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Eastern Caribbean leaders fail to control drug trafficking, US report says

Tuesday, March 04, 2014 | 12:43 PM    

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WASHINGTON (CMC) – Political leaders in the Eastern Caribbean (EC) have “largely failed” to address concerns of official corruption, according to a report released by the United States State Department.

It said the seven Eastern Caribbean countries -- Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines – host abundant trans-shipment points for illicit narcotics primarily from Colombia and Venezuela destined for North American, European and domestic Caribbean markets.  

“Local and international law enforcement believe traffickers increasingly make use of yachts for drug transit, though ‘go-fast’ boats, fishing trawlers, and cargo ships continue to be used. Drug trans-shipment through the Eastern Caribbean increased in 2013,” said the document titled “2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report”.

It said drug related violent crime remained high, but homicides decreased from 2012 and 2011. Many of the homicides resulted from turf wars between organised criminal groups fighting to control drug distribution.  

Washington said that four years of declining macroeconomic growth has left EC law enforcement capacity increasingly beleaguered, even when compared with the bleak situation described in past reports.  

“EC governments have made some improvements to still largely antiquated criminal codes. Political leaders, however, have largely failed to address public concerns of official corruption,” the report said, noting that in 2013, regional political leaders approved a comprehensive strategic law enforcement plan under the aegis of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM).  

But Washington said national strategic law enforcement plans, including comprehensive vetting programmes, remain largely unaddressed, however, creating a serious vulnerability to narcotics corruption.

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