SECURITY CHat: Robert Kennedy, left, country attache, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in Port of Spain, Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams and Emily Walter, FBI SOUTHCOM, chat yesterday during the 29th annual general meeting of the Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police at Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain. —Photo: ISHMAEL SALANDY

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...‘Expect drug problem to get worse’

By Camille Bethel

 Expect the illicit drug problem to get worse before it gets better, said William Brownfield, United States Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

Speaking yesterday at the Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police 29th annual general meeting at Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain, Brownfield said the current drug trafficking trend-line is up and the amount of drugs passing though the Caribbean has quadrupled in the last year.

“This is not something that we should take lightly. The drug crisis did not start yesterday. Homicide and violent crime is not an invention of the 20th century. It has taken generations to get to where we are and it is going to take generations to eventually solve the problem definitively. The problem is likely to get worse before it gets better.”

 Brownfield, whose topic was “Enhancing security in the Caribbean”, said the problem has to be addressed strategically, looking at the past and present to change the future, which includes seeking out new partners and strengthening and adjusting the current partners.

 “We have to address each element, each length of the chain. We must be creative...we all deal with budget realities. I project my budget is on a downward line path, at least for the next several years. I am not going to have the tremendous amount of resources made available to me so I want to see how we can use other opportunities that are out there.”

He admitted that the United States had dropped the ball with regard to giving information on deportees to the region, but explained why, adding that they need to find a way to give the countries in the region as much data on deportees as possible to assist in the crime-fighting efforts against transnational organised crime. 

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