Minister s Statement. National Anti-Drug Plan of Trinidad and Tobago

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2 Minister s Statement Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking are worldwide phenomena, which indiscriminately affect the individual, the family and all segments of the community. The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, is located within the hub of the major transshipment routes from the producing countries in South America to the European and North American markets, and accordingly, has not been spared the devastating consequences of this scourge. Indeed, since the 1980s the country has witnessed an unprecedented upsurge in the Senator the Honourable prevalence of illicit drug use; mainly cocaine, marijuana and drugrelated crime and violence, which are associated with illicit Mr. Martin R. Joseph Minister of National Security trafficking. The situation is further exacerbated by the continuing Caribbean epidemic of HIV/AIDS, and other communicable and non-communicable diseases among the population of persons who abuse themselves through the use of both licit and illicit substances. In response to this growing threat, and in keeping with its articulated vision for Trinidad and Tobago to become a developed society on or before 2020, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago has initiated a battery of measures to combat the twin problems of demand and supply. With the technical support of the National Drug Council, in collaboration with the responsible stakeholders, a single document has been drafted, which represents Government s overarching policy to address the issue of drug control both supply and demand. This National Anti-Drug Plan summarizes national policies, defines priorities and allocates responsibilities for drug control efforts. It acts both as a director and a directory of the country s policies and programmes in the fight against drug abuse and illicit trafficking. The need to have a single, unified and strategic response to the drug problem is well highlighted in this Plan. Further, it attempts to create balance between activities that bring about a decrease in the availability of drugs (law enforcement and interdiction) and the demand for drugs (prevention, treatment and rehabilitation). The result is a balanced, comprehensive and multi-disciplinary approach to a complex problem with major psychosocial and economic implications. There is no doubt that substance abuse and illicit trafficking are, and must be perceived as a real threat to the country s sustainable development in all sectors. National Anti-Drug Plan of Trinidad and Tobago

3 The National Drug Council, all participating agencies, and NGOs must be commended for their input and unparalleled support from which this National Anti-Drug Plan has emerged. Martin R. Joseph Minister of National Security National Anti-Drug Plan of Trinidad and Tobago

4 The National Anti-Drug Plan ( ) is an invaluable resource for all stakeholders involved in reducing the harm and impact that legal and illegal drugs have on individuals, families and communities. The strength of the Plan resides in its balanced, integrated and holistic approach to solving the drug problem in Trinidad and Tobago, as both demand and supply reduction issues are covered in great measure. The Honourable Dr. Amery Browne Minister of Social Development As this country strives to achieve Vision 2020, developed country status, it must prevent and manage the devastating consequences of drug use, misuse, abuse and trade. The position of the Caribbean as a major transhipment point of international drug trafficking and the associated trade in illegal firearms which are used to protect drug cargoes make Trinidad and Tobago particularly vulnerable to drug and gun related crime and violence. There is much evidence to demonstrate substantial links between drug use, crime, violence and poverty, unemployment, social marginalization and economic inequality. The fallout includes a wide range of traumas from the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, to the strain on families as they struggle to deal with the loss of loved ones, loss of property and social displacement. Given the ability of drugs, crime and violence to threaten individual safety and affect the social, political and economic life of the nation and its citizens, including our school children, it is critical that these issues be viewed as threats to our country s future and addressed within the context of national development. The Ministry of National Security and the Ministry of Social Development, as primary providers of services that collaboratively seek to develop, healthy communities free from the negative consequences of uncontrolled substance use, substance abuse and the illicit traffic of narcotics, are painfully aware of the disruptions which threaten the well-being of our society. Consequently, this National Anti Drug Plan embraces the involvement of a wide range of local State and non-state enterprises in combating the drug problem. The emphasis placed in the Plan on collaboratively employing drug demand and reduction strategies, while recognising the core functions and strengths of key stakeholders, is worth mentioning and applauding. Additionally, the Plan outlines this country s commitment to regional and international collaboration in areas such as training, reporting and developing best practices in the spheres of abuse prevention, education and law enforcement, all in keeping with the goals of Vision The Ministry of Social Development looks forward to the achievement of the principal objective of the National Anti-Drug Plan, which is a Trinidad and Tobago that is safe from the increasing threats posed by legal and illegal drugs. In this regard the Ministry, particularly through the National Alcohol and Drug National Anti-Drug Plan of Trinidad and Tobago

5 Abuse Prevention Programme (NADAPP), recommits its support in implementing those aspects of the Plan that impact demand and in utilizing the range of resources available to reduce those behaviours and attitudes that impact negatively on the lives of all citizens. National Anti-Drug Plan of Trinidad and Tobago

6 Table of Contents Statement of the Minister of National Security...2 Statement of the Minister of Social Development...4 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY..8 SECTION ONE - OVERVIEW OF THE COUNTRY S DRUG SITUATION Introduction 13 General Characteristics of Trinidad and Tobago...13 Conditions Facilitating the Drug Trade Geo-strategic Location of Trinidad and Tobago 14 Trading and Tourism..15 Topography and Marine Activity...17 Political, Economic and Social Situation...18 Types of Drugs Available in Trinidad and Tobago...20 Nature and Extent of the Drug Problem - Demand Side Data...21 Nature and Extent of the Drug Problem - Supply Side Data...26 SECTION TWO - INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS The Current Drug Control Situation in Trinidad and Tobago The Legislative Framework...30 Institutional Framework...32 Assessment of the National Drug Council s Efforts...38 Strategic Review of the Anti-Drug Initiative...40 SECTION THREE - TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO S DRUG POLICY Core Propositions...45 Policy Statements...47 SECTION FOUR - THE WAY FORWARD Purpose of the National Anti-Drug Plan...49 Goals of the National Plan...49 Main Orientation/Implementation Principles...52 A. INSTITUTIONAL STRENGTHENING...55 B. DEMAND REDUCTION..59 C. RESEARCH...69 D. SUPPLY REDUCTION...72 E. MONITORING AND EVALUATION..78 F. MONITORING AND EVALUATION ACTIVITIES...80 SECTION FIVE - Appendices...81 National Anti-Drug Plan of Trinidad and Tobago

7 List of Tables Page No. Table 1. Cruise Ship Calls and Cruise Passenger Arrivals Table 2. Methods used to Transport Illicit Narcotics for 2006 to Table 3. Cocaine Seizures for 2006 to Table 4. Marijuana Seizures for 2006 to Table 5. Marijuana Eradication Exercises for 2006 to Table 6. Heroin Seizures for 2006 to Table 7. Persons Charged for Illicit Drug Trafficking for 2006 to Table 8. Persons Charged for Illicit Drug Possession for 2006 to List of Figures Figure 1. Pleasure Craft Arrivals for 2005 to Figure 2. Trinidad & Tobago s Anti-Drug Initiative 43 Figure 3. Process Diagram Institutional Strengthening 55 Figure 4. Functional Diagram Demand Reduction 59 Figure 5. Functional Diagram Research 69 Figure 6. Functional Diagram Supply Reduction 72 Figure 7. Process Diagram Monitoring & Evaluation 78 National Anti-Drug Plan of Trinidad and Tobago

8 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY It is widely acknowledged that demand reduction and interdiction strategies are profoundly inter-woven and that the implementation of one, without the other, is largely ineffective. Trinidad and Tobago s National Anti-Drug Plan complements action to restrict the supply of illegal drugs with action to diminish the demand for licit and illicit substances. Illicit drug activity -trafficking and abuse - and its resulting manifestations such as crime, armed violence, money laundering and corruption pose challenges to Trinidad and Tobago s overall development. The Government of Trinidad and Tobago has expressed its commitment to ensuring the safety and security of the citizens of this country and to steering Trinidad and Tobago to the status of a developed nation by the year The implementation of the National Anti-Drug Plan, over the ensuing 5 years, its aim to reduce the harm that illegal drugs have on society (communities, individuals and their families) and to minimize their impact, is therefore a critical component to the achievement of the goals outlined in the Vision 2020 national strategic plan for development and transformation. The National Anti-Drug Plan is the overarching document for drug control in Trinidad and Tobago. Based on the principle of shared responsibility, stakeholder agencies, as active participants in the drafting and development of the document, unreservedly acknowledge the alignment of their individual strategic and operational plans with the broad-based, strategic direction elaborated therein. There is consensus with the overall intent of the Plan and the alignment of that intent with the Government s articulated vision for a society that is safe and secure from crime and violence. The Plan is delivered as a cross-sectoral initiative and while the National Drug Council has ultimate responsibility for monitoring its implementation, Government Ministries with responsibility for National Security, Education, Social Services, Community Development, Sport and Youth Affairs and Planning and Development, the Tobago House of Assembly as well as Non-Governmental Organizations, involved in supply National Anti-Drug Plan of Trinidad and Tobago

9 control, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of the addicted population, Civil Society and the private sector are also key. Based on a logical implementation framework, the Plan identifies the priorities of the Government to keep Trinidad and Tobago safe from the increasing threats posed by legal and illegal drugs. It comprises five sections which collectively provide both an analysis of the complexities of the current situation as well as chart the way forward for future initiatives under the main areas of concentrated focus viz: Institutional Strengthening, Demand Reduction Prevention, Treatment & Rehabilitation, Supply Reduction, Research and Monitoring and Evaluation. Section 1 outlines general characteristics of Trinidad and Tobago and the socioeconomic and political context in which the drug problems occur. While the country s geo-strategic position between South American producer countries and North American and European markets is highlighted as a condition facilitating the illicit drug trade, it is arguably the strongest factor in the State s policy to counteract trafficking in and consumption of illicit drugs and related organized criminal activity. The strength of Trinidad and Tobago s economy, its trading links with regional island states and major industrial countries of the world and its increasing popularity as a tourist destination, all of which legitimately and positively facilitate the country s development are also vulnerable to infiltration by drug trafficking organizations and other criminal groups for illegitimate industry. The overall effect of which is the undermining of political and economic stability and the increasing use of violence and intimidation as an accepted approach to everyday life. A comprehensive analysis of the nature and extent of the drug problem identifies that while Trinidad and Tobago is not a major drug producing country- marijuana is the only illicit drug which is cultivated locally- the spill over effect of the trafficking phenomenon has given rise to a severe drug consumption problem for other drugs which is evidenced by the findings of several recent studies. The heavy use of solvents among the school population is also cause for concern. The combined factors of the easy access to and the appeal of alcohol and tobacco further exacerbate the challenges associated with substance abuse. Manifestations of the impact of the drug consumption National Anti-Drug Plan of Trinidad and Tobago

10 problem include the increases in the homeless and prison population, HIV/AIDS infection especially among the youth and an increase in youth delinquency. With regard to the illicit supply problem, cocaine, marijuana and to a lesser extent heroin are trafficked. Marijuana is identified as the most widely used illegal substance and cultivation occurs in remote forested areas and hillsides throughout the country. Law enforcement personnel have also recorded seizures of heroin within the last 7 years. Section 2 Institutional Arrangements - examines the domestic legislative framework to combat drug possession and use, drug trafficking organized crime and acknowledges the existing institutional framework, comprising enforcement agencies/units, which is supportive of that framework. Trinidad and Tobago s efforts, at the national level, to reduce both the availability and abuse of illicit drugs, as well as their attendant adverse consequences, are well supported by an extensive framework of international conventions and activities which confront illegal drug cultivation, production, trafficking, abuse, diversion of precursor chemicals, money laundering, corruption and firearms trafficking. Section 2 also highlights the existing institutional framework for the anti-drug initiative and delineates the roles and responsibilities of primary and secondary agencies. With regard to institutional arrangements, two significant capacity building initiatives are notable. The first focuses on a review of the organizational structure of the National Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Programme Secretariat with the aim of increasing its capacity to develop, co-ordinate, facilitate, implement and evaluate national efforts to reduce demand for licit and illicit drugs. The second proposes the development and implementation of anti-drug programme, specific to Tobago in which the Tobago House of Assembly takes the leadership role, while maintaining contact with relevant agencies in Trinidad. Section 3 Trinidad and Tobago s Anti-Drug Policy - outlines proposals for a National Anti- Drug Policy developed around the following core issues of: addressing the immediate, medium and long-term concerns regarding drugs; the recognition that the drug problem is a developmental and public health threat which has economic and National Anti-Drug Plan of Trinidad and Tobago

11 social implications; policy review to be guided by public education, scientific research; respecting norms, rights and cultural attitudes; committing Trinidad and Tobago to international cooperative efforts. Section 4 Purpose of the National Anti-Drug Plan Outlines the Plan s main goals and delineates the priorities for implementation which are incorporated under the five main areas of concentrated focus, while ensuring alignment to the goals of regional, hemispheric and international plans and strategies. Institutional Strengthening Development and maintenance of institutional arrangements to effectively manage and coordinate the implementation and evaluation of the National Anti-Drug initiative and the strategies outlined in the National Anti- Drug Plan. Demand Reduction Prevention, Treatment & Rehabilitation To ensure an organizational structure that will allow for collaboration to formulate and guide programming in the areas of School, Community and Workplace Prevention; Treatment and Rehabilitation; Harm Reduction and Research and Impact Analysis. Research Ensure the availability of timely and accurate data that will facilitate evidence based decision making. Supply Reduction Facilitation of improved law enforcement to ensure efficient interdiction and reduction of the supply of illegal drugs, while providing intervention in the areas of crime reduction; money laundering and pre-cursor control. Monitoring and Evaluation Development of an institutional framework to direct and provide general coordination for the implementation and evaluation of the activities outlined in the Plan. National Anti-Drug Plan of Trinidad and Tobago

12 Conclusion Illicit drugs affect every level of society. Problems associated with substance abuse, production of illicit drugs and drug trafficking cause harm to individuals, families and communities and are reflected in very serious problems such as the disintegration of the family institution, the decline of community life, poor performance at school and the emergence of violence and intimidation as an accepted approach to life. Coordinated and committed action at national level is needed to reduce the demand, supply and trafficking of illicit drugs and their associated risks. The National Anti-Drug Plan is an expression of that will as it mobilizes the combined energies of the community, health, education, supply control, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation sectors, non-governmental organizations and civil society in advancing irreversibly toward this shared goal. To do otherwise, would simply result in the continued erosion of the moral fabric of society. National Anti-Drug Plan of Trinidad and Tobago

13 SECTION ONE OVERVIEW OF THE COUNTRY S DRUG SITUATION Introduction General Characteristics of Trinidad and Tobago Trinidad and Tobago are the southernmost islands of the Caribbean archipelago, and are geologically an extension of the South American continent as Trinidad is separated from Venezuela by the seven mile (11km) straits of the Gulf of Paria. Trinidad and Tobago comprises 1,980 square miles (5128km 2 ) and enjoys a tropical climate with average maximum temperatures of 32 C, (89 F). There is a dry season from January to May and a wet season from June to December. Annual rainfall is approximately 200 cm (40 inches) over most of the country. Trinidad and Tobago is located just south of the hurricane belt. The country has the most diversified and industrialized economy in the Englishspeaking Caribbean. There are large reserves of petroleum and natural gas, and welldeveloped heavy industries - iron and steel, methanol and nitrogenous fertilizers, and petroleum products. Air, sea and land transportation links are excellent, and telecommunications links with the Americas and Europe are completely modern. After a period of radical economic adjustment under IMF and World Bank supervision, the government s economic policy is well in line with prevailing market principles: trade liberalization, an open market-driven economy, rationalization of the public sector, promotion of private enterprise and foreign investment, and development of exports and tourism. National Anti-Drug Plan of Trinidad and Tobago

14 Conditions Facilitating the Drug Trade Geo-strategic Location of Trinidad and Tobago The strategic position of Trinidad and Tobago between the main drug producing areas of South America and the large consumer markets in the Northern Caribbean, North America, Europe and West Africa means that the islands are vulnerable to drug trafficking. That geo-strategic location is one of the factors in determining the State s policy in the field of counteraction against illegal trafficking of drugs; as well as other manifestations of trans-national organized crime such as, money laundering, firearms trafficking, precursor chemical diversion, human trafficking and corruption. Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean region continue to be exploited for the illegal trafficking/trans-shipment of the harmful drugs cocaine, and more recently, South American produced heroin. Drug trafficking is one of the most lucrative activities conducted by organized crime groups from which economic crimes and money laundering flow naturally. Not only is Trinidad and Tobago affected by the transit of illegal drugs, but has now become the final destination for a range of drugs. Therefore, the trafficking and distribution are now serious challenges for society, especially for young people, and are having enormous adverse effects on the social, political, economic and cultural spheres of our lives. Trinidad and Tobago recognizes the serious threat of drug trafficking within and throughout the country. Domestic and organized criminal groups, many of which are involved in the illegal trade of firearms as well, are continuously exploring possible ways to use the country for transit of or as a market for illegal drugs. Trinidad and Tobago, like its Caribbean neighbors, may very well be looking at the reality of the situation as expressed in the finding of the West India Commission: Nothing poses a greater threat to civil society in CARICOM countries than the drug problem; and nothing exemplifies the powerlessness of regional government more. This is the magnitude of the danger drug abuse and drug trafficking hold for our community. It is a many-layered danger. At base is the human destruction implicit in drug addiction; but implicit also is the corruption of individuals and systems by the sheer enormity of the inducement of the illegal drug trade in poor countries. (West India Commission, 1992.) National Anti-Drug Plan of Trinidad and Tobago

15 Trading Links to North and South America and Europe Given the fact that the trafficking of illegal drugs takes place alongside legitimate commerce, it is not surprising therefore, that Trinidad and Tobago, like the rest of the Caribbean is a trans-shipment point for illegal drugs to North America and Europe. The Region has well established communication and trading links that were developed over centuries of trade. The outcome of this trading relationship is that air and sea routes between and among these nations are well recognized. There are daily flights/sailings to and from these destinations, which aid the critical transportation element within the distribution system. Moreover, payment systems are sufficiently integrated to facilitate the transmission of funds to and from where they are required. Further, many persons of Caribbean origin now live in all the major North American and European capitals and this population therefore represents the opportunity for major market penetration based along cultural/ethnic lines. Tourism Generally, the Caribbean is an extremely popular tourism destination, favoured by many world travelers as an important location for stay-over holiday or for cruising. With regard to Trinidad and Tobago, Tobago is the island of choice for tourists. Each tourist who alights from an aircraft or a ship has the potential to increase the opportunities for the sale or trans-shipment of illegal drugs - many engage in both. The increasing presence of yachts and pleasure crafts as vacationing media has greatly enhanced the potential for drug smuggling in and out of Trinidad and Tobago waters. Table 1 provides a breakdown of cruise ship calls and passenger arrivals for the period Figure 1 records pleasure craft arrivals for the period National Anti-Drug Plan of Trinidad and Tobago

16 Table 1. Cruise Ship Calls and Cruise Passenger Arrivals Cruise Ship Calls Cruise 84,113 75,111 35,206 Passengers Data Source: Port Authority of Trinidad and Tobago Source: Tourism Development Company Limited Figure 1. Pleasure Craft Arrivals Source: Yacht Services Association of Trinidad and Tobago National Anti-Drug Plan of Trinidad and Tobago

17 Topography The dense forests in Trinidad and Tobago can and do provide coverage to illegal cultivation of marijuana. Additionally, the large expanse of indented coastline, combined with human capital and technical resource constraints, creates a scenario in which miles of coastline are poorly patrolled and therefore provides relatively easy points of entry to the country. Marine Activity The large volume of pleasure and fishing crafts that traverse the waters around Trinidad and Tobago presents numerous opportunities for drug trafficking between Trinidad and Tobago and South American producer countries, and North American and European markets. Within the period December 2004 to January 2005, law enforcement authorities seized 10 kgs of heroin, in two separate exercises, from passengers disembarking a privately owned ferry operating between Trinidad and Venezuela. National Anti-Drug Plan of Trinidad and Tobago

18 Political, Economic and Social Situation - (Effects of the drug problem in Trinidad and Tobago) Potential Political Impact Drug trafficking organizations, with enormous resources at their disposal, have a nearly open-ended capacity to infiltrate, subvert or eliminate institutions and people who stand in their way, and consequently undermine the political and economic stability of Trinidad and Tobago. The potential for them to create a parallel State outside any rule of law or central government control ultimately results in the need to divert scarce national resources and to expend millions of dollars for law enforcement activities towards mitigating the negative impacts of the trade. The sum total of these effects can be a breakdown in law and order domestically, and damage to the reputation of the country internationally. This in turn creates fertile ground for a new cycle of negative consequences including expansion of the drug trade, the use of violence and intimidation to conduct business, civil strife, gang-related activities and terrorist acts. Economic Impact The drug trade impacts the economy of Trinidad and Tobago in the same way it affects other countries of the world, that is, primarily through the creation of a parallel economy, which remains outside the control of policy makers. Other activities such as money-laundering and terrorist financing affect the national reputation and serve to negate the country s potential/capacity to attract international funding agencies and foreign investors. Further, this illicit trade hampers the productive human capacity of the country as it is presented as a viable income-generating activity for individuals who either abandon the search for legal employment and engage in illicit trafficking activities, or become unemployable due to their drug use. Drug traffickers, by virtue of their access to large sums of money, engage in conspicuous consumption patterns that drive demand, create inflationary pressures and erode the productive capacity of the nation as individuals gravitate towards the trade in search of 'easy money'. The business community itself suffers from a loss in productivity, disadvantages in the market place as a result of unfair competition and ultimately, reduced competitiveness in the domestic and international markets. Socio-cultural Impact National Anti-Drug Plan of Trinidad and Tobago

19 Trinidad and Tobago has a unique socio-cultural heritage that is a source of pride to its citizens. Despite this asset, vulnerabilities in its social fabric negatively impact its stability. These include high rates of serious crime, communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS and poverty. Drug use has been an unwelcome feature of the cultural make up of the society as a result of alcohol consumption and marijuana use. However, key informants in the anti-drug initiative suggest that the drug trade has created a new and dreadful dimension to the socio-cultural make-up of the society, by increasing the occurrence of crimes such as shootings, murders, kidnappings, bribery and extortion, since in many instances these have their genesis in drug-related activities. Paradoxically, unemployment and poverty can be both sources and consequences of involvement in the drug trade, particularly for substance abusers. In this regard, the physical and mental health of the entire population is put at risk, as affected communities are isolated and stigmatized. Residents of these and neighbouring areas live in constant fear of attack and the entire community could become submerged in a mire of lawlessness at all levels. National Anti-Drug Plan of Trinidad and Tobago

20 Types of Illicit Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Available in Trinidad and Tobago Local Production Marijuana is the only drug produced naturally in Trinidad and Tobago, both for domestic consumption and export. Local production, which occurs mainly in forested areas and on hillsides throughout Trinidad and Tobago, is supplemented by imports from other Caribbean countries and Columbia. Manual eradication of marijuana plantations is conducted in Trinidad and Tobago and this involves aerial surveillance, manual cutting and burning. In 2006, it was estimated that 16.5 hectares of land were utilized for illicit cultivation. Local agencies have not detected laboratories that manufacture cocaine, heroin or synthetic drugs, and it is therefore surmised that all other illegal drugs consumed locally are imported. Varying quantities of cocaine, heroin and amphetamine-type stimulants are imported and/or trans-shipped through the Region. In terms of export, all the illegal drugs, apart from marijuana exported from Trinidad and Tobago, are either transited or trans-shipped. It is estimated that approximately 700 kilos of heroin circulate throughout the Region annually and varying quantities have been seized in Trinidad and Tobago in transit to North America and Europe. Cocaine is also primarily transshipped through Trinidad and Tobago on its way to North America and Europe. National Anti-Drug Plan of Trinidad and Tobago

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