More Stringent Measures at the Foreign Ministry

More Stringent Measures at the Foreign Ministry

Government Information Service, Port of Spain, May 28, 2004.  The Government of Trinidad and Tobago moved immediately to impose more stringent measures for the dispatch of the Foreign Ministry‘s diplomatic pouch.  This followed the discovery of drugs smuggled through the diplomatic pouch.

Measures taken included increased supervision of the preparation, documentation and dispatch of the pouch.  Security checks were also updated for all personnel connected with the diplomatic mail process.

In his address to the Senate on Tuesday May 11, 2004 ActingForeign Affairs Minister Eric Williams said the discovery of the drugs in the diplomatic pouch was “ an extremely serious matter, striking at the very heart of our national security and with potential, if undetected, to do grave injury to the country’s reputation”.

The Minister also stated, “This government will not shirk in its undertaking to fight the battle against those who attempt to undermine the lawful systems of our country and undermine relations with others”.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs contacted the highest-level representatives at the Port of Spain Diplomatic Missions of the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom assuring them of its stern efforts to protect the integrity of the diplomatic pouch facility, and of its commitment to the responsibility of global security.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Knowlson Gift, who was away on official government business at the time of the incident, accepted full ministerial responsibility, since the matter fell under his purview as Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Minister Gift in his address to the Senate on May 18,  2004 stated, “ The diplomatic mail of Trinidad and Tobago would not be used in any manner that was either illegal in Trinidad and Tobago or inconsistent with the international norms to which Trinidad and Tobago subscribes”.

The Minister also assured the national community saying, “steps have been taken to ensure that these shortcomings are eliminated”, and gave the Senate the further assurance that “the Ministry will continue, as it has done in the past, to act with utmost professionalism in the discharge of its duties in the advancement of the interest and good name of Trinidad and Tobago”.