St. John’s Antigua- Minister of National Security Dr Errol Cort confirmed that the drug war in Latin America has led to an increase of drug trafficking to Antigua & Barbuda.
“It is a fact, based on the intelligence that we received, that drug traffickers have started in a more heightened manner to move drugs from Latin American countries through the southern Caribbean up into the northern Caribbean, Antigua included, then branching out from there to northern America. The US /Canada, on one hand, and to the UK/Europe on the other hand,” Dr Cort said in an interview with OBSERVER Media.
According to the Director of the Drug Policy Alliance, Ethan Nadelmann, this may be just the beginning of the shift in drug trafficking to the Caribbean. The Drug Policy Alliance is a leading organization seeking drug policy reform in the United States.
“There is an intensified commitment to a law enforcement approach in Central America…As you see the pressure build up in that part of the world, as you see US national security resources devoted and focused in that part of the world, inevitably we know that the market will move elsewhere and the most likely place would be the Caribbean,” said Nadelmann.
With the assistance of the United States, Latin American countries have begun strengthening their internal security and are executing extensive raid and surveillances that have made it difficult for traffickers to operate. The traffickers use both the Caribbean and Latin America as a gateway to the United States, Canada and Europe.
“The drug traffickers are finding other routes to get their drugs into these major markets of the world and that is why we have to be so concerned especially in the north eastern Caribbean such as Antigua, St Kitts and the like, vis-a-vis, the exposure of our borders. We need in this part of the world to beef up our maritime capabilities,” noted Dr Cort.
The minister says that discussion should be held on a regional level, as well as, engaging the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom to lobby for assistance in dealing with the escalating situation. He added that intelligence gathering on island over the last few months has also counteracted some of the effects of the increased trafficking.