Pubdate: Mon, 19 Sep 2005
Source: Nassau Guardian, The (Bahamas)
Copyright: 2005 The Nassau Guardian.


Regardless to how Bahamian officials try to dodge the blow or how the 
Americans try to soften it, the facts are The Bahamas is on the United 
States' list of 20 countries that it considers major transit or drug 
producing countries. So no matter the president's note that "a country's 
presence on the list is not necessarily an adverse reflection of its 
government's counter-narcotics efforts or level of cooperation with the 
United States," there may still need to be a lot of explanation through a 
chain of command of lower level officials who may not be privy to the 
president's reasoning

Forget the non-sensical explanations that The Bahamas' geographical setting 
between the principal South American producing countries and the primary 
user country, The United States, ensures the likelihood that The Bahamas 
remains classified as a major drug transit area. That is totally unacceptable.

The Government and the people of The Bahamas should not be lured into 
accepting that the report is consistent with the reports that have been 
issued by the United States in the past and therefore of no great worry. If 
it doesn't mean anything then why is it there? The Government of The 
Bahamas should demand that the country be taken off the list and that it 
not be linked with those avowed producing and transit countries.

With all that The Bahamas has done over the years to erase the image 
fostered in the 1970s and 80s of being a "nation for sale" and a drug 
transshipment conduit, it should come as a surprise in 2005 to be found on 
the United States' major list. And The Bahamas Government should 
categorically and emphatically state its surprise while registering its 
demand to be taken off.

The Americans will only demonstrate that it is serious about putting a dent 
in the drug trade or eradicating it altogether when it starts to dismantle 
some of the big corporations in the United States, that are the silent 
bankrollers of the illicit trade. They can blacklist all the "small" 
foreign countries they want and they may extradite as many low level 
criminals from these countries that those governments will allow, nothing 
will happen until they begin to indict and prosecute the real kingpins who 
operate from America's boardrooms and governmental agencies.

The Bahamas cannot allow itself to be used as a pawn in that game and 
should say so.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Elizabeth Wehrman