BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, JUNE 6TH 2013 (CUOPM) – St. Kitts and Nevis’ Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Patrice Nisbett has applauded the Organisation of American States (OAS) for the theme chosen to mark the 43rd Regular Session of the Organisation of American States (OAS) Assembly in Guatemala
The theme selected to guide discussions at the Assembly revolved around the issue of alternative, non-traditional approaches in the war on drugs.
In delivering his statement to Ministers of Foreign Affairs and their delegations from the Americas, Minister Nisbett applauded the selection of the theme which he explained “directly confronts the reality of Drugs in this hemisphere, and prescribes for the focus of decision makers an array of considered actions which not only urge a comprehensive, proactive approach to addressing this hemispheric scourge, but which, concomitantly highlights the deeply human tragedy which the drug problem occasions upon our states and our hemisphere.”
Minister Nisbett reminded delegates that “the core of our nations is our human capital,” describing the people of this hemisphere “as the bedrock of all gains, all possibilities, all challenges, the very raisond’être of the OAS Democratic and Social Charters.”
In commenting on the relevance of the theme, Minister Nisbett remarked that “it is, after all, our people for whom we labour to make life better through the building of strong democracies, persist in enhancing our national and hemispheric security, foster the observance of all human rights, and strive for broad based and sustainable integral development.”
The Hon. Minister, a lawyer by profession, stressed the importance of addressing the problem of drugs in the hemisphere through multi prong approaches focusing on “combating the demand and the trade at all levels,” being fully cognizant of the human element and the human toll, as well as of the human nature of both the problem and the solution, thereby ensuring that these are contemplated in equal measure.
In urging delegates to take decisive actions, Minister Nisbett suggested “it will be a testament to our resolve that we leave this assembly with renewed commitment to effect fundamental changes that deliver on the promise of successfully addressing the drug problem in this hemisphere.”
St. Kitts and Nevis like other countries in the Americas has been affected by the impact of the Drug trade which the Minister explained “respects neither territorial mass, nor the grandeur of economies and State power.” The Federation continues to experience its share of challenges in the battle to defend itself from this universal menace.
Caught between far flung producers and neighbourly users along the trans-shipment route that has emerged in Caribbean waters, the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis is constantly engaged in securing its borders, patrolling its waters, legislating to create appropriate and effective penalties, collaborating to effect coordinated strategic efforts, and educating its populace about the ill effects of drugs.
Whilst the Minister acknowledged that the high costs associated with responding to the drug trade has burdensome fiscal implications for micro states, he reasoned that such was ” outweighed only by even harsher realities and costs inflicted in terms of its cumulative impact on the lives of our most precious resource: our people.”
In 2000, the Federation of St Kitts and Nevis established a National Anti-Drug Master Plan with the support of international and hemispheric partners including the OAS. The plan is aimed at ensuring a systematized and integrated approach to reducing demand and supply, as well as for epidemiological research, data collection, abuse prevention, education, treatment and rehabilitation. It serves as a guide to the National Drug Council and support for law enforcement.
Efforts to revise this plan are ongoing and on completion will better position St. Kitts and Nevis to meet its national, regional and hemispheric commitments to stem the drug trade and to reduce its harmful effects on certain sub groups of the Nation’s population.
The other members of the delegation were St. Kitts and Nevis Ambassador to the United States and Permanent Representative to the OAS, Her Excellency Jacinth Henry-Martin and Counsellor at the St. Kitts and Nevis Mission in Washington DC, Ms. Kemoy Liburd Chow.