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That’s according to a United States Department of State report, which has named Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines as the countries with that problem.
The US government said that these islands host abundant transshipment points for illicit narcotics, primarily from Colombia and Venezuela destined for North American, European and domestic Caribbean markets.
The 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report indicated that national strategic law enforcement plans, including comprehensive vetting programmes, remain largely unaddressed, creating a serious vulnerability to narcotics corruption.
“Local and international law enforcement believe traffickers increasingly make use of yachts for drug transit, though “go-fast” boats, fishing trawlers, and cargo ships continue to be used. Drug transshipment through the Eastern Caribbean increased in 2013,” the report stated.
It added that many of the homicides in those countries were as a result of turf wars between organized criminal groups fighting to control drug distribution. While the U.S has considered that regional political leaders have made a step in the right direction to approve a comprehensive strategic law enforcement plan with support from CARICOM, “political leaders, however, have largely failed to address public concerns of official corruption.”
“No senior government officials in the Eastern Caribbean were prosecuted for engaging in or facilitating the illicit production or distribution of controlled drugs or laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. Nonetheless, U.S. analysts believe drug trafficking organisations elude law enforcement through bribery, influence, or coercion,” the State Department report noted.
The U.S. has suggested that the seven Caribbean countries use Jamaica’s approach of instituting new laws and policies as an example to build robust anti-corruption programmes in their countries.
There is also a need to modernise criminal codes to make use of regional best practices in fighting transnational organised crimes, the U.S recommended, adding that St. Lucia and Dominica should be commended for progress to this end.