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.
Trinidad and Tobago is a twin-island nation in the Southern Caribbean. Trinidad and Tobago’s close proximity to Venezuela, porous borders, and direct transportation routes to Europe, the United States, and Canada make it a prime location for narcotics transshipment. Its generally stable economy and developed financial systems also make it vulnerable to money laundering. Additionally, Trinidad and Tobago suffers from high rates of violent crime, particularly homicides.
The United States supports a wide range of efforts designed to address crime and violence affecting citizens in Trinidad and Tobago through the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI). Through INL’s CBSI programs, the United States provides training and support to law enforcement, other security agencies, and criminal justice institutions to build intelligence analysis and general investigative and prosecutorial capacity with respect to counternarcotics, money laundering, corruption, and other financial crimes. INL CBSI programs support Trinidad and Tobago’s efforts to reform the criminal justice system by providing training and equipment to prosecutors, the judiciary, and the country’s Prison Service. Despite substantial and continuing efforts to reform the criminal justice system, a lengthy judicial process can still mean years before criminal prosecutions are resolved.
· Through INL’s CBSI programs, the United States provides training and support to law enforcement and security agencies responsible for drug control, including the Police Service, Transnational Organized Crime Unit, Customs and Excise Division, Prison Service, and Coast Guard. This support, together with joint law enforcement cooperation on narcotics trafficking investigations, resulted in a number of substantial drug seizures on land and at sea.
· INL supported the growth of canine units in the Police Service, Prison Service, and Customs and Excise Division. These canine units were responsible for multiple seizures of narcotics and firearms.
· With INL support, the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service increased the capacity of its Cybercrime Unit and Research and Analytical Unit to use cyber forensics and intelligence analysis to quickly solve crimes, particularly kidnappings for ransom and homicides. These units helped reduce dependence on witness testimony and accelerate processing of some criminal cases.
· INL supported advanced training for over 1,000 law enforcement officials and utilized train-the-trainer instruction methods and follow-on mentoring to support the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service Training Academy’s incorporation of the courses into its curriculum. INL and the Government of Trinidad and Tobago expanded the reach of the Academy via the online training platform CBSI-Connect, allowing Trinidad and Tobago to train law enforcement officers from CBSI partner nations and foster greater regional collaboration. The INL-provided CBSI-Connect platform contributes to the resiliency of Trinidad and Tobago’s national security infrastructure by facilitating virtual meetings.