Helion's Armed Forces of the English-Speaking Caribbean

Author/Artists: Sanjay Badri-Maharaj


Helion  Publishing


$29.95 MSRP from Casemate


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 78 pages, softcover, approx 100 images
ISBN 978-1-914377-13-6

Part of the British Empire for decades were several islands and other territories in the Caribbean. During the second half of the 20th century, many of these decided to choose to become their own nations. As such, though they still had ties with the UK, they could not count on the British military to take care of their defense. Such is one of the prices of independence.

However, none of these nations are particularly wealthy and defense is an expensive proposition. Several of these nations also have to deal with internal disruption from terrorists, gangs, or neighboring nations wishing to take their territory. This book covers the past and current armed forces for those ex-British nations of The Bahamas, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Some of these countries have had major internal strife such as Jamaica with gangs and Trinidad and Tobago with Islamic insurrection. In both of these cases, the military has had to join in with police forces to overcome the situation. None of these countries have ground forces with artillery more potent than mortars, with armored vehicles more potent than armored cars, and with air arms that have no combat aircraft. Some don't even have decent transports. All of them do have a Coast Guard of some level of effectiveness. One thing in common with most of them is a lack of funding for maintenance and spares so even new equipment is degraded in capabilities within a few years. For instance, the Coast Guard of T&T has the most ships, but the least effective force as most are not fully operational. The best military services of them all are those of Jamaica, which has a highly professional armed force.

In this book, the author provides background information on the forces of each nation, their combat, if any, equipment used, and the situation in the country today. He also provides an assessment of the forces being covered. All of this is accompanies by well chosen period photos and the usual superb color illustrations in the middle of the book that are standard for Helion's books in this series. It is a fascinating look at an area about which little has been written. I know you will find it as good a read as did I.

December 2021

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