Bahamas calls for greater law enforcement support for Caribbean countries
ROME (CMC):The Bahamas has called on the international law enforcement community to help the Caribbean deal with the illegal drugs trade, warning that despite regional efforts to curb the shipment of illegal drugs the trade has left behind a culture of dishonesty, disrespect, and urban violence in the country.
National Security Minister Dr Bernard Nottage, addressing the International Police (Interpol) General Assembly here, said that The Bahamas, for example, has not been able to escape being a transit country for cocaine and marijuana destined for North America.
He said as a result, many Bahamians, who were accustomed to the benefits which they derived from the drug trade and a false economy "must now face the harsh reality that they must legitimately work.
"Many of them, predominantly our young men, are ill prepared and as a result have turned to other forms of crimes. These crimes include human smuggling, illegal gambling, robberies, a myriad of other property crimes, and fraudulent activities."
Nottage told the international gathering that the transport, sale, and use of illegal drugs continue to fuel crime in many countries, and that a consequence of the drug trade is the possession, trafficking, and use of illegal firearms to commit serious crimes.
He said while the United States and Mexican authorities have sought to deal harshly with the situation, those engaged in the illegal trade are now turning their attention to softer targets and will demonstrate an aggressive exploitation intent.
"Suffice it to say, we feel that the Caribbean region will attract the attention of these organisations. We therefore support the view that proactive and urgent attention must be directed to our region, the Caribbean.
"We must not be caught napping, nor should we repeat the mistakes of the early '80s. We must carefully assess the current risks to our countries and move hastily to build capacity to discourage and negate any attempt to exploit our region."