The Barbados Defence Force (BDF) in its mandate for the defence and protection of Barbados’ interests, continues to augment its response and commitment to these duties and responsibilities.
In the maritime domain and given the effects of the global pandemic, there have been particular challenges to combat the illegal narcotics trade. However, due to interagency efforts, locally and regionally, disruptions and seizures in this sector have been successful.
To date, there has been a significant increase in the illegal trafficking trade.
In particular, during the period 1 January – 13 October 2021, the BDF’s maritime unit, the Barbados Coast Guard (BCG) successfully seized the following drugs, weapons and vessels listed below.
These statistics, compared to the year 2020, reflect an 11 per cent and 50 per cent increase in marijuana and cocaine interdictions respectively.
Additionally, they highlight a 467 per cent increase in the number of non-nationals arrested in connection to these related crimes.
Analytics suggest that one factor contributing to this increase, is the current socioeconomic environment, faced regionally and the local demand.
Statistics: January 1 – October 13:
- 5, 895lbs of Marijuana
- 183lbs of Cocaine
- One firearm
- one AR 15 Rifle
- Nine vessels
- 28 non-nationals
- Seven nationals
In 2020, the BCG conducted several counter-narcotic operations which led to the interdictions of 5,277 lbs of Marijuana and 162 lbs of Cocaine as well as 5 small arms, one Draco AR 47 and a quantity of ammunition. Seven vessels, six non-nationals and seven nationals were also arrested and charged in connection with maritime drug-related offenses.
The Barbados Coast Guard has, however, remained dedicated, not only to its primary role, but has also implemented measures to assist the Government of Barbados in its fight against COVID-19.
All persons taken into custody undergo mandatory COVID-19 screening. As a result of these measures, no positive cases of COVID were detected in 2020. So far for 2021, one positive case, a non-national was detected and that individual was isolated in accordance with the National Policy.
The Barbados Coast Guard remains committed to the territorial defence of Barbados and the maintenance of a safe and secure maritime environment. In keeping with its Mission, the Barbados Defence Force will continue to cooperate with its local and regional law enforcement partners, in combating transnational organised crime, enhancing maritime security, and promoting peace, stability, and prosperity in Barbados.