 2012.

1. Caribbean Basin Security Initiative – Francis Forbes – http://youtu.be/wUyOpOVT1ss

Francis Forbes, Executive Director – CariCom Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS)

2. VIDEO: Caribbean Basin Security Initiative – Liliana Ayalde – http://youtu.be/_uf5gEHkKac

At the time of this posting, Ms. Ayalde was the Deputy Assistant Secretary (DAS) for the United States State Department with responsibility for the Offices of Caribbean Affairs, Central American Affairs and Cuban Affairs. Today, she serves as the United States Ambassador to Brazil.

APPENDIX B – Official Communique: Caribbean Basin Security Initiative
(Source retrieved 02/26/2015 from: http://www.state.gov/p/wha/rt/cbsi/)

The Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) is one pillar of a U.S. security strategy focused on citizen safety throughout the hemisphere. CBSI brings all members of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Dominican Republic together to jointly collaborate on regional security with the United States as a partner. The United States is making a significant contribution to CBSI, committing $263 million in funding since 2010.

The United States and Caribbean countries have identified three core objectives to deal with the threats facing the Caribbean:

  • Substantially Reduce Illicit Trafficking: through programs ranging from counter-narcotics to reducing the flow of illegal arms/light weapons.
  • Increase Public Safety and Security: through programs ranging from reducing crime and violence to improving border security.
  • Promote Social Justice: through programs designed to promote justice sector reform, combat government corruption, and assist vulnerable populations at risk of recruitment into criminal organizations.

These objectives are not just about drug interdiction. CBSI is a whole of government approach to citizen safety. Citizen Safety Focuses on:

  • Partnerships: A defining purpose of U.S.  policy in the Western Hemisphere is to build effective partnerships to advance our common strategic interests—partnerships that can better develop, mobilize and apply the capacity of the region toward accomplishing shared objectives.
  • The Personal Element: Our commitment to broad partnerships that advance citizen safety signals that the U.S. understands that while security is a key priority throughout the region, people often understand security in a personal way on their street corners, on a bus to and from work, or in their markets.
  • Crime Linkages: Forging effective partnerships requires an understanding of and an ability to address fundamental links between local, transnational and “white collar” crime (e.g., corruption), and the nexus between these threats and the big social and economic challenges the region faces.  We seek to improve public safety, improving security for each and every citizen through these partnerships.

Related Documents
-12/05/13   The Caribbean Basin Security Initiative [PDF version]
-12/05/13   The Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (Spanish)  [689 Kb]
-12/05/13   The Caribbean Basin Security Initiative: Antigua and Barbuda [PDF version]
-12/05/13   The Caribbean Basin Security Initiative: Barbados [PDF version]
-12/05/13   The Caribbean Basin Security Initiative: Dominica [PDF version]
-12/05/13   The Caribbean Basin Security Initiative: Dominican Republic [PDF version]
-12/05/13   The Caribbean Basin Security Initiative: Dominican Republic (Spanish)  [690 Kb]
-12/05/13   The Caribbean Basin Security Initiative: Grenada [PDF version]
-12/05/13   The Caribbean Basin Security Initiative: Guyana [PDF version]
-12/05/13   The Caribbean Basin Security Initiative: Jamaica [PDF version]
-12/05/13   The Caribbean Basin Security Initiative: St. Kitts and Nevis [PDF version]
-12/05/13   The Caribbean Basin Security Initiative: St. Lucia  [PDF version]
-12/05/13   The Caribbean Basin Security Initiative: St. Vincent and the Grenadines [PDF version]
-12/05/13   The Caribbean Basin Security Initiative: Suriname [PDF version]
-12/05/13   The Caribbean Basin Security Initiative: The Bahamas [PDF version]
-12/05/13   The Caribbean Basin Security Initiative: Trinidad and Tobago [PDF version]
-01/17/13   Spanish Version: The Caribbean Basin Security Initiative: A Shared Regional Security Partnership  [1324 Kb]
-01/17/13   Spanish Version: The Caribbean Basin Security Initiative: A Shared Regional Security Partnership (Dominican Republic)  [1057 Kb]


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