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 an ideal location for narcotics transshipment, and its generally stable economy and developed financial systems make it vulnerable to money laundering. Trinidad and Tobago also 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 general investigative and prosecutorial capacity, including with respect to counter-narcotics, money laundering, and other financial crimes, as well as programs to support the rule of law and anti-corruption.
A key component of this program is our support of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) and its Training Academy. For the past several years, INL has 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, either in-person or via the online training platform, CBSI-Connect.
Through CBSI, INL is also supporting Trinidad and Tobago’s efforts to reform the criminal justice system, 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 continues to provide 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, has resulted in a number of substantial drug seizures on land and at sea.
INL has also supported the growth of canine units in the Police Service, Prison Service, and Customs and Excise Division. These canine units have been responsible for multiple seizures of narcotics and firearms over the past few years. INL also supports drug demand reduction efforts through the provision of adolescent drug intervention training to police, prison, and probation officers and other stakeholders associated with Trinidad and Tobago’s Children’s Courts and Adolescent Drug Treatment Court.