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Jun 6, 2013

Drug trafficking in the Americas discussed at O.A.S. General Assembly

As we told you earlier, the O.A.S. General Assembly closes tonight at the historic Antigua, Guatemala. For two days delegations have been discussing the need to urgently address the drug problem in the region.  Belize’s Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington was among the last to make a contribution to the debate. He likened the drug problem in the Americas to the problem of global warming saying that the culprits are the large rich developed countries. Elrington also told the assembly that those who feel the impact are mostly small and poor developing countries. His recommendation to address the problem is by using global warming as a guide. News Five’s Marleni Cuellar has been covering the event.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The regional issues of narco-trafficking and drug use within the thirty-five member-countries of the Organization of American States have been key topics of discussion at the O.A.S. General Assembly.  The forty-third annual gathering concluded today in Antigua where Belize’s foreign minister Wilfred Elrington made presentations on various issues, including the abovementioned concerns.


Wilfred Elrington

Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“This mandate which was sparked by the preoccupation of the president of our host country, President Oscar Perez-Molina, with the escalating drug problem in our hemisphere.  I have read the papers generated in response to this mandate.  I think that the analysis of the results of the current hemispheric drug problem, drug policy is clear, comprehensive accurate and compelling.”


Having digested the results of a recent study conducted on trafficking and consumption, Elrington’s says he is not persuaded by what he read.  The problem, he says, is that the report does not reflect the overwhelming demand for drugs in North America and Europe.


Wilfred Elrington

“The empirical data which informed the papers leave no doubt that the biggest impact which the drug problem has in our hemisphere result direct from the passage or transit of the drugs through our region, en route to their final destinations which are principally North America and Europe.  In these two destinations the demand for illicit drugs is seemingly insatiable and unstoppable as the wealth which the two destinations derive from the distribution and sale of the drugs seem irresistible even while they appear to be mind boggling.”


Minister Elrington was the penultimate presenter on the issue plenary today.


Wilfred Elrington

“I have read the report and I have seen the scenarios and we have discussed them briefly and I am not convinced that we are on the right track and I said as much in a meeting because the record shows really that seventy-seven percent of the consumption of the drugs takes place between the United States and the European Union.  Fatality from the use of drugs, cocaine and marijuana, in our region is really nominal, perhaps less than two percent, three percent.  It’s very minimal.  The problem that is affecting us is the violence associated with the transshipment of the drugs but that is nothing that we can stop because demand in Europe and the United States is so great that no matter what we do we will not be able to stop people who are bent on earning fast money and very good money from the trade.  And it is not only the guys on the street but the bankers, the businesspeople in high places are all involved in trade because it is so lucrative and so, unless in my view there’s a demand reduction, I don’t think we are going to make a dent in it based on the policies which I’ve seen advocated here at this meeting.”


O.A.S. Secretary General, Jose Miguel Insulza, educed that the report on the Drug Problem in America resulted from a directive given by the Heads of State and Government of the region at the Sixth Summit of the Americas in April 2012. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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2 Responses for “Drug trafficking in the Americas discussed at O.A.S. General Assembly”

  1. Hooyah says:

    So Minister, you are publicly acknowledging that “people in high places are involved” in the very lucrative drug trade. What does that say to those in your government, your party financiers and those next in the pecking order why may well be involved? Can we expect a public acknowledgement that a “no holds barred” INDEPENDENT investigation might be forthcoming? (Let’s be real, we simply cannot expect the Minister with responsibility for Police and Public Safety/National Security to spearhead such a critical investigation. I can’t trust NO RAT, NONE, fu coh tell me weh happen to all di cheese!)

  2. brazwax says:

    Pity the interpreter who has to interpret (simultaneous interpretation) Elrington’s statements. English is my native language and I have to use con.cen.tra.ted effort to follow him. The English he uses at these fora is contorted… like a puzzle. You get me the best UN interpreters and I bet you they would pause and go… ‘WTF did he just say?’ Check this out: “Mr. Chairman sometimes I believe we tend to delude ourselves in this part of the world, if we believe that action taken by us will infact create a dent in this pernicious problem. By virtue of our very limited resources we cannot realistically do more than to devise strategies and means to adapt to the changes that drug trade is having on our societies and to take measures to mitigate against those damages. We have no power to deal with the root of the problem which is unquestionably the insatiable demand in the developed world. Frankly Mr. Chairman I do not believe that our failure to find a problem, our solution to this problem – derives from a deficiency in our collective mental and cerebral capacities. Rather, I think it is due in large measure to an absence of political will at this juncture in our history in the major capitals of our world.”

    What TF was that? Oh, he means that the rich nations who are the consumers of narcotics are more to blame for the drug problem than our nations in this hemisphere who are of limited resources and can only do so much. For the sake of Belize being heard, I seriously hope Foreign Affairs as a matter of course provides a courtesy translation Beforehand.

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