Gonsalves: Coke trade a big problem
Cocaine from Latin America is posing a “real challenge” to Caribbean countries such as Barbados and St Vincent, even as these countries make progress in controlling the marijuana trade.
Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, of St Vincent and the Grenadines, cited the problem as he spoke with the Midweek Nation at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill campus on Monday night.
The Prime Minister had earlier touched on the subject of illegal drugs in his country when he addressed students in the Henry Fraser Lecture Theatre on Challenges Faced By Caribbean Nations In Achieving Developed Nation Status.
Gonsalves told the packed room he had resorted to going after financial accounts of people in St Vincent suspected to be involved in the illegal drug business, as a means of crippling the trade.
In an interview after, Gonsalves stated: “The way to deal with them is the way?I deal with them in St Vincent. I go for them individually . . . . I go for their money.”
However, he was concerned that the real challenge “is not so much marijuana but the cocaine from Latin American”.
Drugs coming in
“It is not a situation where it is only that ganja is coming from St Vincent to Barbados. It is the drugs coming through Colombia, Venezuela, Trinidad, Barbados, to St Vincent, sometimes coming through Barbados first, going up the road.”
Gonsalves said through heightened co-operation between the region’s security forces which worked bilaterally through the Regional Security System (RSS), there had been the exchange of information on “who the bad guys and girls are”.
He said such intelligence had been responsible for the apprehension of several people here and in St Vincent engaged in the illegal drug trade.
Gonsalves said there had been “tremendous improvement” in the reduction of marijuana cultivation in St Vincent, though his life had at times been threatened.