The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) works to keep Americans safe at home by countering international crime, illegal drugs, and instability abroad. INL helps countries deliver justice and fairness by strengthening their police, courts, and corrections systems. These efforts reduce the amount of crime and illegal drugs reaching U.S. shores.

Challenges

The seven independent countries of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines are collectively referred to as the Eastern Caribbean (EC). These countries also comprise the Regional Security System (RSS), a collective defense organization whose responsibilities include regional law enforcement training and narcotics interdiction. The EC is a transshipment point for illicit narcotics primarily from Colombia and Venezuela destined for North American, European, and domestic Caribbean markets. The EC faces growing rates of crime. Criminal networks have taken advantage of the EC’s porous borders to facilitate the movement of firearms, drugs, and people through the region. Several EC countries are vulnerable to the laundering and protection of illicitly-obtained funds. Several EC criminal justice systems are insufficiently equipped to handle the volume of cases, contributing to high rates of pre-trial detention. At the same time, declining macroeconomic growth has left EC criminal justice sector institutions increasingly short of resources.

Goals

As part of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), INL efforts in the EC seek to improve public safety and security, combat illicit trafficking, and strengthen justice sector institutions.

Accomplishments

Co-funded by the UK High Commission in Bridgetown, INL’s Criminal Justice Advisor (CJA) helped draft and pass legislation and implementing regulations to help our EC partners more effectively address witness protection, digital recording of suspect interviews, child pornography, and extraditions to the United States. She also worked with partner countries to develop sentencing guidelines for criminal offenses, ensuring that EC courts are consistent in their approach to sentencing and assign sentences proportionate to the crimes committed.

INL worked with the RSS Air Wing to refurbish its maritime patrol aircraft. The RSS deploys these aircraft to spot illicit maritime traffic transiting the EC.

INL’s Eastern Caribbean Financial Crimes Advisor (FCA) has helped introduce civil asset recovery legislation to target transnational organized crime in four countries: Dominica, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Antigua & Barbuda, and Grenada. These laws help partner-country criminal justice institutions dismantle transnational criminal organizations by seizing the proceeds of crime and reinvesting the funds into law enforcement efforts to promote sustainability.

U.S. Department of State

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