ST JOHN’S, Antigua – The local fishing community has being urged to unite in the face of threats brought about by drug dealers who make their fortune plying the waters of Antigua & Barbuda.
Fisheries Minister Hilson Baptiste made the call when he addressed fisher folk at the recent opening of the Marine Fuel Station at Point Wharf Fisheries Complex.
“We need to make sure our coastline is protected and safe. The coast guard alone can not do it,” Baptiste said.
The minister did address directly, the growing problem of the drug trafficking in Antigua & Barbuda’s territorial waters.
He told fishermen “our coastline is being used for the drug trade,” adding that fisher folk have complained to the authorities about that problem.
Baptiste said “to keep it safe it needs the police, defense force, and the fisher folk whose lives are threatened out there to manage the coastline.”
The Ministry of National Security confirmed over the weekend that the drug war in Latin America has led to an increase of drug trafficking to this twin-island nation.
The minister also addressed the threat posed by foreign fishers to the local industry. It’s an issue the Fishermen’s Co-operative has publicly voiced their concern over.
They’ve reported that fishermen mainly from the French islands pose a threat to their lives and livelihood.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)