Colombian President offers to expand cooperation against drug trafficking in Jamaica

KINGSTON, Jamaica – President of the Republic of Colombia, His Excellency Dr. Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, has said that his country is willing to share its expertise with Caribbean countries, particularly Jamaica, in the fight against drug trafficking.

“We are aware that only by working together, Jamaica, Colombia and the rest of the world that are increasingly being affected by the drug cartels, that we can jointly overcome this problem,” he said.

Principal, University of the West Indies (UWI), Professor Gordon Shirley (left) welcomes President of the Republic of Colombia, His Excellency Dr. Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, to a public lecture at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona campus in Kingston on Friday (November 19).

He was speaking at a public lecture at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona campus in Kingston on Friday November 19.

President Santos said that his nation continues to fight the phenomenon with more and more success, with a professional and trained police force that has been learning from over 40 years of fighting the drug cartels, adding that it has been a successful war to dismantle the big cartels.

“The subject of security and the effective fight against transnational crimes, such as drug trafficking, is a matter crucial to our nation’s future. Many countries in the Caribbean and Central America are going through tremendous difficulties similar to those Colombia faced in the past because of drug trafficking and its terrible effects on society,” he said.

He pointed out that, in its fight against drug trafficking, Colombia has lost some of its best politicians, police, judges and leaders, but has managed to preserve its principles and democracy, noting that it is from the lessons learnt that the country can help other nations.

President Santos said that Colombia wanted to help Jamaica become effective in the fight against drug trafficking, before it is too late.

We in Colombia committed a big mistake thinking that that problem is not such a big problem. When we discovered it was a big problem, it was too late and we had to fight very hard to overcome it. But, we are telling our Central American and our Caribbean friends, don’t go into what drug and alcohol addicts usually go into, (that is) the state of denial,” he said.

President Santos stated that Jamaica and Colombia share many common goals, and that his country’s relationship with Jamaica and the wider Caribbean is important in tackling the problem of drug trafficking.

In 1988, Jamaica and Colombia concluded a cooperation agreement between their security forces, providing for information sharing to combat trafficking in illicit drugs. In 2000, Colombian experts visited Jamaica to conduct training with police officers in the area of canine handling and detection of narcotics, arms and ammunition.

President Santos also pointed to various other areas of co-operation which exist between the two countries, namely in sports, education, energy and mining.

During his visit to the University of the West Indies (UWI), he was met by Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness, UWI Principal, Professor Gordon Shirley, Campus Registrar, Dr. Camille Bell-Hutchinson, and other members of the university community.

President Santos, who arrived at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston Friday morning (November 19), is on a one-day State Visit. He was expected to depart the island Friday night.

Related Articles

Back to top button