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By Marvin A. Hokstam
PARAMARIBO–Suriname takes its regional and international commitments seriously and wishes to play an exemplary role in international drug and security policy. The country will this year start with a Drug Treatment Court to deal with drug offenders and their reintegration in society; the eleven recommendations in the Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism (MEM) are being implemented and the country is actively participating in the various evaluation rounds; and Suriname may well be one of the first countries in the Western Hemisphere that actually implements the goals and activities of the Hemispheric Drug Strategy of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD). Vice President Robert Ameerali reported such on Wednesday May 4, in his welcome speech at the 49th regular session of CICAD.
High-level delegates from across the Americas are gathered in Suriname this week to discuss a Hemispheric Plan of Action to deal with the scourge of drugs and drug-related crimes in the Hemisphere. The forty-ninth regular session of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) will consider among other issues the “smokeable cocaine” phenomenon in the Southern Cone, and drug consumption among adolescents in conflict with the law.
Vice President Ameerali underscored CICAD’s importance to Suriname. “We feel very honored that this session is held in our country, and we are very pleased to receive this high level group of dignitaries from regional and international drug control organizations in Suriname,” he said, hinting furthermore: “CICAD’s Hemispheric Drug Strategy and Draft Plan of Action were important guidelines used in formulating the new Suriname National Drug Master Plan.”
The Vice President recommended that since the drug problem is a global problem, it should be addressed jointly, international, regional and sub-regional programs should be implemented collectively and a more coherent strategy on the basis of more synergy among all the organizations and institutions involved in drug control should be developed. “We also need to avoid overlap and duplication of programs. In this regard, Suriname will do anything in its power to support the international and the regional drug control program on the basis of more synergy to maximize the effectiveness based on the principles of collective efforts and shared responsibility,” Ameerali said.
PARAMARIBO–At least 21 of the 44 countries that are members of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) have confirmed that they will send delegations to the organization’s 49th meeting that will be held in Suriname this week. Former Justice and Police Minister Chandrikapersad Santokhi who chairs the regional organization says the conference will aim to draft a regional drug policy, which will then be taken to member-states’ Governments and Parliaments for ratification.
With its SRD 1.3 million (approximately US$ 200,000) price tag and its more than 90 expected participants, this conference is among the largest justice and drug conferences held in Suriname. Santokhi (51), who prior to becoming Minister served as a Police Commissioner, was elected chairman of CICAD last December. CICAD is an institute of the Secretariat for Multidimensional Security of the Organization of American States (OAS).
The conference will be held at Royal Torarica Hotel; it starts on May 4th and ends on May 6th. Santokhi said he hopes that the remaining CICAD member states will also be present at the conference, as quorum is needed to decide on the important matters that will be tabled. Aside from the regional drug policy, participants will also share knowledge on local drug enforcement.
PARAMARIBO/WASHINGTON–Former Justice and Police Minister Chandrikapersad Santokhi has been elected Chairman of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), an institute of the Secretariat for Multidimensional Security of the Organization of American States (OAS). The 48th meeting of CICAD at which Santokhi was elected, is ongoing at the OAS headquarters in Washington.
Santhoki, 51, was a fast rising police commissioner, before he was selected as Justice Minister in 2005 in the Venetiaan Cabinet. During the formation talks following the May 2010 elections, he was a candidate for the Presidency; Desi Bouterse was eventually chosen as President. Bouterse supported Santokhi’s candidature for the CICAD post.