US narcotics, firearms officials to visit Trinidad and Tobago for crime talks

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds. – Photo by Jeff K. Mayers

THE US assistant secretary for international narcotics and law enforcement Todd Robinson and co-ordinator for Caribbean firearms prosecutions Michael Ben’Ary will visit Trinidad and Tobago from May 8-10 to further discuss combating transnational crime.

In a press release on May 7, the US Embassy said the visit “underscores the US’ commitment to increased co-operation with Trinidad and Tobago law-enforcement agencies towards combating illegal firearms and narcotics trafficking.”

It said the two men will meet with senior government officials to discuss strategies to strengthen regional security and “combat transnational crime.

“They will also meet with senior leaders of the Caricom IMPACS (Implementational Agency for Crime and Security) and visit the Crime Gun Intelligence Unit to further discuss the impact of illicit firearms trafficking in Trinidad and Tobago and the region.”

In July 2023, Ben’Ary, who is also an associate deputy attorney general, was appointed co-ordinator of the US Department of Justice’s newest division. This will be his first visit to Trinidad and Tobago since that announcement.

The press release added that Ben’Ary’s mission is “to increase the level of firearms trafficking investigations and prosecutions and implement the provisions of the US Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.”

Robinson is a former senior adviser for Central America in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs in Washington, DC, chargé d’affaires in Caracas, Venezuela, and US ambassador to Guatemala. A separate press release on the US Department of State’s website said he will highlight progress made on “major deliverables announced by the (US) Vice President (Kamala Harris) last summer.

“(He) also will discuss support of future law-enforcement capacity-building and criminal justice system modernisation with the Minister of National Security (Fitzgerald Hinds) and other government officials.”

The two have also visited Barbados and St Lucia over the past week.