French Guiana, Martinique, Guadeloupe, the French side of Saint Martin, and St. Barthelemy are all overseas departments of France and therefore subject to French law, and all international conventions signed by France, including the 1988 United Nations Drug Convention. The French Judiciary Police, Gendarmerie, and Customs Service play a major role in narcotics law enforcement in France's overseas departments, just as they do in the rest of France. Cocaine moves through the French Caribbean and from French Guiana to Europe and to a lesser extent, to the United States. France is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
The Martinique Task Force, created in 2006, in response to an increase in the trafficking of cocaine coming directly to France from the French Caribbean, intercepted over ten metric tons of cocaine headed for France in 2007. The task force is a multilateral cooperative effort that brings together French, Spanish, Colombian, U.S. and British law enforcement officials to promote coordinated operations against trafficking. French Customs also takes an active part in the undertakings of the Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council (C.C.L.E.C), which was established in the early 1970s to improve the level of cooperation and exchange of information between its members in the Caribbean.
In 2007, C.C.L.E.C. broadened its scope to include training programs, technical assistance and other projects. A three-day Enforcement Liaison Workshop, organized jointly by CCLEC and French Customs in Martinique February 12-15, was geared towards preparing for the increased flow of persons and goods during the period of the Cricket World Cup 2007. All of the French Islands now use or have access to the CCLEC Regional Clearance System, an automated system for the reporting of private vessel clearances within the region.
III. Actions Against Drugs in 2007
During the year important drug seizures included the April 20 operation led by the Gendarmerie and police officials in Saint Martin, which led to the discovery of 574 cannabis plants. Four people were arrested and the plants were destroyed shortly after by the Gendarmerie. On August 8, French customs officials seized close to 900 kg of cocaine on board a sailboat in the south of Martinique estimated to be worth approximately 35 million euros (approximately $48.2 million). After intercepting the sailboat, French coastal authorities escorted it to port in southern Martinique where customs officials found the cocaine concealed in sports bags. The two occupants on board the boat were arrested.
Agreements and Treaties. In addition to the agreements and treaties discussed in the report on France, United States and French counternarcotics cooperation in the Caribbean is enhanced by a 1997 multilateral Caribbean Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement that provides for information sharing to enforce customs laws and prevent smuggling, including those relating to drug trafficking. The assignment of a French Navy liaison officer to the U.S. Joint Interagency Task Force-South at Key West, Florida, continued to enhance law enforcement cooperation in the Caribbean. In 2007, France joined the U.S., Jamaica and Belize in signing and ratifying the Dutch-sponsored Caribbean Maritime Agreement (formally the "Accord Concerning the Cooperation in Suppressing Illicit Maritime and Aeronautical Trafficking in Drugs and Psychotropic Substances in the Caribbean Region") originally negotiated in 2003. However, the agreement has yet to enter into force because it lacks the requisite number of ratifications. In 2006, France, along with 11 other nations became a signatory to the "Paramaribo Declaration" at a conference in Suriname. This agreement established an intelligence sharing network, to coordinate and execute drug sting operations among countries and to address money laundering.
Bilateral and Multilateral Cooperation. The French Inter-ministerial Drug Control Training Center (CIFAD) in Fort-de-France, Martinique offers training in French, Spanish and English to law enforcement officials in the Caribbean and Central and South America, covering subjects as money laundering, precursor chemicals, mutual legal assistance, international legal cooperation, coast guard training, customs valuation and drug control in airports. CIFAD coordinates its training activities with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Organization of American States/CICAD, and individual donor nations. U.S. Customs officials periodically provide training at the CIFAD. French Customs is also co-funding with the Organization of American States (OAS), on a regular basis, training seminars aimed at Customs and Coast Guard Officers from OAS member states. The French Navy also now hosts "Operation Carib Royale"--a French Eastern Caribbean counternarcotics operation, which Joint Interagency Task Force South supports with available air and marine assets.
France supports European Union initiatives to increase counternarcotics assistance to the Caribbean. The EU and its member-states, the United States and other individual and multilateral donors are coordinating their assistance programs closely in the region through bilateral and multilateral discussions. The GOF participates actively in the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) as a cooperating and support nation (COSUN).
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|Title Annotation:||The Caribbean|
|Publication:||International Narcotics Control Strategy Report|
|Article Type:||Country overview|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2008|
|Previous Article:||Eastern Caribbean.|