IF the United States is serious about combating illicit drugs and guns in the Caribbean region, and Trinidad and Tobago in particular, there are three specific steps it can take to address the situation rather than just "criticise and pontificate", said Rodney Charles, T&T's Ambassador to the United Nations (UN).
Charles made the statements yesterday in response to the United States Department of State's recently-released 2013 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR).
The report stated in its conclusion for this country's review that "the entities and individuals working to combat narcotics in Trinidad and Tobago face considerable challenges and insufficient support from political leadership".
"In my view, there are three compelling reasons for which Trinidad and Tobago can equally claim insufficient support from the US State Department in our fight against our drug problem," Charles stated in a release.
The release was entitled "Insufficient support from the US on drugs".
Charles stated that this country has been at the "forefront in the fight at the UN to negotiate a robust international arms treaty which will regulate the flows of arms and ammunition across international borders".
"Tracing mechanisms in the global treaty will allow us to track the flow of illegal guns which end up in our country as a consequence of the drug trade. It will help us as a consequence track the flow of drugs and help us catch the big fish. Eliminate the guns and the drug trade will be affected."
However, Charles said the US has "waged a sustained, and so far successful, battle at the UN against a robust arms trade treaty".
"The US State Department, if it is serious about dealing with drugs, can instruct its negotiators to help the region and the world develop a well-constructed arms trade treaty. Negotiations are taking place at the UN as we speak and it is not too late for the US State Department to take action, however late, on this matter," said Charles.
Apart from this, Charles also called on the US to effectively reduce its demand for drugs.
The 2013 INCSR described Trinidad and Tobago as having "porous borders" with direct transportation routes to the United States, Canada, Europe and West Africa, making it an "ideal location for cocaine and marijuana transshipment".
"The US can also help T&T by reducing the demand for drugs in the US which fuels the significant drug trade which affects the entire region," Charles stated.
"We have the misfortune to be located between the producers and consumers of drugs. And the entire region from Mexico to Suriname is paying a huge price for a trade over which we have no control. If the US takes the necessary steps to reduce domestic demand, the entire region will not be speaking of a drug trade at all."
Charles said the third way in which the US can help in the battle against drugs is by not exporting its criminal problem by means of its deportation policy.
"The third way in which the US can assist us in our battle against the drug trade is to stop their policy of exporting their criminal/drug problem to the region by their deportation policies," said Charles.
"There are instances where persons who left the region as babes are deported to the region after committing crime. They grew up in the US, they acquired criminal habits there and they are deposited on our shores. Unable to survive whether in Mexico, in Honduras, in T&T and indeed in the entire Caribbean, they oftimes end up in the drug trade.
"Criminals with essentially PhDs in crime from the sole world superpower are exported to us and we are told to do the best we could with them.
"I am not knocking the US, they are our friends, many of our citizens live there, they are our largest trading partner, they are in many ways an admirable democracy, but while the US State Department can criticise our efforts on the drug trade and pontificate, they must not be unmindful of the fact that there are three very important ways in which they can, if they are serious, help put a significant dent in, if not end, our drug challenge," Charles stated.