Tuesday, March 19, 2013

National Security report on measures by T&T to fight drugs and crime problems


The Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago did not give sufficient support at the political level to those fighting crime and drugs

Measures being taken by the GOTT to fight crime and drugs include:
-       Increased funding for the Ministry of National Security
-       Annual contribution of USD 20,000 to Organization of American States (OAS) Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission for (CICAD)
-       Establishment of Drug Treatment Courts
-       Provision of funding (100,000 USD) towards an OAS Study to  examine the drug problem in the Americas
-       Drafting of new legislation
-       Development of the National Drug Plan for the period 2013-2017
-       Capacity building in the area of Precursor Chemicals, control of drugs via the internet
-       Continuous training

Overall seizures and interdiction of drugs in 2012 were down from 2011

The number of seizures cannot be used as a barometer to determine the quantity of drugs entering Trinidad and Tobago. This is acknowledged in the Report.

The Report states: The root cause for the decrease in seizures is unknown, but may be attributable to cyclical variations in trafficking methodologies, which commonly result in seizure reductions for a period of time”

Many state-supported drug prevention and treatment programs must raise additional operating funds from local and international donors.
This is not compulsory. This may be an option and an approach that is being used.

The National Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Programme (NADAPP) received funding increases in TT’s 2013 budget.

Additionally, as is the case with other countries, organizations are presented with offers which they willingly accept to supplement existing resources.

Examples of this include the TT-US International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) Agreement which provides funding for capacity building in the sum of USD 1.62 million for the period 2011-2013.

Another example at the regional level is the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI).

The entities and individuals working to combat narcotics in Trinidad and Tobago face considerable challenges and insufficient support from political leadership.
All countries face similar challenges in the fight against narcotics trafficking, once there is a demand for the narcotic. The greatest demand for illegal narcotics emanate from the US and Europe.

The Report outlines a number of measures that the US has been able to take which would not have been possible if it were not for the support provided, the demonstrated political will and leadership.

The Report states:

“The Government is working to strengthen its programs with the assistance of OAS/CICAD.
In 2012, the United States trained hundreds of military and law enforcement personnel, with specific courses on tactical event management, the use of intercept software for law enforcement intelligence gathering, and canine handler training. Training was also provided to Trinidad and Tobago’s Coast Guard to boost maritime law enforcement capacity.”

Operational units are also heavily dependent upon international donors for physical assets such as cars, computers, or tactical equipment that repeatedly go unfunded by government budget streams.
The Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago increased the Ministry of National Security’s budgetary allocations for fiscal year 2013, which resulted in the budget increase for entities tasked with fighting crime and drugs.

There has been an increase in funding for acquisitions (which includes vehicles, computers and tactical equipment) for the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) amounting to approximately $86,700,000 for the year.

Acquisitions for all law enforcement are funded by the GOTT, except in instances where donations are made.

The Government of Trinidad and Tobago is slow on judicial reform, case management and revision of laws

The legislature has continuously passed anti-crime laws over the past decade, with significant progress since 2010.

The Report states:

Several pieces of anti-crime legislation progressed on the path to proclamation in 2012, most notably regarding asset forfeiture, electronic monitoring, and the admission of DNA into evidence”.

Other illicit substance operations – primarily cocaine, but also small amounts of heroin and ecstasy – are trafficked through the country by international organized crime groups operating in Trinidad and Tobago, exploiting its close proximity to Venezuela and weaknesses at ports of entry.

Reports reflect the involvement of Jamaicans and West Africans, in Trinidad and Tobago, in the drug trade.

Additional reforms are necessary to expedite case prosecution, revise out-dated laws, and establish an evidence-based criminal justice system as fundamental prerequisites for raising conviction rates and deterring traffickers.

This seems to suggest that an evidence-based criminal justice system does not already exist, which is contradictory. Law enforcement actions and operations are intelligence-driven, which is just one aspect of an evidence-based criminal justice system.

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai