Venezuela and Saint Lucia strengthen Security Cooperation

Image: TALKING THE WALK! Saint Lucia’s National Security Minister Senator Hermangild Francis (right) and General Endes Palencia, the Vice Minister for Prevention and Security in Venezuela, engaged in talks here earlier this week that will hopefully result in deeper security cooperation between the two countries.(PHOTO BY: PhotoMike)

PRESS RELEASE – A high-level delegation headed by Venezuela’s Deputy Minister of Prevention and Citizen Security of the Ministry of People’s Power for Internal Affairs, Justice and Peace – Endes Palencia, travelled to Saint Lucia on Thursday, August 16th in order to continue strengthening ties of cooperation in security matters.

It should be noted that this is the second bilateral encounter between the two nations, since on July 27th, as Minister for Home Affairs, Justice and National Security of Saint Lucia – Hermangild Francis, led a delegation that arrived in Venezuela, to establish cooperation plans in the fight against drug trafficking.

Prior to the meeting held in Saint Lucia with the Venezuelan Delegation, a press conference was held, where Minister Francis condemned the terrorist attack carried out on August 4th, 2018, in Caracas, against President Nicolás Maduro, declaring that he “believes in democracy” and that an attack of this magnitude is unacceptable to a democratically elected President.

Likewise, the Bolivarian representation took the opportunity to publicly express the will and commitment of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to preserve peace in the region and consolidate technical cooperation related to security and its components, between both countries.

Furthermore, the Venezuelan commission held a meeting with the Commissioner of Police, Severin Moncherry, who appreciated the willingness of the Venezuelan authorities in their support and cooperation in security.

General José Grillo González, Chief of the National Anti-Drug Office (ONA) in Venezuela, explained that “Venezuela shares more than 2.200km of borders with Colombia and is used as a bridge between Colombia – which is the largest producer of illegal drugs and the United States – the largest consumer.” In light of this situation, Venezuela has implemented a series of efficient policies in the fight and detention of the trafficking of drugs.

In that regard, the Commissioner of the Police acknowledged that the problem of drug trafficking is a problem common to both nations, since Venezuela and St. Lucia are victims of trafficking because of their geographical location.

Additionally, the Director of the National Disarmament Service (SENADES), Pablo Fernández, clarified the difference between arms trafficking and carrying illegal firearms related to the crime of drug trafficking, expressing his concern in the way in which these terms are being interpreted in Saint Lucia, as they are distinct crimes – for which very different plans must be implemented.

Therefore, it was also clarified by the Commissioner of Police, that the Police Force has never announced any arms trafficking issue, but rather firearms which are connected to drug trafficking cases, which may have originated from Venezuela.

It was agreed that a Memorandum of Understanding would be drafted, which would contain cooperation schemes between both countries to strengthen security and fight against drug trafficking. (Source: Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela)

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