Saturday, December 03, 2005

Modern Day Pirates & Privateers in the Caribbean

Part II

By Marcus M. Mottley

The modern day pirates and privateers of the Caribbean conduct their operations not from the sea, not from boats (maybe yachts) but from their private jets, continental main offices and local satellite offices.

Like pirates of old, these modern day prototypes of Morgan the Pirate and Blackbeard flaunt their money in grand style. Just like in days of old, they use their spoils to win the allegiance of the locals who live in these territories. They buy and then control the local and regional officialdom. They also use ‘pieces of silver’ to buy their way into the psyche of the people by propping up governments, and extravagantly funding sporting programs, political parties and community projects. They use money like drug pushers use cocaine… getting their victims addicted to the money and then using, abusing and then discarding them.

Like days of old, these modern day swashbuckling buccaneers in the Caribbean find this region such a ‘haven’, that they build their heavily fortified hideouts here. In the past, such hideouts were characterized by moats such that they were difficult to approach. Of course, these days, they build their lairs on small islands, protected by sophisticated underground (and undersea) high tech surveillance early warning systems. They are also protected by highly paid mercenaries who, like the buccaneers of old, are heavily armed, not with swords, knives and gun powder, but with… ‘modern day’ automatic gun power.

Some of these modern day pirates may also lay claim to the name “privateer” as did Morgan the Pirate and his ilk. They consort with the powerbrokers (senators & congress men) from today’s global powers. Indeed, one wonders if some of their activities are not “sanctioned” by these powerbrokers who may turn an official “blind eye” to the highly questionable source of the flaunted wealth of these modern day pirates or privateers in the Caribbean. Recent revelations in the halls of power in at least one of these global powers, indicate that some of these powerbrokers might themselves be quite susceptible to being addicted to the financial ‘fixes’ of the ‘privateering pirates’ in the Caribbean.

Indeed, the term privateer is not far fetched, since our modern day pirates also claim to be “private” international businessmen. One can imagine Sir Francis Drake or Captain Kidd claiming to be private businessmen with ‘financial interests’ in various ‘ports and harbors’ around the world. Another similarity is striking. Today’s pirates, turned privateers, like the buccaneers of days of old, find coves, hidden beaches, and small islands very attractive.

There is one other noteworthy similarity. Pirates and privateers are only attracted to territories that are associated with treasure.

One wonders then… to the extent that we may have such privateers buccaneering in Antiguan waters… what treasures might they know of that we don’t?

Are the sunshine islands of Antigua & Barbuda “Treasure Islands”?