Trinidad and Tobago- Surveillance and Enforcement Of Our Maritime Borders and Laws

Trinidad and Tobago ÔÇôSurveillance & Enforcement of Our Maritime Borders & Laws


trinidad and tobago defence

date: 10/19/2013


historical use of warning and surveillance systems in trinidad and tobago and the caribbean basin

Trinidad and Tobago is not newbie in the world of I&W and integrated EW systems. Dating as far back as WW2 Trinidad and Tobago was used as a forward operating base to monitor German U boats entering the Atlantic. It was the main US base in the Caribbean.

During the cold war, in a world’s first in the 1950′s, Trinidad and Tobago hosted USAF BMEW system that monitored the Atlantic Missile range. This base was open up until the late 60′s where it was abandoned and the entire Chaguramas area was placed back under Trinidadian control.

Presently Trinidad and Tobago is one of three Caribbean countries that host the Advanced Coastal Surveillance Radar System.

physical environment

By geographic definition, The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is the southernmost island nation of the Caribbean archipelago. It is strategically located just 11km from the coastline of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela from its closest point, Icacos on the southern peninsular of Trinidad and Tobago. In addition to its geographic position, there are numerous features in the coastal environment such as bays, coves, mangroves and 21 islands (the ones of significance being: Chacachacare, Monos, Huevos, Gasparee and St. Giles.) The Gulf Of Paria bounded between the Dragon’s Mouth to the North and the Serpents Mouth to the south and the western coastline of Trinidad offers safe anchorage for water vessels whilst Chaguramas is a natural harbor for vessels. The north coast is too rocky for anchorage and the southern coast is steep and the eastern coast is prone to excessive surf, though there exists numerous fishing villages in these areas. This ability is complimented as Trinidad and Tobago is located at the center of the both shipping and air lanes. Also Trinidad and Tobago is open route to Panama Canal and subs entering the Caribbean. Hence Trinidad and Tobago is marketed as the gateway of the Americas. In total, the combined coastline to monitor is about 362km and the Area of Operation is 64, 817 km2 of ocean.

It was therefore concluded in 1996 that the only way to effectively monitor such a large operational environment was through the use of coastal radar surveillance system.


At present Trinidad and Tobago is one of three Caribbean countries to host such systems. Procurement of the system began in 2003 at the peak of the GWOT. Then PM of ROTT made a trip to Israel where he ensured the deal with the purchasing of the system totaling 130million TT was done. This opened up additional doors for Israel’s assistance in nations national security and whilst demonstrating Trinibago’s pro-western, pro-Israel stance. Astounding Political support to create a “security net” from Trinidad and Tobago, to Grenada and to St. Lucia was concurred and then brought into action. Successful implementation was seen with ACRS system being installed on each of the mentioned islands, with the cost “absorbed” by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago. This improved Trinidad and Tobago’s foreign policy standing regionally and internationally as a leader in Caribbean/Regional Security and signified its willingness to combat drug trafficking i.e. “big brother role”. This system was also used in the local political campaigning process by the PM Manning in his campaigning to show the PNM party’s approach to safe and secure TNT after its existence was publicized in 2006 by a VMCOTT invoice in parliament.