Remarks by Jean Ricot Dormeus,

OAS Representative,

Regional Seminar for National Drug Observatories in the Caribbean

April 4, 2018


Honorable Khemraj Ramjattan, Minister of Public Security,

Major General Michael Atherly, Director of the National Anti-Narcotics Agency (NANA),

Mr. Terry Steers-Gonzalez, Chargé d’Affaires of the United States of America to Guyana,

Ms. Beverly Reynolds, Coordinator of Health and Human Development at the CARICOM Secretariat,

Mr.     , of the Delegation of the European Union to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean States, the OECS and CARICOM/CARIFORUM,

Colleagues Clarke Pernell and Igor Teubner of the OAS Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD),

Ladies and Gentlemen,


We gather here today to strengthen the foundation of safety and security in the Americas. Over the next two days, the National Drug Observatories of the Caribbean will sharpen the skills of the participating experts, broaden their grasp of the drug phenomenon and generate new ideas for better control policies. This meeting will assist our countries in making a dent in the armor of crime and violence.


I would like to congratulate and thank the people and Government of Guyana for hosting such an important event. I acknowledge the support of Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramajattan and his team in this regard. In particular, the newly established National Anti-Narcotics Agency has been instrumental in preparing this meeting and shows already great signs of vibrancy and effectiveness.


You will notice that today’s forum results from a synergy among several entities: the Organization of American States (OAS), CARICOM, the European Union and the United States of America. This synergy signals to me that no entity can do it alone. Unity does generate force.


I am glad the Regional Seminar for National Drug Observatories takes place at this effervescent juncture in the history of Guyana. In this context, the cooperation between the OAS and Guyana has intensified. Two weeks ago, for the first time, Guyana hosted an Inter-American Conference, the XXIV Inter-American Congress of Ministers and Highest Authorities of Tourism. Last Thursday, Minister of Education Nicolette Henry and I completed the signing of the Agreement for a project to improve Technical/Vocational Education in Secondary and Post-Secondary Institutions. Next Monday, the Ministry of Health will join forces with the OAS to kick start the PROCCER Guyana drug treatment training.


The flurry of international activities in Guyana point to better days ahead. Therefore, it is fitting that the Caribbean as a whole comes together in Georgetown for some horizon scanning. We need to understand more clearly the threats to our societies and economies. We need to sharpen our tools to counter these threats effectively. We need to craft policies that curb crime and violence. We know that the abuse and trafficking of drugs fuel crime and violence, and at the same time destroy our youth, seek to corrupt our civil servants and politicians, and derail the forward movement of our economies.


Over the next two days, our experts will:


  • present and discuss the results of household drug prevalence surveys undertaken recently in the Caribbean;
  • Promote the manual, “Standardized Indicators for National Drug Information Networks in the Caribbean” and the accompanying data collection tools.
  • Receive updates on the progress of the European Union’s Cooperation Program with Latin America and the Caribbean on Drugs Policies (COPOLAD), early warning systems, and problematic drug use scales.
  • Discuss the status of the 2018 Report on Drug Use in the Americas that CICAD is currently drafting;
  • Discuss policy changes related to marijuana and their implications for research; and
  • Prepare a research agenda for the coming two-year period.


I would like to stress that CICAD and our governments have conducted region wide research that contributes to a wealth of knowledge about drugs in the hemisphere and serves as reference for policy makers.  The research satisfies the OAS and CICAD’s mandate to help countries develop policies that address every facet of the drug issue as stated in the 2010 Hemispheric Drug Strategy. This seminar will further stimulate the improvement of our toolset. Consequently, National drug observatories will support more effectively our countries’ anti-drug policies and programs.


Imagine a Caribbean where drug abuse and trafficking come under control, thus freeing resources for universal education, private sector expansion and job creation. Imagine that our youth benefit from a social environment more conducive to their development. Imagine a significant reduction in crime and violence in our countries. Will you not say this paints the picture of peaceful and prosperous societies? Absolutely. Such societies will unite as we do today and bring to fruition the motto of the Organization of the American States “More rights for more people”.


I anticipate much success to our proceedings and I wish you all the best.


Thank you and God bless you!

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