National Security Minister Jack Warner yesterday said he planned to take a special initiative for Cabinet approval that will allow US forces to patrol the country's maritime borders.
Warner made the statement following a closed-door meeting with United States Ambassador Beatrice Wilkinson-Welters yesterday at the Ministry of National Security, Temple Court on Abercromby Street, Port of Spain.
It was the first meeting between the two since Warner assumed the National Security post on June 25.
Warner said he wanted to take the Customs Patrol Assistance Programme to Cabinet "in the morning" in order to help crack down on the drug trade.
"Our borders are porous and all the drugs and arms come through our borders and we need help...and if we cannot help ourselves and the Americans could help us, I have no problem with that," he said.
He said the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) was high on both his and the Ambassador's agenda.
"Some of the outstanding issues have been resolved, some will be resolved in the next week or so," Warner said.
"I asked them specifically if a request is made of them for the Americans to assist us in patrolling our borders where the drugs and the guns come in and they were quite happy to do so," he said.
"That is a critical area. If you have no drugs and you have no guns then you are tapping crime at the source and that is where you have to go," he said.
"The Americans in 2010 gave us US$420,000 to help with different programmes. In 2011 they have approved for us US$1.2 million which we have not yet accessed," he said.
Warner also attempted to establish a partial refund for unsuccessful visa applicants, but said he was unsuccessful.
"I am advised that 80 per cent of people who apply for visas are successful. Those who have not been successful are free to come again for a second opinion and the fee for the visas is a processing fee," he said.
"While that has not satisfied me quite well, it was reasonable and I would have to live with that," he said.
Wilkinson-Welters said in a brief interview, they also discussed the issues of disaster preparedness, Customs and Excise, Federal Air Marshals and police training.