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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Trinidad and Tobago

Challenges:  Trinidad and Tobago is a twin-island nation located just off the coast of Venezuela. Trinidad and Tobago’s location, porous borders, and direct transportation routes to Europe, West Africa, Canada, and the United States make it an ideal location for cocaine and marijuana transshipment. Trinidad and Tobago suffers from one of the highest homicide rates in the world, currently experiencing 35 murders per 100,000 residents. The United States and Trinidad and Tobago share deep cultural ties; hundreds of thousands of U.S. residents were born in Trinidad and Tobago, hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens claim Trinbagonian origin, and tens of thousands of Americans travel to and/or claim residence in Trinidad and Tobago.

Goals:  As part of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), INL efforts in Trinidad and Tobago seek to bolster the capacity of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) to increase its ability to stem the tide of crime and violence that has threatened citizen security on the islands, particularly in various neighborhoods within its capital city, Port of Spain. A key component of this program is our support to its training academy. For the past several years, INL supported advanced training for over 1,000 law enforcement officials and utilized train-the-trainer instruction methods and follow-on mentoring to ensure sustainability of these courses. Additionally, INL and the Government of Trinidad and Tobago are committed to growing the academy into a regional law enforcement training hub, accessible to law enforcement officers from CBSI partner nations. INL also is assisting the Trinbagonian justice sector by working with the Trinidad and Tobago Forensic Science Center to develop a modernization plan.

Accomplishments:  Since the inception of CBSI, INL’s focus on sustainability has met with success. Over the past several years, INL-funded training at the TTPS Training Academy facilitated the integration of four new courses into the academy’s curriculum, with additional courses scheduled for integration in the future. The first step toward regional integration of the academy occurred with 15 Guyanese police officers receiving training at the academy during the summer of 2013. Finally, Trinidad and Tobago’s Forensic Science Center used specific requirements identified during an INL justice sector program to commence the purchase of an advanced laboratory information management and communication system.

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