CASTRIES, SAINT LUCIA: The CARICOM-CICAD-EU four-day regional workshop for the Development of National Anti-Drug Strategies and Plans is centered on one key theme – bring about a reduction in the supply and demand of illicit substances, and protect the region’s fragile socio-economic structure as the present global economic nightmare continues.
This workshop has attracted participants from across the region, including Guyana.
One of the lecturers at the workshop is Mr. John T. Carnevale, who is a public finance economist and an expert in organizational analysis, strategic planning, performance measurement, governmental budgeting, and the U.S. national anti-drug policy.
He says that the sessions conducted to date were intended to get all of the participants involved to focus on the basic approaches each nation should take to combat the problems of drugs and drug trafficking.
“They have all been very helpful. They have taken a simplified approach to a very complicated problem so that they can at least examine ways to debate and discuss how to resolve that problem,” Carnevale stated.
He also spoke of the impact of the current global credit crunch and financial meltdown on the fight against the drug problem on the Latin America/Caribbean region.
He is positive that there will be headway made in the fight against drug abuse despite the current financial squeeze Caribbean Governments face.
“There are concerns economies get into trouble because people turn to drugs because they get unemployed so I think more than ever we have to be vigilant about in keeping our prevention and treatment system programmes in place, “ he added.
It is expected that much attention will be given to solving the global problem and failure of the economy in strengthening and restoring it to what it was.
However, according to Carnevale, “In terms of the drug issue it is important to me that we pay attention to it because I think our political leaders will do so.” Participants continued discussions and strategy formulation at the Regional Workshop for the Development of National Anti-Drug Strategies and Plans.
These strategies are aimed not just at reducing the demand and supply of illicit substances like crack cocaine and marijuana, but also pharmaceuticals, alcohol and stimulants.
The participants agreed that there must be a detailed description of strategies and steps used to implement a strategic plan, actions taken or work performed through which inputs such as funds, technical assistance and other types of resources are mobilised to produce specific outputs.
The systematic and objective assessment of an on-going or completed project, programme or policy, its design, implementation and results must form part of the evaluation of the programmes and strategies.
The aim, therefore, is to determine the relevance and fulfillment of objectives, development efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability.
It was noted that an evaluation should provide information that is credible and useful, enabling the incorporation of lessons learned into the decision making process of both recipients and donors.
Participants examined the goals and objectives of the various programmes and strategies in support of the goals in focusing on specific programmes in targeting the most vulnerable groups.
These vulnerable groups also included the users and abusers of illicit substances, drug traffickers, and the young who have been targeted. These target groups, it was recognised, are in many instances, part of a larger vulnerable group that impacts on the Caribbean region’s socio-economic environment.
The discussions of the many strategies and programmes that have taken place so far have been very lively.
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