A Heather Cole Column – The New Triangular Trade?

Submitted by Heather Cole

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail. -Unknown

In essence this rhyme is about a seemingly unimportant act that can lead to grave consequences. Some call it the effects of causation others the chain of causality.

In our scenario, there is no nail, no horse, no rider, or kingdom to be lost. Instead we have stolen vehicles, a check, a murder and guns and drugs. We have discovered a chain that has blown the cover of the New Triangular Trade.

Since we have established in the last article that vehicles were removed from the Bridgetown Port without the proper paperwork, we have learnt that disassembled vehicles are now part of the trade. One reader wanted a story done on what happens at Transtec. They informed that one of those luxury vehicles regularly receives service there.

Our scenario starts with the check. Payment by a check to be precise. An act so trivial but lead to a chain of events. Had the payment been in cash, an Englishman would not be dead but I am skipping ahead of myself. Checks are traceable. Checks contains names, dollar amounts, bank names, account numbers and check numbers. More than likely the Englishman who had already exchanged the vehicle for the check would have had to return to England to deposit it, if his bank did not accept deposits by taking a picture of the check with his phone. We do not know if this was done. Even if the check was deposited by phone, it still had to clear the bank unless he had deposits to cover the amount of the check. We do not know the date on the check. One wonders with the Englishman still on the island how he would get access to that amount of cash to make his payment. Did he have a local bank account? Was the check written on the day of his untimely demise? No one has borne the burden of proof that this check does NOT exist.

Cash is the “legal” tender for the underground, not checks. So, there was therefore no cash to pay for his purchase which we have not been able to confirm if it was guns or drugs or a combination of both but for the lack of cash, an Englishman was beaten to death. One wonders if the person who exchanged the check for the vehicle is aware that they had ultimately signed the death warrant for the Englishman. However, that is speculative without a known motive but a complicity still remains.

We know that a stash of guns or drugs or of both guns and drugs were already delivered to the Englishman that were not paid for. It is unknown if the police have recovered that stash or if they have already left the island. We know that the police have 5 men on remand for his murder.

There is a crisis in Venezuela that has led to a lack of food and money. There has been well documented evidence is both Guyana and Trinidad of instances where Venezuelans have been caught as they tried to sell guns in those respective territories. Guns are not manufactured in Barbados yet they now becoming increasingly available.

The mere fact that there is an abundance of guns on the local market means that the Venezuelans have already established trade here.

A triangular trade is trade between three ports or countries. When sugar was King a few centuries ago, that term was used to reference the removal of millions of peoples from West Africa to work under the conditions of slavery to produce sugar which was shipped across the Atlantic creating a class of wealthy individual who became known as sugar barons and the Plantocracy.

The story an Englishman being murdered in Barbados is therefore part of a clandestine activity that can be termed the New Triangular Trade. The guns and drugs are going elsewhere because the local demand on the market for drugs has not changed. Barbados is too small to make the gun trade within the island profitable. So most likely than not, it is being used as a trans-shipment point to Europe and North America for both guns and drugs.

What the Englishman’s murder has brought to light is a lucrative underworld trade of luxury vehicles, guns and drugs. We do not know who all the players are. The only things we know for sure is that the new trade is creating a new class of wealth owners; is bringing destruction by gun violence; and that guns are the “new sugar” coming straight outta Venezuela.

Is the Customs Officer Always Right?



The following article is written by Customs Officer, Arleigh Durant, for CESS NEWS (Customs and Excise Shop Stewards News). The shop stewards at Customs use CESS as an avenue to disseminate news among the staff.

A member of the business community was having a candid conversation with a Customs officer. The businessman told the officer “time is money I have instructed my broker to do whatever customs require. If the customs officers wants to up my values or change the tariff number so that I have to pay more duty, I am not wasting my time quarrelling with them. I will pay whatever they want me to pay. That additional cost is passed on to the consumer. My bottom line will not be affected. That man in Enforcement or the one in Outdoor they can do as they like “. We are all consumers; the price of items can erode our purchasing power. There is no special price for Customs workers.

The way Customs does business is critical to the survival of some small businesses. The big businesses may be able to pass on the cost. With the small business increased cost could cause the business to close down. In these hard economic times one must take into consideration the commercial realities and our societal duty to assist the national efforts to keep people employed. With people out of work, there is a greater threat to the society. Crime and violence will increase. Our tourism industry can be crushed by the ravages of crime and violence.

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By Baba Elombe Mottley

By Baba Elombe Mottley

All across the English speaking Caribbean, there is an ominous movement of sorts, a movement of low frequency rumblings without patterns, without form, not like the rhythms of bumbatuk or soca or the one drop of reggae or mento that we are accustomed to.

The essence of all of these known rhythms is that they link us to a past of chattel servitude where there was little choice for self fulfillment. In time these rhythms. isolated as they were in tenantries and yards and the dancehall, fortified our resolve towards freedom and independence.

Over the last 40 to 50 years, we built indigenous institutions in every sphere, oblivious to the rumblings that were moving across the region. We dismantled the psychological prison of plantation inheritance, killed off the skills we developed to feed and clothe ourselves while we were taught to assemble products that we never used. We set a precedent by bribing investors that our labour was cheap and responsive to training and we told ourselves we could depend on these jobs.

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Barbados Advocate Features The Article "ZERO Inflation For First 4 Months Of 2007~You Have To Be Joking !

Stoute: Zero inflation prevailing in first four months of 2007 good news
Web Posted – Fri Aug 17 2007

PRESIDENT of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dick Stoute, has described as good news the zero inflation, which he said information suggested was the case, prevailing during the first four months of 2007. The same time he has called for more productivity gains, warning that if incomes rise faster than productivity, inflation will most likely take place.

The following is the full statement: “We have recently gone through a period of rapid price increases. Towards the end of last year prices were increasing at an annualized rate of close to 8% driven by significant price increases in oil, metals and cereals.”

Source: Advocate


CONSULTANT Althea Wiggins-Rock, at right, making a point to prominent businessman Arthur Lok Jack, at left, while BCCI president Dick Stoute, third from left, and Andrew Niles senior vice-president look on. (Picture by David Sandiford.)

The above article appears in the Barbados Advocate this morning and BU suggest that you should read the story before taking breakfast. If we say that we are confused it would be the understatement of the year. The conclusion which we have made is that Mr. Dick Stoute is part of the spin web with an election imminent. The statement is insensitive at a time in our history when the cost of living is being felt to the core by Barbadians. Mr. Stoute is obviously part of the establishment who is now being mobilized by his Barbados Labour Party master to go out and preach it!

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The Customs And Excise Department Of Barbados Needs To Become More Efficient

FORENSIC SCIENTIST Mark Arthur DaCosta Sargeant lied under oath during the drug trial of businessman Abraham Moses, customs clerk John Jean-Marie and customs officer Edward Lavine five years ago. Source: Nation News

BU has highlighted this case of last year and we hope that readers will connect the dots when the dust settles. Edward Lavine was involved in this very high profile court case and was released eventually on a technicality. Our focus on this article is not the judicial system but on the customs officer. Mr. Lavine before his arrest had an attendance record at the Port Authority where he was posted which would have sent shivers down the spine of the General Secretary of the BWU and NUPW. He was never at work and a check with “people” usually confirmed that he was out of the island. The bottom line is that he would go MIA for days. The fact that he was eventually arrested in a highly publicized drug case came as no surprise to many. Barbados is a small place and BU refuses to believe that he is the single bad apple in the barrel. If Barbadians want to secure a wholesome environment for their children to exist through the elimination of the scourge of drugs in the society, the popular practice of “see no evil hear no evil” must be discontinue.

UNDER-INVOICING of goods entering the Bridgetown Port is to come under very close scrutiny by authorities. Acting Comptroller of Customs Joseph Best told the DAILY NATION yesterday that a unit would be set up within the department shortly to nip under-invoicing in the bud and prevent hundreds of thousands of dollars being lost annually.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Clyde Mascoll, also spoke to the issue of under-invoicing during his feature address at the official opening of the 41st General Assembly of the Inter-American Centre of Tax Administrations at Hilton Barbados yesterday. He said globalisation, despite its potential to increase the wealth of nations, opened the global market to a wider spectrum of taxpayers who eluded national tax systems. Mascoll cited under-invoicing as one such problem affecting Barbados.

Source: Nation News

BU has no doubt that what the gentlemen is reported to have said is true. However we feel that their resources maybe better spent to improve internal controls. We wonder if the setting up of the Unit within the Customs Department to investigate the practice of under-invoicing is not a case of misplaced priorities. Although there is the widely held public perception that Customs Brokers and businessmen alike all wait until their “man is on duty”, at BU we wonder if Mascoll as Minister of Finance, and the de facto number two government minister, should not target resources to other much needed areas at the Customs and Excise Department. One such area is the identification of Custom Officers who allow contraband into our country, and also to implement systems to improve the efficient processing documentation at the ports of entry to facilitate the timely delivery of goods to small and medium size businesses especially. It is no secret that the delay in processing goods through the Port results in higher port charges which will have the effect of higher prices to the consumer.

The preamble is to highlight one business sector in Barbados which has been decimated with the help of the Customs department. At BU we have no doubt that some recondition car dealers have manipulated the system. But we feel that it is no excuse for the Customs Department to have adopted a “Peter pay for Paul” approach by delaying the process under which cars are imported by this group to be processed. We all remember the Prime Minister having to get involved in a matter where the Customs deliberately frustrated the ruling of a Magistrate in the case regarding Shazar Distributors. The public did not see Customs held accountable for this action. The Customs department along with new car dealers and Minister Eastmond’s ministry have all conspired to bring this once thriving, predominantly black business sector to a halt. The Customs department should use its resources to ensure that import documents are speedily processed which will protect jobs and help to reduce the inflationary effect on our economy, they embark instead on focusing on under invoicing.

Why are they focusing on under invoicing? Minister Mascoll needs to meet his revenue target!