Saint Lucia: Information on drug trafficking; whether the police hierarchy is involved in corruption and drug trafficking; whether those who are threatened by drug traffickers can receive state protection (1997-2003)
|Publisher||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||22 December 2003|
|Citation / Document Symbol||LCA42296.E|
|Cite as||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Saint Lucia: Information on drug trafficking; whether the police hierarchy is involved in corruption and drug trafficking; whether those who are threatened by drug traffickers can receive state protection (1997-2003), 22 December 2003, LCA42296.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/403dd2008.html [accessed 9 December 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
The most detailed reports available on drug trafficking and drug-related problems in Saint Lucia are the yearly United States Department of State International Narcotics Control Strategy Reports, which cover the years 1997-2002; the yearly report covering 2003 is not yet available.
The earliest report notes the appearance of Colombian and Venezuelan drug traffickers in Saint Lucia and a rapid increase in cocaine transit through the island in 1996 and 1997 (International Narcotics Control Strategy Report 1997 Mar. 1998). Entry and storage of drugs was taking place mostly in Vieux Fort port (ibid.). The report refers to an apparent rise in drug-related violence, while mentioning cocaine and cannabis seizures and related arrests (ibid.). Finally, the source states that while community groups were committed and actively addressing demand reduction, "leadership by the government's drug abuse program secretariat ha[d] been limited" (ibid.).
For 1998, the U.S. Department of State provides similar information and expands on some points: local transshippers were working with foreign traffickers; drug-related violence increased; police carried out raids on the residences of drug traffickers and increased the number of drug-related arrests and the amounts of cocaine and cannabis seized; and construction of a marine police base at Vieux Fort was completed (International Narcotics Control Strategy Report 1998 Feb. 1999). Although not as yet capable as marine forces in neighbouring countries, the Vieux Fort marine force increased its numbers after recruiting 16 new members (ibid.).
In the next year's report, the U.S. Department of State notes that the problems described in previous years continued, provides updated seizure and arrest figures and adds details on the drug transshippers' activities (International Narcotics Control Strategy Report 1999 Mar. 2000). While marijuana is grown mostly for local consumption, cocaine usually arrives on the island through offshore airdrops and is then carried by small boats to hiding spots or caches along the island's coastline (ibid.). The report adds that the governments of the United States and Saint Lucia were "cooperat[ing] extensively on law enforcement matters" and points out that a new head for Saint Lucia's National Drug Control and Prevention Secretariat was appointed late in 1998 (ibid.). The report also notes that, with the assistance of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (OAS/CICAD), the Secretariat was finalizing a drug control master plan (ibid.).
The yearly report for 2002 repeats much of the information provided in previous years, including highlighting the ongoing increase in cocaine trafficking along the same routes – namely, from Colombia through Venezuela, directly or though Trinidad and Tobago, and then continuing to nearby island nations, Europe and the United States (International Narcotics Control Strategy Report 2002 Mar. 2003). The report adds that in 2002 Saint Lucia was in the process of reforming its criminal code to "enhance the ability of judicial officers to prosecute financial and other crimes by updating the existing legislation to deal with wire-fraud and other modern finance-related offenses" (ibid.). The report also includes seizure statistics up to October 2002.
In its introductory section for Eastern Caribbean states, which include Saint Lucia, the report also provides the following general statement:
The level of cocaine and marijuana trafficked through the individual Eastern Caribbean countries to the U.S. does not reach the level needed to designate any one of them a major drug transit country under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended (the "FAA"). Nonetheless, the President's November 2001 notification to the U.S. Congress of the list of major drug source and transit countries stated that the entire Eastern and Southern Caribbean are areas of concern to be kept under observation.
Drug trafficking and related crimes – such as money laundering, drug use, arms trafficking, official corruption, violent crime and intimidation – have the potential to threaten the stability of the small, democratic countries of the Eastern Caribbean, and to varying degrees, have damaged civil society in all of these countries (International Narcotics Control Strategy Report 2002 Mar. 2003).
The Washington-based non-governmental organization Freedom House also identifies drug-related crime in Saint Lucia as a serious problem in its reports for the period 1998-1999 as well as for 2002 (Freedom in the World 1998-1999 1999; Freedom in the World 2003 2003). In its most recent report, Freedom House refers to the government's efforts to combat corruption (ibid.). However, the report does not contain specific references to police or drug-related corruption (ibid.).
References to drug-related corruption in the police hierarchy, or to state protection available to persons targeted by drug traffickers, could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Freedom House, Washington, DC. 1999. "St. Lucia." Freedom in the World: The Annual Survey of Political Rights and Civil Liberties: 1998-1999. Edited by Adrian Karatnycky et al.
_____. 2003. "St. Lucia." Freedom in the World 2003: The Annual Survey of Political Rights and Civil Liberties. Edited by Adrian Karatnycky et al.. "St. Lucia."
International Narcotics Control Stategy Report 2002. March 2003. "Eastern Caribbean." United States Department of State. Washington, D.C.
International Narcotics Control Strategy Report 1999. March 2000. "St. Lucia." United States Department of State. Washington, D.C.
International Narcotics Control Strategy Report 1998. February 1999. "St. Lucia." United States Department of State. Washington, D.C.
International Narcotics Control Strategy Report 1997. March 1998. "St. Lucia." United States Department of State. Washington, D.C.
Additional Sources Consulted
Latin American Regional Newsletters: Central America & the Caribbean[London]. 1997-2003
Latinamerica Press [Lima]. 1997-2003
Internet sites and search engines, including:
Americas' Accountability/Anti-Corruption (AAA) Project
Anti-Corruption Gateway for Europe and Asia
Caribbean Net News. Sept.-Dec. 2003
Ethics Resource Center
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Anti-Corruption/OECD Bribery Convention, country compliance assessment reports
The St. Lucia Mirror. Mar.-Dec. 2003
Transparency International - USA (TI-USA)
TILAC, la red regional de Transparency International
United Nations -- Centre for International Crime Prevention (CICP), Global Program Against Corruption. Country Reports 1999-2002
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
UNODC Caribbean Regional Office [Bridgetown, Barbados]
U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Center for Democracy and Governance
U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of the Chief Counsel for International Commerce
The World Bank, World Bank Anticorruption Strategy, and other areas