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(PRESS RELEASE VIA SNO) – A high-level Venezuelan delegation visited the island on Thursday, August 16, 2018 for National Security talks with the Prime Minister Honourable Allen Chastanet and National Security Minister Senator the Honourable Hermangild Francis.
The meetings were deemed to be very fruitful and have paved the way for further collaboration between Saint Lucia and Venezuela as both states will work closely to tackle the issues of the drug trade linked to the impact of other crimes such as the possession of illegal guns that plague both the Eastern Caribbean islands and the South America state.
Head of the visiting delegation and Vice Minister for Prevention and Citizen Security General Endes Jose Palencia Ortiz noted that both Saint Lucia and Venezuela are victims of the drug trade.
The official explained that Venezuela is plagued with similar issues because it is used as a bridge between Colombia, which is the biggest producer of illegal drugs sharing over 2,200 Km of border with Venezuela, and the United States, as the largest consumer of illegal drugs. Therefore, the Venezuelan Government understands how demanding the fight against drugs can be and for this there are public policies which have allowed for an increase in yearly drug seizures.
“Prevention must be considered. Strengthening of intelligence, co-operation and mechanisms for making security integral to the region,” he noted assuring that Venezuela will consider every proposal and recommendation that has been put on the table.
Meantime, National Security Minister Hermangild Francis is pleased with the direction that Saint Lucia and Venezuela relations is taking and has pointed out the signing of an Extradition Treaty and a Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries as key next-steps carded for the near future.