Dames: Venezuela crisis could lead to influx of guns, drugs
The ongoing crisis in Venezuela could lead to an increase in weapons and drugs trafficking into The Bahamas, said Minister of National Security Marvin Dames yesterday.
Dames made the comment as he made a case for the passage of the National Crime Intelligence Agency (NCIA) Bill, 2019, during the morning sitting of Parliament.
“In light of the current situation in Venezuela, the crisis has unleashed national security threats to the two-island nation of Trinidad and Tobago, Colombia and other regional countries,” he said.
“The problem which plagues Venezuela can no longer be considered exclusively a Venezuelan problem confined to its borders.
“There has been an increase in trade in Venezuelan-sourced guns and drugs brought by refugees to the islands and neighboring nations due to basic food and personal needs and, in turn, there is the increasing crime pandemic.
“Drugs and guns in Trinidad and Tobago means they will eventually travel north to other islands including The Bahamas.
“An agency such as NCIA will greatly assist in intelligence gathering which, as previously alluded, is a pre-monitory action to warn and avert the negative effects of guns and drugs entering The Bahamas.”
Venezuela has been facing a political, economic and humanitarian crisis that has caused millions to leave the country.
In January, The Bahamas was among several Organization of American States (OAS) members to recognize Venezuelan Opposition Leader Juan Guaidó as the country’s interim president amid massive protests.
Following a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in March, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said that The Bahamas stood “firm” on its decision to recognize Guaidó as president.
Earlier this month, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said U.S. military intervention in Venezuela is possible.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Darren Henfield has said The Bahamas will not back the U.S. if it decides to take military action in the country.