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Pointing out that there was a correlation
between the increase of drugs flowing through
the region and the crime and violence on the
regional streets, including those of T&T, US
Assistant Secretary of State William Brownfield
said the increased use of the Caribbean as a trans-
shipment point for drugs had led to the increase in
He predicted that the level of violence was likely
to get worse over the next few years, warning that
even arms of the State can be challenged.
He added: "Drug traffickers have to have the
firepower to defend their turf. They eventually have
to be prepared to take on institutions of the State,
whether that is the police, border guards, customs
or the Judiciary."
Brownfield said drug cartels were well organised
and targeted countries where there were
weaknesses, which could range from poorly paid
public officials to unprotected borders.
He repeated his statement, reported in the T&T
Guardian last month, that the US estimated the
quantum of drugs being trans-shipped through the
Caribbean to the US had increased, saying it had
risen between 2011 and 2013 by over 300 per cent.
He listed three major routes in the Caribbean. The
first, he said, was through Jamaica and then onto
the United States, the second through the
Dominican Republic/Haiti and the third through the
Brownfield said the US government was
partnering with Caricom governments to help deal
with the crime challenge, including the challenge of
guns coming into the region from the US.
He said the reality was that the US had its own
laws relating to gun control but had put in place a
system where law enforcement could trace a gun in
real time, determine if it was in the country illegally
and if the ballistics showed it had been used in any
other crime. The ambassador admitted that was not
enough but said the US was operating in a situation
where its legal system was different from those in
On the issue of extra-judicial killings, he said if
there was evidence that the police service was
involved in such killing in any country, by law, the US
would have to discontinue co-operation with the
He explained that was currently the situation with
the St Lucian police and that was why co-operation
with that country had been suspended. Brownfield
said that was unfortunate because the move not
only hurt St Lucia but the region as a whole.
Allegations of extra-judicial killings have been
made against the T&T Police Service by members of
the public after the recent spate of police shootings.
So far this year, 29 people have been killed by the
police in T&T.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
US envoy: Dana's hit ordered by foreign player...
for 24th JUNE, 2014
Special state prosecutor Dana Seetahal
was murdered by a trans-national drug
organisation with operations in T&T, says
the United States Assistant Secretary of
State William Brownfield.
Speaking from Washington, DC, in a tele-
conference with Caribbean journalists yes-
terday, Ambassador Brownfield said:
"Those in Trinidad would know that I
visited your country two months ago and
two days after I left there was the brutal
murder of Ms Dana Seetahal. She was mur-
dered by a trans-national drug organisa-
Asked by the T&T Guardian to elaborate
on this suggestion, Brownfield, who has
responsibility for international narcotics and
law enforcement affairs, said:
"I stand by everything I have said. This
was clearly not a crime of passion.
"It was not a crime of opportunity where
someone felt they should steal her handbag
and then found they had to shoot her.
"This was a well planned and orchestrated
"This is not something you plan easily.
It is organised crime with an international
player that has a crime organisation with
presence in T&T."
On May 4, Seetahal was shot dead just
outside the Woodbrook Youth Facility on
Hamilton Holder Street as she was on her
way to her apartment at One Woodbrook
Place after leaving the Ma Pau casino on
Ariapita Avenue, Port-of-Spain.
Residents reported hearing a volley of
gunshots followed by screeching tyres. By
the time they contacted police and ran out-
side to check, they found Seetahal slumped
over the steering wheel of her light blue
Volkswagen Touareg. She was pronounced
dead at the scene.
Acting Police Commissioner Stephen
Williams has publicly said the police knew
how and why Seetahal was killed but thus
far, 53 days after her killing, no one has been
charged with her murder.
Yesterday, Brownfield said Seetahal s mur-
der could not be seen as "just another sta-
tistic," explaining that Seetahal had partnered
with the US government on several issues,
had been the beneficiary of a Fulbright
scholarship from the US government, and
was, in his words, "a star, a woman of
Reached in England last night National
Security Minister Gary Griffith said he pre-
ferred not to comment.
Drug cartel has
strong T&T ties
Flashback: United States Assistant Secretary of State William Brownfield, second from
right, chats with Inspector Matthew Ovid, left, head of the Canine Unit, at the Piarco
International Airport during his visit to T&T in April, where he attended the Association of
Caribbean Commissioners of Police Conference at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain. With
them are Keith Gilges political chief, right, and James Story, director of International
Western Hemisphere Programmes. PHOTO COURTESY US EMBASSY, PORT-OF-SPAIN
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