AG on U.S. Drug Report – “Unfair and Cowardly”
On April ninth, a U.S. Narcotics reports listed Belize as one of twenty-two major drug transit countries. The International Narcotics Control Strategy Report of the U.S. State Department designated Belize, saying, “Belize’s drug control efforts are hampered by the same challenges faced by the rest of the country’s security sector – corruption, insufficient investigative capacity, an ineffective judicial sector and a lack of political will.” At the time when we spoke with Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte, he had not yet seen the report, but condemned the designation. But today, he didn’t mince his words saying that the actions are cowardly and that nothing has been presented to back up these claims.
Michael Peyrefitte, Attorney General
“I have also said that the US also needs to work on their demand, maybe if they will stop using so much drugs, we wouldn’t be selling any, according to them. But, like I said, it is a very questionable attack. It doesn’t help. I have said this before and I will say this again, that is their opinion of what Belize is. What evidence do they have? They have not presented to us any evidence why is it they believe that. It’s based on what? Based on what they are saying we are a major transshipment point of drugs? We don’t have any information from them as to what is the foundation of that analysis. They don’t share any information with us. If they know, if the US knows who is bringing drugs into Belize, then let us know and we will arrest those people because drugs are illegal. So, what information do they have that they are not telling us about? We don’t know. But like I said, that is their opinion. It is a black eye, yes, because they are an elephant and we are a flea in world politics and geo-politics. But at the same time I think it is very unfair and very cowardly that you would pass a judgment like that on Belize without any evidence to show on what based that opinion on.”
“Is there anything the Government or your office will be doing to communicate with them about this report?”
“We talk to them every day. They tend to want information but don’t give information. As long as we are not treated equally or operate on an equal footing, then what can we do? All we can do is to try and fight crime the best that we can. If there is an illegal activity, we go to stomp it out and we bring the people to court, they have their day in court and the justice systems decides. But until then, I do not accept any other country’s assessment on my country without at least trying to do some good with that assessment.”