PM concerned about Venezuelan arms, drugs

Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet, has said that he is concerned about the increase in drug trafficking cases and arms coming into Saint Lucia, telling reporters that Venezuela has been a big source of the problem.

“Some people would suggest that the problems in Venezuela are creating that – if in fact what the US is claiming is correct, that is not a very good position where a Vice President of a country is involved in that, but clearly I have to wait and see what the evidence is and how that pans out,” the Saint Lucia Prime Minister said.

Chastanet’s statement came against the backdrop of U.S. authorities on Monday announcing that the vice president of Venezuela, Tareck El Aissami, was an international drug trafficker.

The US has slapped severe sanctions on him.

But the Venezuelan official described his blacklisting by the United States on drug charges as an “imperialist aggression”.

According to Chastanet, there are international organizations at which Saint Lucia will be able to learn what the position is.

Chastanet disclosed that his administration’s position on Venezuela  and ALBA is that while this country is not an active member, it is looking to develop relationships with other countries and regions of the world.

Just last week, Saint Lucia police  seized the equivalent of over one million EC dollars in cash in two separate operations and arrested two Venezuelan nationals and a local.

On February 7, 2017, police officers intercepted a vehicle at the Dennery bypass and on conducting a search, found over US$395,000.

Venezuelan national, Antonio Alcantara and Saint Lucian, Anthony Jaye, were arrested and charged with money laundering.

In a separate incident on February 10, 2016, police are reported to have executed a search warrant on the home of Venezuelan national, Ricardo Jose Flores Montana at Rodney Heights, where they seized 10,000 Euros and $US 131,720.

The Venezuelan national was also charged with money laundering.