Challenges: The seven island states of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines are collectively referred to as the Eastern Caribbean (EC). South American drug cartels move cocaine shipments up this island chain for onward transit to North America and Europe. Traffickers are increasingly using yachts for drug and other contraband transit while go-fast boats, fishing trawlers, and cargo ships continue major transit roles. Drug related violent crime remains high, and many of the homicides that do occur are a result of turf wars as organized groups fight to control drug distribution. Four consecutive years of declining macroeconomic growth leave EC law enforcement increasingly short of resources. National strategic law enforcement plans, including comprehensive vetting programs, have yet to be implemented, the latter creating a serious vulnerability to corruption.
Goals: As part of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), INL efforts in the EC seek to create a community of trust to increase information sharing among the islands, promote criminal justice legal reform to give the region modern crime fighting tools, build up air and sea assets, and introduce recognized best practices for modern policing through operational mentors. In the area of counternarcotics intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, INL is funding a refurbishment project for the two C-26A aircraft that comprise the Regional Security System (RSS) Air Wing. In the area of rule of law, INL funding seeks to draft modern criminal legislation and empower prosecutors to lead investigations that assure strong case packages.