Former Justice and Police Minister of Suriname Senator Chandrikapersad Santokhi who now chairs the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) says that during his one year tenure, he plans to tighten the relations between Caricom and South American countries in order to fight drug trafficking.
Suriname recently hosted the 49th regular session of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD 49) at the Royal Torarica Hotel in Paramaribo, the Caricom Secretariat at Turkeyen said in a press release.
In an interview with the Caricom Secretariat prior to the conference, Santokhi expressed confidence that the plan of action which was distilled from the new Hemispheric Drug Strategy would be approved by the membership of CICAD and would be taken to the governments and parliaments of member states for ratification.
During his one year tenure he plans as a priority to strengthen relations between CICAD and Caraicom and to tighten the relations between Caricom and South American countries in order to fight drug trafficking.
Caricom and CICAD have collaborated on several initiatives to reduce the demand for drugs within the Caribbean region, the release noted.
Some of the most recent initiatives include strengthening national drug abuse councils and providing them with appropriate tools to build capacities in reducing the demand for illicit drugs; the establishment of drug treatment courts as a more cost-effective alternative to incarceration of drug abuse offenders, and capacity building for sustainable development through training and education, which includes integrating drug issues into the curricular offerings of Caribbean university programmes.
Santokhi is confident that this continued collaborative relationship will put a serious dent in drug trafficking through the Caribbean, the release noted.
Suriname is the second Caricom country to have chaired the commission since its inception in 1986, with Trinidad and Tobago being the first, ten years ago.
Santokhi welcomed more than fifty high level delegates from across the Americas to his native country from May 4-6 to discuss and approve among other things, the Hemispheric Plan of Action to deal with the scourge of drugs and drug-related crimes in the Western Hemisphere.
The conference in Suriname also discussed the “smokeable cocaine” phenomenon in the Southern Cone, and drug consumption among adolescents in conflict with the law, and shared knowledge on local drug enforcement strategies.
Santokhi who was elected to the chair of CICAD last December is tasked with the responsibility to coordinate, monitor and implement the new Hemispheric Drug Strategy which focuses on using a multidimensional approach to drug abuse control.
He brings to the leadership of CICAD more than 15 years of experience serving in that organization, as well as his track record of experience first as Police Commissioner and then as Minister of Justice in Suriname.