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Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission visits SVG

Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission visits SVG

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The Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism (MEM) of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) conducted a sensitization mission to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines last week.{{more}}

The MEM, which is a specialized agency of the Organization of American States (OAS), serving as the hemisphere’s policy forum on all aspects of the drug problem, visited this country from March 26 to 27.

The mission comprised Angela Crowdy, CICAD’s Acting Assistant Executive Secretary, and Karen Sanjines, MEM specialist, and was joined on-island by Melene Glynn, OAS Country Representative.

The MEM is a diagnostic tool, designed by the member countries of the OAS, which carries out periodic, comprehensive, multilateral evaluations of the actions taken by individual member states and by the hemisphere as a whole to deal with the drug problem. The mission sought to build support for and promote the fullest participation of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in the MEM process.

During the two days of meetings, the mission met with key Government officials, including Girlyn Miguel, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education; Luis DeShong, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment; Patsy Wyllie, Chief Health Educator, Ministry of Health and Harvey Farrell, Health Educator, Ministry of Health. The discussions centred on the revised MEM process, the recommendations emanating therefrom for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (which include the approval of a national drug plan and establishment of a national drug authority) and the support that CICAD could provide in this regard, particularly the secondary school survey currently being coordinated by the Ministry of Health to determine the prevalence of drug use among students and the related issues that affect them.

A workshop to inform national anti-drug stakeholders about the MEM and to prepare them for their participation in the Sixth Evaluation Round, which commences this year, was held on the morning of March 27. Participating in the workshop were officials of the Ministry of Health, the Royal Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force, the Ministry of Legal Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Financial Intelligence Unit, the Customs and Excise Department and the University of the West Indies.

Speaking upon conclusion of the current mission, Crowdy noted that the workshop marked “…a re-energizing of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines’ participation in the MEM’s process”. While she acknowledged that the country had faced major challenges which impeded progress in the implementation of recommendations from the previous round, Ms Crowdy welcomed the commitment expressed by Permanent Secretary DeShong and looked forward to St Vincent and the Grenadines “…deriving the benefits offered by this multilateral process.”

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