The US government is committed to continuing to partner with Trinidad and Tobago to address the spiralling crime rate and drug trafficking.
This was stated yesterday by Charge d'Affaires at the United States Embassy in Port of Spain, Thomas Smitham, at a graduation ceremony for over 70 police officers who participated in a training programme facilitated by the Embassy in collaboration with the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service. The ceremony was held at the Police Training Academy, St James, Port of Spain. The officers were trained in basic criminal investigations and interrogation techniques.
Thomas said in dealing with criminal activity in the US, their authorities recognised that changing the behaviours of individuals, institutions and communities was never fast, rarely easy, but essential.
"I have been here only a few months but I think I am beginning to understand how concerned the public is about serious crime," Smitham said.
"I am not here to gloss over the challenges you face, but I have also seen how committed many people are at addressing this problem.
"I think we all acknowledge that crime rates are too high in our societies. The causes of crime are complex. The solutions to fighting crime are complex. There is no magic pill to cure a crime epidemic, but with the right treatment, all communities can recover," he said.
Smitham said meaningful reforms take time and require comprehensive, long-term commitment to address the entire range of issues.
"When communities pull together, everyone's quality of life begins to improve. Politicians, police officers, prosecutors, prisons officials and persons from all walks of life must gather together, listen to one another and develop action plans to address this common problem.
"Resolving the crime problem in Trinidad and Tobago rests on the shoulders of many institutions here and the US Government is here to help lay the long-term foundations to the solutions."
Smitham said the US Government provides assessments and constructive engagement in support of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) to advance public safety and security, reduce illicit trafficking and promote social justice in Trinidad and Tobago and in the region.
"The US government is working with the Judiciary of Trinidad and Tobago and the National Drug Council to support the development of Juvenile Justice Courts and Drug-Treatment Courts aimed at addressing the special needs of vulnerable groups to reduce recidivism (and) stopping future crime before it starts," he said.