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Posted: Wednesday 24 April, 2024 at 9:41 AM

Climate Change and drug trafficking among issues raised by PM Drew at Concordia Meeting

By: Jermine Abel,

    WASHINGTON, DC — The political leader of the Federation has emphasized that the country is not seeking "pity" when it comes to the challenges of climate change and drug trafficking, but rather partnerships to combat the growing issues facing the Caribbean region.


    During his presentation at the Concordia Summit of the Americas at the University of Miami, Prime Minister Dr. Terrance Drew addressed the ongoing challenges facing St. Kitts and Nevis and the wider Caribbean region.


    He highlighted climate change and drug trafficking as two major challenges impacting the Federation, significantly influencing the daily lives of citizens and residents.


    On the issue of drug trafficking, PM Drew emphasized that the Federation has a large expanse of water compared to land, creating "strategic difficulties in terms of how to protect our countries" as it opens the door for trafficking from the southern parts of the Americas region.


    "When we speak of challenges that we are facing, this is one of the major challenges that the Caribbean is facing, drug trafficking. With that, the guns and the guns that lead to a lot of violence within our region," PM Drew told the gathering.


    St. Kitts and Nevis, like much of the rest of the region, continues to be impacted by the illicit flow of weapons. The Federation has reported 10 homicides this year, following 31 reported last year.


    In the wider CARICOM region, the number of homicides jumped to 7,215, according to data from InSight Crime. With drug trafficking and weapons flowing across Latin America and the Caribbean, the regional agency noted that there were more than 117,492 murders committed in the region in 2023.


    On the issue of climate change, Dr. Drew asserted that it is a pressing concern in the Caribbean: "We suffer disproportionately compared to other countries that produce more carbon dioxide. We expect to face more hurricanes this year than last year."


    He highlighted the impact of rising sea levels, which are destroying beaches that are essential to the tourism industry. Dr. Drew mentioned a resort in St. Kitts and Nevis, Koi Resort, which has lost its beach due to rising sea levels and has had to downgrade from a resort with a beach to just a resort.


    One category five hurricane could wipe out the entire GDP of St. Kitts and Nevis, setting the country back by one to two decades in development. The country is already experiencing water shortages due to climate change, leading to water rationing and reduced agricultural productivity.


    Dr. Drew emphasized the financial challenges the Federation faces due to its classification as a high-income country, which limits access to funding at concessionary rates for climate change adaptation projects.


    The Concordia Summit of the Americas is an international forum that brings together key decision-makers to engage in dialogue on challenges facing the Western Hemisphere. This year's meeting included representation from New York City Mayor Eric Adams, Secretary General of the Organization of American States Luis Almagro, and former President of Costa Rica Laura Chinchilla, among others.


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