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OAS’ Pledge To Assist The Region

PM Stuart-Insulza

Matters ranging from the scourge of illegal drugs and its impact on the social and moral fabric of the society, to managing problems facing the rum industry, were among the issues discussed when Secretary General of the Organisation of American States (OAS), Jose Miguel Insulza, paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister, Freundel Stuart.

During the discussions at Government Headquarters last Thursday, the Secretary General said an OAS report on illegal drug trafficking would soon be completed and there were recommendations on how to deal with drug traffickers as well as drug abusers.

Mr. Insulza noted that most of the violence from the illegal drugs trade was among the traffickers and the proceeds from the trade remained within these groups. 

"So, it is a double-pronged report.  On one side the report is saying that it [drugs] is an institutional problem and on the other hand, emphasis is placed on the drug users as victims," he added.

In turn, the Prime Minister described the illegal drugs trade as a very serious problem in the region and added: "...Those who consume have to be treated differently from those who traffick and one of the points which I have been at pains to make, is from where we sit as policy makers and officials, we see crime in the drug trade but the people who are involved in the drug trade see work."

He further stated: "Unless our economies generate the capacity to absorb into gainful mainstream employment these people who now see themselves as ‘working' in the drug trade, we have not solved any problem."

The two officials also discussed the rum dispute with the United States and were optimistic that the issue would be resolved at the World Trade Organization level.  They also reviewed political developments in OAS member states.

During another call on the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, the Secretary General also mentioned the impact of illegal drugs on countries and the rum dispute with the United States.

Regarding the latter issue, Mr. Insulza pledged to assist the region in this regard.