EU worried over crime, drug trafficking in T&T

-working on catching ‘big fish’

(Trinidad Guardian) The European Union Delegation in T&T is concerned about the country’s crime situation and traces it to the illegal trafficking of drugs. That was stated by German ambassador Stefan Schlueter, who is holding the EU presidency in T&T. “Criminals act out of a sense of impunity because the crime detection rate in T&T is very low,” the ambassador said at a media conference by the EU delegation at its Queen’s Park West, Port-of-Spain, office last Friday.

The delegation called the conference to announce its celebration on Human Rights Day of the award of the Nobel Peace Prize 2012 to the European Union (EU).

Daniela Tramacere, Charge d’Affaires of T&T’s EU Delegation said the prize was awarded to the EU in recognition of its work on reconciliation, democracy, promotion of human rights and in enlarging the area of peace and stability among European countries and around the world. Asked about EU activities in T&T, Tramacere said it was already working with Caricom’s Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS). “We are supporting efforts at the regional level,” she added  She said the figures were more or less clear concerning crime in T&T and the Caribbean and referred to the Caricom draft of a regional crime strategy.

Tramacere said according to analyses done by the UN Development Programme, crime was on the increase in the region and the eastern Caribbean continues to be a trans-shipment point for illegal drugs coming from South America. The illegal trafficking of drugs resulted in an increase in human trafficking and small arms, leading to more gang warfare, Tramacere added.

The EU is also thinking of supporting the Ministry of National Security’s Citizens Security Programme, which worked with people in at-risk crime communities, she said. The EU in T&T was also assisting in police service and judicial reform and the prevention of money laundering, Schlueter said. He said it was working on getting the “Mr Bigs” in the drugs trade but one of the challenges in going after the big fishes was an inadequate witness protection programme.

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