TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO has made a formal bid to host the secretariat for the Arms Trade Treaty here given its geographic location which has made the country vulnerable to the trafficking of arms and ammunition.
Upon her return from Havana, Cuba, after attending the third Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said yesterday despite the country not manufacturing guns and cocaine, it had become a transhipment point for the illegal trade.
“What we put forward in Havana is to make a bid to host the secretariat for the Arms Trade Treaty and the rationale for why we feel Trinidad and Tobago will be an ideal location for the secretariat for the arms trade treaty is our geographic location has made us very vulnerable to the trafficking of small arms and light weapons. (See Page 19)
“As I said in Cuba, we do not manufacture guns or ammunition, we do not manufacture cocaine and other hard drugs, yet we are a transhipment point and of course guns are creating havoc and great sadness in our own country here,” said Persad-Bissessar.
She made the statement at the Diplomatic Lounge of the Piarco International Airport following her return yesterday afternoon.
Persad-Bissessar said another declaration was drafted during the summit which was aimed at controlling the drug trade within the region.
This trade, she said, was a major challenge to Trinidad and Tobago and other Caribbean islands and Latin American states.
“As such we have found it necessary to find policies to deal with this illegal activity so they not only include measures for the prevention and detection of the drug trade but also to deal with treatment and rehabilitation of persons suffering from addiction of drugs,” she said.
On December 20, cocaine with an estimated street value of $644 million was found concealed in cans bearing the labels of Trinidad Orange and Grapefruit juices at the Port of Norfolk in Virginia, United States. It was later revealed that the 20-foot container in which the drugs were found had originated from this country.