Categorized | National News

Bahamas Hosts CICAD’s Narcotrafficking Meeting

Representatives from countries around the world are in New Providence for the two-day Meeting of the Group of Experts on Maritime Narcotrafficking, a meeting conducted by the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD).

For the past four decades CICAD has assisted member states in addressing drug use and abuse in the region.

During the opening ceremony yesterday, speaking on behalf of the Minster of National Security, Permanent Secretary in that ministry Eugene Poitier said the role that the country plays now with the organization reflects the commitment for the work that CICAD has been doing for the past 29 years at the forefront of hemispheric initiatives on drug control.

“Maritime Narcotraffickers, if nothing else, are extremely innovative. They employ methods using vessels that operate underneath the water and on top of the water, with contraband placed inside these vessels and attached to the sides of the vessels,” Mr. Poitier told attendees.

“They have used small go-fast boats and large tankers, private pleasure crafts and commercial vessels, just to name a few methods of transport and are extremely focused and have the resources to carry out their mission.

“What this says about drug control strategies, at the national, regional and hemispheric level, is that these strategies must also be wide-ranging, and they must be balanced. We too, must use our collective talents and resources if we wish to have a chance to remain a step ahead of these organizations.

“This is the approach that The Bahamas continues to take in its decisive action against drug abuse and illicit trafficking.”

Acknowledging that the country has an expansive territory, Mr. Poitier noted that the goal must be to work together with other key partners to see results.

“Our geography, just off the coast of the United States and on the route to illicit markets in North America and Europe and our geographical configuration, some 700 hundred islands spread over more than 100,000 square nautical miles of water, makes The Bahamas, especially vulnerable to illicit trafficking, especially maritime,” Mr. Poitier said.

“As a hemisphere, we have committed ourselves, both singularly as sovereign nations and collectively as members of CICAD, to a continuation of our struggle against the illicit drug trade and all of the other social ills that are attendant to that trade.

“It is imperative that we continue to work together under the principles of shared responsibility and the acceptance of, and respect for the realities in each member state. Regardless of the strengths and vulnerabilities of our individual nations, we all need each other to solve the problems that confront us.”

Royal Bahamas Defence Force Commodore Tellis Bethel added that The Bahamas fully endorsed the meeting of the groups, particularly as the chair of CICAD, as he said one of the goals of assuming the chairmanship was to bring to the fore some of the more specific maritime narcotrafficking issues impacting the Caribbean Basin as well as those that will reflect the issues of the hemisphere.

“Not to be overlooked, is how important these meetings are to strengthening collaboration,” Commodore Bethel said.

“We assure that the discussions held during this meeting, which offers the opportunity to identify key challenges, confronting the hemisphere and to hear about effective counter measures that will result in workable solutions to improve the effectiveness of our responses to the drug problem in the mutual interest of all states, particularly as it relates to maritime narcotrafficking.”

The two day meeting is being held at the British Colonial Hilton and will include experts from countries a part of the Organization of American States (OAS).

Written by Jones Bahamas

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