Criminal Justice in the Caribbean essay

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There is an open drug culture on the island that celebrates the use of marijuana, and no one knows how much of the plant is grown on this island, alone. As one drug enforcement manual notes, "Tiny Jamaica has been known to produce upwards of 300 metric tons in a year."

The author also notes that the country is the major source of marijuana in the United States, as well, along with supplying several other countries, as well.

The problem is so bad in the country that it is the top priority of its citizens, who do not trust the government and have not trusted it in a long time. The two authors state, "In 1991, Jamaican pollster and university professor Carl Stone carried out a major survey of public attitudes towards the police and the court system. The results were extremely discouraging: the public trusted neither the police, the courts, nor the justice system."

The situation is still the same today. Jamaica has one of the highest rates of murder in the world, the drug lords literally run the island because they have more money and firepower than the police could ever hope of having, and they reign over the people through fear and intimidation.

The Sources - Dominica

During the last decade, Dominica has become another major source of drugs in the Caribbean. Another author notes, "Mervin Paul, the Director of Dominica's National Drug Prevention Unit, stated 'there are clear signs of a worsening drug problem' and that Dominica has become a transshipment point between South and North America."

The Dominican government is woefully underfunded and they did not even adopt a plan for attacking the drug problem until 1999. They have no military, and one coast guard ship that is disabled, so drug traffickers pretty much have the run of the country. It is interesting to note that as the problem of drug trafficking has grown in Dominica, so has crack cocaine addiction, which had not previously been a problem in the country.

Dominica is also a major source of money laundering in the area. It was so bad in the last decade that United States Financial Action Task Force (FATF) placed the country on its blacklist of states prone to money laundering. While the nation has passed stricter money-laundering laws as FATF removed it from the blacklist, the country continues under scrutiny. Author Hubbell continues, "Nevertheless, despite these measures, a report by Transparency International noted that Dominica and its Eastern Caribbean neighbors are still at risk. 'Narcotics-related corruption and associated arms trafficking, and money laundering and financial crime constitute a "growing threat" to the small island states of the Caribbean'."

Crimes associated with narcotics drug trafficking, including murder, gun running, and drug addiction are all growing in the country, as well.

The Solution

Is there a solution to the problems of drug trafficking and money laundering in the Caribbean? There have been many attempts by the United States to combat the continuing drug trafficking in the Caribbean. They have formed many coalitions with island nations, and have had some success in seizing large shipments of drugs bound for the U.S. One of the most recent attempts is the Caribbean Corridor Initiative by the Border Patrol. Their Web site notes, "The Caribbean Corridor Initiative is a Drug Enforcement Strike Force that includes agencies such as Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Coast Guard, Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Attorney's Office."

This is the initiative that was responsive for seizing the $15 million in cocaine, and it has been successful in other seizures, as well. However, it is very difficult to make real headway in the area because of the widespread corruption among governments, police, and officials, and the fact that so many countries, like Jamaica and Dominica, have widespread unemployment and there is little gainful work for the island residents.

The criminality that comes along with drug trafficking is a major concern for most residents in the Caribbean. The two authors continue, "In fact, there is not an island in the region where the threat of crime is not on the top of everyone's list of civic concerns."

The fact that the people are concerned and the governments are not responding illustrates the continuing lack of a solution to drug trafficking in the area. Jamaica, one of the worst hit in the islands, has finally reached out for U.S. aid in combating drug trafficking, and the U.S. has begun working with other Caribbean countries, as well. One of the best solutions would be to help the countries develop alternative income and revenue sources that would create more employment for the residents, leaving them less dependent on drug lords as employers.

In the case of money laundering, although some headway has been made in some countries, it is difficult to police all the banks and all the other institutions engaging in the practice. Author Bethel notes, "Although governments of Caribbean nations are taking major steps to enforce money laundering laws within private institutions, the legislative basis to bring public officials to justice for corruption remains inadequate."

The money-laundering crisis in the Caribbean may eventually pass the narcotics trade as the most disturbing problem facing the area, because it is so rife with corruption and illegal activities, and in fact encourages these activities with its very being.

In conclusion, it is clear drug trafficking and money laundering are huge problems throughout the Caribbean, and there seems to be little respite in sight. It is difficult to eradicate these activities without the total support of the Caribbean nations, and many do not seem to have the ability or desire to combat them. The United States should investigate the offshore banks and their depositors, and require stricter standards against corporations using these accounts to shelter their money. They should step up law enforcement in the islands as well, with the consent and support of island nations and their people, who are tired of the corruption and illegal activities in their countries.


Bethel, T.A. (2003). Caribbean narcotics trafficking: What is to be cone? Retrieved 21 March 2009 from the Defense Institute of Security Assistance Management Web site:,%20Tellis%20A.pdf.80-90.

Hubbell, L. (2008). Rethinking dependency theory: The case of Dominica, the rascal state. Journal of Third World Studies, 25(1), 95.

Lee, G.D. (2004). Global drug enforcement: Practical investigative techniques. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Maingot, a.P., & Lozano, W. (2004). The United States and the Caribbean: Transforming hegemony and sovereignty. Boca Raton, FL: Routledge.

Vallejo, W. (2007). Federal authorities seize narcotics valued at more than $15 million in Caribbean. Retrieved 21 March 2009 from the Customs and Border Patrol Web site:

Bethel, T.A. (2003). Caribbean narcotics trafficking: What is to be cone? Retrieved 21 March 2009 from the Defense Institute of Security Assistance Management Web site:,%20Tellis%20A.pdf,80.

Maingot, a.P. And Lozano, W. (2004). The United States and the Caribbean: Transforming hegemony and sovereignty Boca Raton, FL: Routledge, 92.

Vallejo, W. (2007). Federal authorities seize narcotics valued at more than $15 million in Caribbean. Retrieved 21 March 2009 from the Customs and Border Patrol Web site:

Bethel, 82-83.

Bethel, 82.

Maingot, and Lozano, 91.

Lee, G.D. (2004). Global Drug Enforcement: Practical Investigative Techniques. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 43.

Maingot, and Lozano, 139.

Hubbell, L. (2008). Rethinking dependency theory: The case of Dominica, the rascal state. Journal of Third World Studies 25, no. 1: 95.


Maingot, and Lozano, 142.

Bethel, 83.[continue]

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