BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Apr. 19, 2018– On April 9, The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs in the US released its International Narcotics Control Strategy Report in which it named Belize as one of the 22 major drug transit countries.
The report states that even with efforts to reduce drug production and distribution, Belize is still obstructed by “insufficient resources, weak law enforcement institutions, an ineffective judicial system, and inadequate compensation for civil service employees and public safety officials” — all of which “facilitate corruption.”
Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte, upon learning about the report, called it a “questionable attack.” He told News5 reporters that the US has no evidence on which to base their claims, and so the report was purely opinion-based. He said that even though the US is an “elephant” and Belize is a “flea” in world politics, it was still “unfair and quite cowardly to pass a judgment like that on Belize.”
According to Peyrefitte, Belize is doing the best it can to fight crime, and he does not accept any other country’s assessment of Belize. He stated that if the US knows the identity of those persons bringing the drugs to Belize, they should let law enforcement know so that the perpetrator(s) can be arrested.
In commenting on the US decision in January to strip Belize of the work visa, Belize’s Attorney General was unsparing in his criticism of the US. Peyrefitte had characterized the US action as “cowardly and hypocritical,” and said that he was very disappointed by the decision.
The categorization by the US Department of Homeland Security was because the US was of the view that Belize had done little to combat human trafficking.