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Prime Minister Anthony to Protest to Venezuela

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Thursday, June 23, 2005 - Prime Minister Honourable Dr. Kenny Anthony and Minister for External Affairs Senator the Honourable Petrus Compton have summoned Venezuelan Ambassador to Saint Lucia, Mrs. Carmen Aponte, to discuss the involvement of Venezuelan citizens in the trafficking of drugs to Saint Lucia.

Currently there are fourteen Venezuelans in detention waiting trial in Saint Lucia. They were arrested by Saint Lucia’s Marine Police following interception of their pirogues in Saint Lucian waters in what was suspected to be trips to land drugs in Saint Lucia for onwards transmission to Europe and elsewhere.

The pirogues are normally equipped with four powerful outboard engines each and can hold up to seven persons.

Prime Minister Anthony said “the issue is very serious as such drug shipments to Saint Lucia place a severe burden on the island’s security forces.”

Dr. Anthony continued, “indeed, among those arrested are some who have previously been arrested and charged for the same offences on previous occasions.”

The Prime Minister believes that Venezuela has to do more to intercept drug dealers from its maritime waters and to work more closely with security personnel in Saint Lucia and the OECS.

According to the Prime Minister “the time has come to review the situation overall, including the agreement to allow Venezuelan citizens to visit Saint Lucia without visas.”

The current situation, says the Prime Minister, “is unacceptable and must be addressed in a resolute manner.”

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