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Dames attends Commission on Narcotic Drugs 62nd Ministerial Segment

Minister of National Security Marvin Dames is attending the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) 62nd Ministerial Segment in Vienna, Austria.

The Ministerial Segment emanates from the Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards an integrated and balanced strategy to counter the world drug problems, which was adopted in 2009. The minister and world leaders with responsibility for narcotics strategies within their respective countries, are coming together to address the multifaceted drug problems with the view of providing feasible bilateral and multilateral agreements to strengthen counter drug measures relative to smuggling, profits from illegal drugs and human rights protection for users and victims.

While The Bahamas has made substantial progress in countering and advancing drug control, the country is still challenged. Like the global community, The Bahamas has been plagued by the drug epidemic which flourished in the 1980s. Located along the drug trafficking routes between South America and North America and the migrant smuggling route emanating from one of the more impoverished and less stable Caribbean countries, The Bahamas continues to be challenged by the transport and smuggling of migrants, guns and drug trans-shipments.

Notwithstanding the challenges faced, The Bahamas has been consistent in its efforts regarding drug control and has either ratified or acceded to most of the international legal instruments, including the United Nations Conventions and the Inter-American Conventions.

The Ministerial Segment is being held from March 14–15, however, the technical component will not conclude until March 22. Accordingly, during the two-day Ministerial Segment, Dames will highlight and reaffirm the country’s efforts to meet the global 2019 target of jointly addressing and countering the world’s drug problems. By extension, the target is a short-term goal of the Sustainable Development Goals 2030. Goal 16 of the aforesaid seeks the assistance of global countries to promote individual and collective shared responsibilities to promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies.

Since 2009 The Bahamas has established and/or updated a number of bilateral and regional international cooperation agreements for mutual legal or judicial assistance on the control of drug trafficking and related crimes. These include the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Treaties; Forfeited or Confiscated Assets or their Equivalent Sums Agreement; and Confiscation of the Proceeds of Drug Trafficking Agreement.

Other preventive and enforcement measures taken to combat criminal activities that may be linked to trafficking include laws to address trafficking in persons, smuggling of migrants and the financing of terrorism. Meanwhile, the Bahamas Extradition Act of 1994 permits extradition for drug trafficking and related crimes. In addition, the country has signed extradition agreements with several countries.

Further, during this year The Bahamas will undergo an assessment by the International Narcotics Control Board of its adherence to the conventions and other recommendations. The country has also sought to establish appropriate educational platforms to deter drug use and abuse; facilitated provisions for law enforcement to improve counter drug and related measures; improved judicial institutions to prosecute drug-related offenses; and enhanced institutional cooperation with government, non-government and civic society to foster preventable measures and treatment for drug use.

In furtherance of its efforts, The Bahamas established the National Anti-Drug Secretariat which is now headed by Director Terrance Fountain. Fountain, who is part of the Bahamian delegation, will focus on the technical component of the conference. On Wednesday, March 20 he will be a part of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), which was established by the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) and is inclusive of hemispheric countries in The Americas. Countries such as Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Mexico, The Bahamas, the United States and Uruguay will present on drug policies and advancements of the same in the hemisphere since their last meeting.

Finally, Dames will underscore that The Bahamas is fully committed to eradicating drug shipment and use within its borders, the region and globally. The ravaging effects are often consequential on individuals, families, communities and, most importantly, humanity. However, the government is steadfast in its commitment to jointly addressing and countering not only the country’s drug problem but the world.

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