(Trinidad Guardian) Former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe, who is in T&T attending the 2013 Energy Conference, warned yesterday T&T’s high crime rate could affect investments and the economy. “If criminality continues, if criminality grows and there is no political determination to stop criminality at any moment, it will make a dent on investment. It is impossible to sustain economic growth in the long term,” he said during a press conference at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain.
Uribe, who served as Colombia’s president from 2002-2010, is best known for his administration’s crackdown on narcotics trafficking, including arresting and extraditing more drug traffickers to the United States and to other countries than any previous government.
Commenting on steps taken in Colombia to combat crime, he said his country was transparent in the way it conducted its businesses and had improved its national security. “I cannot speak about specifics but I can say my country is very competitive and does things in a transparent way. Colombia has 16,000 km of navigable rivers. When I became President of Colombia, we only supervised 3,000 km of rivers. Now the government supervises over 15,000 km of navigable rivers,” he said.
He also boasted about the close partnership between Colombia and the US, saying Colombia has received aid from the US which also helped in its fight against the leftist guerillas who have been accused of drug trafficking. “Now many countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have certified that Colombia is doing well. There is a worldwide acknowledgement that Colombia has improved a lot,” Uribe added.
He said T&T’s strong economy was an example for Colombia and other countries. “Many countries have accepted T&T as an example of an investment hub and a country that has improved its social cohesion,” he added.