In recent years political and military attention has been focused on Iraq and Afghanistan and, in past weeks, on Libya. But UK and US forces have been engaged in a similarly important battle in a less covered theatre - that of the war against narco-terrorism in the Caribbean. This link was strengthened by George Bush following the September 11, 2001 attacks. As a result Colombia has become an ever more important recipient of U.S. drug war aid as the Colombian FARC has joined the ranks of designated terrorist groups, including the Taliban, Al Qaeda, Hamas and Hizballah.
As such the MOD announcement in February of this year that the UK would not continue to have a continuous warship presence in the Caribbean, the first time since the Second World War, was greeted with dismay in the region. Originally established to provide protection for British Overseas Territories (there are 6 in the Caribbean), the presence of a warship has assisted in the combined UK/US operations against drug smugglers, whilst also providing humanitarian relief during the July-November hurricane season. It was announced that the alternative was to be a Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) vessel who would undertake a similar role to that which had occurred previously.