Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Officials at the recently held Summit on Drugs, Security and Cooperation in Santo Domingo, are looking for fresh strategies to reduce the supply and demand of illegal drugs in the region. President of the Dominican Republic, Leonel Fernandez pointed out that because of Washingtons focus on the wars in Afghanistana and Iraq, there was a major drop in US action against drug trafficking in the region. "There has been a drop in the (US anti-drug) budget, that is why we all feel the increase of drug trafficking, violent crime and instability," he said. According to Fernandez, US drug surveillance in the Caribbean has dropped by 62 percent with fewer boats and aircraft being used to combat the illicit trade. Fernandez stated that in light of these circumstances, fresh methods had to be devised by the various stakeholders to ensure the security of the region. Participants in the summit included St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, Rene Preval of Haiti, Alvaro Uribe of Colombia, and Patrick Manning of Trinidad and Tobago.