Tuesday, October 31, 2006 

‘Child Protection Act’ Mending Fences and Legislations in the Bahamas
In a sound governance process for any country, Child Protection is an instrument that bears witness to the country’s willingness and capacity to ensure that all children are protected from all forms of abuses and exploitations.

Under this praxis, investments in children and youth through the umbrella of social protection programs go a long way to strengthen and develop a socially cohesive society, in order to tackle and revamp goals for sustainable and equitable development.
In the critical areas of child protection, legislations, programs and interventions should be preventive and curative in natures as to extract the best outcomes in terms of educational, health and economic progress for a nation.

And as an example of such legislation, the Bahamas Child Protection Act stands on those grounds by aiming toward the strengthening and unification of several laws to “address the welfare and interests of Children”.

Monday, October 30, 2006 

Increasing women's political participation:
Twenty Countries Discuss the Need to Adopt Quota Laws and Promote Parity
(6 October 2006)
Eleven Latin American nations have adopted legal quotas to increase women's political participation, but in no country does the number of women elected to national legislatures surpass 36%. This year, with nearly half the countries in the region holding legislative elections, discussion of how to increase women's political participation has gained impetus, and was the focus of the first day of the International Seminar of Gender Parity and Political Participation in Latin America and the Caribbean, organized by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Chile government, and its National Women's Service (SERNAM).

Full Press Release


Signs of Progress, Signs of Remission towards Haiti’s Future
Well, well, well…. It’s been said that the impacts of the new elected administration of René Préval in Haiti, is starting to bear some fruits.
Of course, this is not an easy task in a country that has been mired with systemic governance challenges, and constant insecurity (see here).

But as Haiti gradually moves into a process of reconstruction, it is more than ever important for the international and regional bodies/stakeholders to be reminded that the path to prosperity, and achievements in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) draws a strong connection between peace and development.
Within this spectrum, the prospects for consensus-building should revel themselves through a well established two-way relationship where security and development are the pinnacles to define any level of involvement in international and regional cooperation.
By going the opposite direction would be a foolish attempt to further nurture the paths of conflict for the country.
The long and shaky history of Haiti has taught us some valuable lessons to know by now that socio-political upheavals can drain to the maximum a country’s capacity to attain and sustain reasonable economic growth and investments.

And as a matter of fact, the prerogatives now are to map out a cohesive operational framework to rally and deploy, compensatory investments to strengthen the state infrastructures, and moreover clear the ways for a sound judicial and security system.
Rights-Based Approaches (RBAs) should be the quorum to further enlarge the process of cooperation for Haiti.

*Further Insights on the IDB project for the expansion of rural supply chains in Haiti

Sunday, October 29, 2006 

A new Caribbean economy beckons

published: Sunday | October 29, 2006

Late last November when Commonwealth leaders met in Malta, a blunt exchange took place between Caribbean heads of government and the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair.
It reflected a sense, then preva-lent across the region, that the United Kingdom could have done more with its European Union (EU) counterparts to ameliorate the impact of the European Commission's (EC) proposal to cut the price of sugar by 36 per cent over three years.

Full Article



Capacity Development and ICT: Rallying the Strength of Media Tools to Sustain Development Goals and Inclusive Access to Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for the Poor

Photo: Courtesy of the Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

An idea that sprung from the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), and to date has proven quite successful is the use of media instruments to engage and strengthen capacity for local organizations to tackle development issues.

As part of this platform, the COL has emphasized a clear link toward policy and program implementation, and ICT as a support mechanism to attack poverty and sustain the deployment and promotion of micro-schemes for entrepreneurships and employment.

It is good to know that this program from its inception was first introduced in the Caribbean, through the development of partnerships between ministries and the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization).


Friday, October 27, 2006 

Cayman Islands: Tackling Aid Effectiveness and Regional Cooperation
And straight from the Cayman Islands came this announcement in regards to the implementation of the National Study of Living Conditions, and its future fallouts to link new disbursements for disaster funding, see here and here.

For the Cayman Islands these perspectives highlight a positive shift for planning capacities by setting up closer steps toward regional cooperation with the CARICOM organization, and also imprint upon future prospects liaised with aid disbursements or aid effectiveness by opening a new window of opportunities for development practitioners and policy-makers.

Under this umbrella, the possibilities to re-examine the various factors that lie behind the process of aid allocation, will help to expand analytical grounds by channeling the best reliable information to better grasp the depths of some indicators vis-à-vis project performance, and the theoretical and empirical data that could make a policy process “Work”.



Major conference on Caribbean investment to take place in London

LONDON, England, October 27, 2006 - 'Transforming the Caribbean economy - new avenues for investment' is the title of of a conference on the Caribbean economy to hosted by the British government on November 2 at the initiative of Prime Minister Tony Blair.

It will explore how within two decades the Caribbean economy is likely to change dramatically as preference ends and the region comes to be dominated by the services sector, tourism and allied industries, manufacturing and a new and better integrated agricultural economy.

Full Article


Friday, October 20, 2006 

Juggling in the Web of Politics, and a Barbadian Definition about the ‘Cost-of-Living”
As treacherous as it can be, the involvement of political gamuts to define national agendas, and the creation of strategies to define poverty levels, can leave development practitioners with sour tastes in their mouths.
I read this article in the NationNews (Barbados) where from all accounts a race toward political strategizing is illuminating the definitions and interpretations of “Cost-of-Living”; “Housing Needs” and “Land Ownership”.

Come on Mr. Politicians! Try not to make things harder when it comes to the real assessments of poverty levels, and impacts of economic growth.

By engaging fully into this political apparatus, the problems are gonna be compounded, as to effectively grasp and gain information to reduce poverty through a broad spectrum of decisions and policies.
Inequalities and disparities are no mythical constructs, and the creation of practical actions to counter these ills, are before all pro-active processes where the contributions to the knowledge of policy-makers and national organizations require more than stiff rhetoric to address the needs of low-income people.

We know for sure that the determinants of poverty evolve over-time, and providing key resources and capacities to tackle such issues as employment, living wage laws could certainly help to narrow the economic divide, rather than the constructs of political and development fallacies.


Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA)
Thursday, October 19th, 2006

UN Delegations: Consider St. Lucia for the Security Council’s Latin American Seat

Guatemala and Venezuela have persistently fallen short of the two thirds majority needed to secure GRULAC’s (the UN’s Latin American and Caribbean caucus) seat in the UN Security Council (UNSC) after more than two days of voting and 22 grueling rounds of balloting. Now, into the third day of voting, the results read: Guatemala 110, Venezuela 77. Voting was suspended on Tuesday until today, Thursday October 19, giving Venezuela and Guatemala’s ringmaster and vociferous supporter – the United States –time to lobby other governments into supporting their respective camps, or to consider a compromised third nominee.../...


The EPAs (Economic Partnership Agreements): Mythical and Unbalanced options between the E.U and the Caribbean
There are clear options to balance when it comes to the prospects liaised with the European Union’s EPAs and how this process could impact upon any comprehensive development approach for the Caribbean. In the words of the Jamaican Foreign Affairs Minister:

We are concerned that (EU) negotiators are extremely focused on market access for the EU with little attention to market building or the development component of the EPAs," Jamaican Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Anthony Hylton said.

“Development must remain the priority,” he told a conference on the talks which were launched nearly four years ago and are now homing in on core details ahead of an en-2007 deadline.

As it seems more than apparent, and to rejoin these many concerns, any agreement or framework between a large market such as the E.U, and small economies will always frame some slippery slopes vis-à-vis the sustainability behind such mechanism, and the kinda deficits it can bring on weaker partners, as they try to weigh policy options to tackle free-market dynamics.

Despite the fact that the DOHA ‘Development’ talks have been on a stand-still, the E.U is still pushing forward negotiations for the EPAs (Economic Partnership Agreements). And in the lights of these perspectives, we have to acknowledge that negotiation terms have been clearly unbalanced with huge disparities in the distribution of negotiating powers. And for the Caribbean, the proposed configurations to address trading capacities, market access to E.U are antagonistic measures that will set asymmetries to attain certain goals and objectives for regional cooperation/integration, and viable national plannings for development purposes.

For the future, these are clear concerns, given the fact that such established directives will strongly impede upon the process of regionalization by altering the harmonization of rules between CARIFORUM members, and intra-ACP trade.

Thursday, October 19, 2006 

19th October
Deaths From Non-Communicable Diseases Increase
By Bianca Symonette
The number of deaths in The Bahamas due to chronic non-communicable diseases rose from nearly 45 percent of all deaths in 2001 to just under 60 percent in 2003, according to Minister of Health Dr. Bernard Nottage.

Full Article

Wednesday, October 18, 2006 

Micro-credit and the Poor, Learning by Experiences: The Case of Sogesol in Haiti
With the recent recognition bestowed upon Muhammed Yunus, founder of the micro-credit movement (The Noble Peace Prize 2006), micro-credit programs have been rolling at full speed as more and more governments and multi-lateral organizations are setting them up as cornerstone of their poverty reduction policies.

The principles as simple and straightforward: matching neo-liberal market models, with access and provisions of financial and banking services (micro-loans) to the poor, in order to increase incomes and self-employments.
Of course, it goes without saying that this approach has also been targeted by critics that have pointed to the relationships between increase in income levels and poverty reduction which are not linear dynamics, given the fact that the determinants of poverty are also deeply rooted in structural problems. Moreover, the antagonistic positions between market-based development projects and state-led development programs have further influenced the capacity to implement reforms and policies to support effective national strategies, and stabilization of economies and financial sectors.

However, as strong as some critics can voice their concerns, it is undeniable to reckon that advances in the implementation of micro-credit programs are to a certain extent, steps forward in the fight against poverty by enabling alternative practices to address local problems with local solutions.
It is true that the challenges associated with poverty are far from being resolved, but only the fact that micro-credit provides a platform where the poor are guaranteed access to financial services is a way forward to tackle the hurdles vis-à-vis the provision of basic social services (i.e., health, education, among others), and improvements in human development, and capabilities (well-being, livelihoods and freedom to choose).
And it is only through proper reviews and assessments of cases and practices that policy-makers, and development practitioners will be able to gauge to the fullest the potentials and pitfalls that come with micro-credit enterprises.

And as part of this process, the case of Sogesol in Haiti, is an interesting one, where the introduction of micro-credit in the informal sector has beared some fruits through the combination of capacity development schemes, and the application of a business model to strengthen investments, and seeds capital delivered to the poor, in order to facilitate the development of little start-ups, see here.

*Cartoon: Courtesy of Nicholson Cartoons


Cayman debuts in Caribbean Week of Agriculture

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A six-member delegation, which represented the Cayman Islands at the Caribbean Week of Agriculture (CWA) in the Bahamas for the first time, is back home.

Leader of Government Business the Hon Kurt Tibbetts, Minister responsible for Agriculture, led the delegation at the 2 to 7 October event in Nassau.

Full Article


Promoting Caribbean food security
Web Posted - Wed Oct 18 2006
By Nigel Wallace

An impressive line-up of professionals within the agricultural sector of Barbados gathered yesterday to view two displays highlighting the vertical component here in Barbados of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN (FAO)/CARICOM/ CARIFORUM Food Security Project (FSP).

Full Article


Tuesday, October 17, 2006 

Consensus-Building in the Caribbean re Issues in Compliance and Labor Standards
The maintenance and harmonization of stable labor relations is a necessary factor as the expansion of market economy systems call for adaptations in laws and regulations to adjust labor contracts, and coordination mechanisms for labor standards, labor protection and labor handling dispute systems. These pre-requisites translate the needs to guarantee lawful rights, and on the same token to work toward the promotion and strengthening of economic and social development.
As an ongoing process it does require broad consultations with all stakeholders and civil society as means to extract the best values and formulations in the implementation of labor standards.

And in this regard, a Tripartite Employment Forum that was set up by the ILO (International Labour Organization), with the participation of major regional governments in the Caribbean came to conclusions about the relevance and effectiveness of improved compliance for domestic labor laws and regulations (see here).
A whole approach that has been underlining the need to facilitate economic growth and development for the region through improved social protection and dialogue, as strongly emphasized by various resolutions taken by the Caricom Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD).

Caribbean delegates focused on the monitoring and enforcement of existing regulations since it was generally agreed that, in most countries, there had already been attempts to bring legislation in line with accepted principles contained in ratified ILO conventions.

But Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, Director of the International Standards Department of the ILO, reminded participating countries they also needed to ensure all outstanding conventions awaiting ratification are signed on to and applied.


Monday, October 16, 2006 

Sexual Violence against Women and Girls in Jamaica: “Just a Little Sex”
The absolute necessity to advance human rights, and in particular the advancements of women’s right to gender equality have been a critical component behind the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

Within this framework there is a broad recognition of the importance of gender equality as an effective mean to combat poverty, hunger and disease, and at the same time also maintain equilibrium to attain sustainable development goals.

It goes without saying that gender equality is a cross-cutting concern which brings together obligations and commitments from governments in the adoption of policies and regulations comprehensive enough to carry-out strategies, consultations about the development of objectives and implementation of gender-sensitive targets.

And in this paper by Amnesty International, the phenomenon behind sexual violence against girls and women in Jamaica is confronted in the lights of increased breaches and shortcomings in national legislation to address matters of marital rapes, incest and sexual harassment.


Debt Reduction and Control for Nevis: Some Questions about the Policy Conditionalities
In one stroke of googling I read on the Leeward Times that not so long ago, discussions between the IMF and the NIA (Nevis Island Administration) had conveyed some kinda agreements re the pending issues of Nevis debt control.
As a matter of fact, the agenda was set to address this issue by looking into the country’s regime of fiscal policy and tax administration.
And by taking a few steps back, it is worth considering the fact that careful reviews of this proposal have to be taken into account vis-à-vis the current administration’s capacity toward:

  • Additional resources in the context of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
  • It’s impact on governance
  • And its political and technical feasibility

Let’s not forget that the IMF conditionalities have evolved over times to cover government’s policies in the various spectrums of economic and fiscal policy, governance, human rights and the social sectors. Thus, the same conditionalities that have left little fiscal space to address head-on some development priorities, and poverty reduction objectives.

Friday, October 13, 2006 

Manning at the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
In a recent conference that took place at the famous MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Patrick Manning, Prime Minister of Trinidad & Tobago underscored the importance of leadership and progressive thinking for Caribbean leaders.

In a nutshell, his speech delivered some straightforward thinking in regards to future policy options for the region, and the need to stick to comprehensive development agendas, where continuous improvements in standards of living should be the driving keys behind governments’ policies, and adaptations to technological change and sustainable development. (See here)

Thursday, October 12, 2006 

Caribbean islands become Dutch municipalities

by Gijs van den Heuvel*


Bonaire, Saint Eustace and Saba, three small islands in the Caribbean, are to become part of the Netherlands. With this decision the dismantlement of the Netherlands Antilles as a single state within the kingdom of the Netherlands has begun. The three islands have come to an agreement about their future after difficult and lengthy negotiations.

Full Article



The Making of a Stand-by Agreement between the IMF and the Dominican Republic
It was interesting to learn today that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the government of the Dominican Republic (DR) are on the verge to work-out a stand-by agreement.
Quite interesting indeed, when knowing that in order to move this process forward strong requirements are called upon
with the introduction of reforms touching sensitive areas in fiscal policy, and in the electrical sector.

Thus, Mr. Planners, you are urged to carefully weigh all options, otherwise any intention with the best possible mindsets to capitalize on a viable development plan might turn into ashes.

The reasons are compelling, as the integration of a comprehensive stabilization program march on a thin line entrenched between the application of structural adjustment loans and sectoral adjustment financing.
History doesn’t need to be re-written, but rather exploited to the maximum by tapping into lessons learned when it comes to the implementation of macroeconomic programs and objectives in poverty reduction and government spending.


Statistics in Development Planning in the OECS
The OECS has released a discussion paper on the role of statistics in development planning. This endeavor characterizes the need to bridge certain gaps for the region in terms of data production, collection and application.
As a matter of fact, the notion and setting of principles for official statistics is a fundamental approach to redefine the way policy mechanisms are informed where the development of a good system of official statistics should be carried out and based upon rigorous criterion, and standardization.

And the best way to kick-off such a process is through the implementation of a consultative platform to get the message across, and gain substantial assessments and reviews about the position that frame the fundamentals and pre-requisites needed to bind any methodology for national statistical benchmark.

A procedural and mindset change, vis-à-vis the warranted importance of statistics in guiding and informing policies and decisions, are necessary to bring about any deviation from the prevailing irregular significance presently characterizing the operations and functions of central statistical offices. For statistics to play its important role as a public good, statistical systems must make a significant contribution to national development by implementing a strategy that will serve to bring together the most important indicators and data sets within a coherent framework.

Discussion Paper

Wednesday, October 11, 2006 

Roberts: Poverty levels falling in TT
Clint Chan Tack Wednesday, October 11 2006
POVERTY LEVELS in Trinidad and Tobago seem to be falling and Government is making fundings available to communities in order to help them alleviate poverty.

This was the disclosure made by Social Development Minister Anthony Roberts during the Budget debate in the House of Representatives on Monday night.

Full Article


October 11, 2006
IDB launches historic Guyana scheme
By Mark Ramotar
THE Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) yesterday launched a ground-breaking US$100,000 programme aimed at moulding young leaders in several Amerindian communities, especially in the North Rupununi.

Full Article

Tuesday, October 10, 2006 

At-risk Youth and the Development of Social Cohesion Mechanisms: The IDB Expert Panel Debate

The increased surges in youth violence throughout the Caribbean have proven that no communities can be immune from such societal shocks.
The stakes here are huge given the
needs to address this issue in parallel with pro-active steps to strengthen the socio-economic fabric of some of these islands.
Thus a call that brings attention to the analysis of rehabilitation programs coupled with the
appropriate mix in policy and research to drive the implementation of community support schemes.

These aspects are quite vital if any government want to juggle with and drive conducive change to foster better social health among the different strata of any given society.
As it has already been documented, the experiences related to youth violence also encompass non-traditional economic determinants, where multi-causal dynamics harbor new perceptions about the role and impacts of psycho-social adaptations and their relationships to aggression, power and material acquisition.

As a matter of fact, the debate about youth violence and its “ignored aspect” as carried out by the IDB expert panel is a stepping stone toward improved analytical approaches to understand and target the components behind youth delinquency, adult criminality, and their takes on social cohesion, and inclusion versus exclusion.

*Cartoon: Courtesy of Nicholson Cartoons


Making Fiscal Prudence ‘Work’ in Antigua & Barbuda
St John's, Antigua & Barbuda

The stakes are high and the ball is rolling, this can be a message to sump up the position taken by the government of Antigua & Barbuda, vis-à-vis its fiscal policy framework which underlines a call for ‘fiscal prudence’.

Over the past several months, the Government has been grappling with the challenge of meeting a plethora of demands to provide resources to finance a wide array of obligations. These include the repayment of debt, payment of outstanding back pay, salary and wage increases, and Cricket World Cup 2007 preparations.

While the Government is cognizant of the importance of all of these obligations, it must be understood that cash flow constraints make it impossible to meet all of these demands at the same time. In essence, the financial limitations of the Government dictate that there must be some degree of prioritization along with effective planning and management of the Government's scarce financial resources.

So, here we are entering full fledge the challenges liaised with the search and attainment of increase in fiscal space, to tailor fiscal policy according to certain public demands, moral obligations, and the relevance of the fiscal institution to manage spending programs.

As a testing ground for the government, these factors highlight the needs to capitalize on an effective analytical process, where policy and budget formulation have to embrace the diverse scenarios attached to medium and long-term perspectives and their impacts on the fiscal framework.
In this regard, the implementation and application of a fitting institutional development scheme, could help to target the pre-requisites for a multi-year budgeting approach to gauge and extend analytical capabilities re expenditure management, sectoral costing and performance measures (whether in terms of activity or output-based budgeting).

The aims are to sort out the proper adaptation for a fiscal space approach that will take into consideration, and bridge long-term growth and national planning toward poverty reduction strategies.


Tuesday 10,October 2006
Studying locally unaffordable for SSC
WILLEMSTAD – The subsidy that the Foundation for Educational Financing Curacao (SSC) receives is insufficient to finance the costs of students studying locally. Aside from which the educational institutions are also not yet able to manage the offer. During the deans’ conference in Holland this morning the director of SSC, Pieter Spuijbroek, asked for the option to allow students to make use of the Dutch educational system so Curacao can revamp their own system on objectives, offers, and affordability.

Full Article

Monday, October 09, 2006 

CSME exports bearing fruit, says Arthur
Published on: 10/9/06.
by Julie Wilson
DISMISS THE CRITICS; the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) has begun to bear fruit in Barbados.

Prime Minister Owen Arthur, one of the main driving forces behind the creation of the CSME, shared the good news as he addressed a Caribbean Community Secretariat/University of the West Indies (UWI) symposium on a developmental vision for the CSME at the Savannah Hotel yesterday.

Full Article

Sunday, October 08, 2006 

Remittance Flows, BOP: Mapping out Development Outcomes

The undergoing developments that have been touching the remittances market have un-shrouded new shifts for development strategies, where increased attentions from private sector corporations in the banking and financial services are trying to tap into this economic boom, through the integration of technological tools and financial mechanisms to streamline capital flows and direct investments.

With those latest breakthroughs, we have been witnessing a trend where the development of seamless transactions in the remittances business are also heralded by some as effective ways forward to bring-in and strengthen development outcomes for some local economies.

Ok, these arguments are close to C.K. Prahalad’s theory in respect to market-based transactions, and bottom-line narratives, where the role of the poor in any market-given transaction is viewed as an active economic agent (for more on that, see Christine Bower’s Post on PSD Blog) enshrined around three building blocks, which are:

  • The significance of purchasing power at the Bottom of the Pyramid
  • Selling to the poor as a strategy for growth and wealth creation for them
  • Large Multi-national corporations have to be leaders and catalyst for change in this process

Not that these perspectives can’t stay undisputed, but which will not be part of this post, I would like to point to this effort to better analyze, and learn about the impacts of remittances.
As a matter of fact, the IDB (Inter-American Development Bank) has been developing a wonderful database that will map out for Latin-America and the Caribbean (LAC), remittance flows and historical data for the region, quite interesting though: Migrant-Remittances as a Development Tool

* Cartoon: Courtesy of Nicholson Cartoons


Could it be fair to talk about Progressive Governance and Rule of Law toward Haiti’s Position for A CARICOM Membership?

I happened to read an interesting article on the Jamaican Gleaner about the dilemmas that will hit shores, with the prospects of a regional integration framework with in its midst the questions about Haiti, and what it could mean for this country a possible seat in the CARICOM membership.

As interesting as those issues can be, the author points to a sharp and crucial differentiation that brings in questions about Haiti’s legacy in the structure of its judicial system to assess the policy agenda for the region.

The integration of Haiti into CARICOM remains the biggest challenge, which the community has yet to face, owing to the social, linguistic, judicial, political, and economic obstacles to be overcome. How will we reconcile Haiti's judicial system, which is based on the French Napoleonic Code, with the Caribbean Court of Justice's English common law regime? Owing to IMF dictates, Haiti has the lowest tariffs in the region. The question of tariff harmonisation will also have to be resolved if Haiti is to join CARICOM's Common External Tariff. Many quandaries still remain to be sorted out. If this integration is achieved, however, it will be CARICOM's most rewarding milestone, and a great triumph for the hemisphere as a whole.

In fact, it’s very exciting and challenging to adopt a comparative analysis re Haiti’s judicial system, and the premises of the Caribbean regional integration machinery, which for many reasons open windows of opportunities for the policy framework. And not to the least, are the beliefs in progressive governance, adaptation to the rule of law, and the principles of South-South cooperation and dialogue. Where these perspectives bring-forth a more symmetrical landscape to carry out and analyze effective development strategies to challenge and counter the aggravation of inequalities.

As a matter of fact, the crystallization of regionalization and regional integration goes way beyond typical economic formulas, as to encompass future shared set of values that evolve around the determinants of freedom, equity and solidarity, non-violence and shared responsibility.

By moving along these dots, ways to address similar development challenges can translate themselves into practical assets for co-operation, and the implementation of a joint approach to combat globalized threats, i.e., in the case of human security which involves matters of drug and human trafficking, transnational crime, environmental degradation, poverty and disease proliferation.

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