U.S. State Department Geographic Bureaus: Latin America Bureau

U.S. Department of State
96/03/01 Statement: Extradition/Maritime Treaties, Trinidad/Tobago
Office of the Spokesman

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman

(Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago)
_____________________________________________________________________
For Immediate Release March 4, 1996

STATEMENT BY NICHOLAS BURNS, SPOKESMAN

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
SIGNING OF EXTRADITION AND MUTUAL LEGAL ASSISTANCE TREATIES
MARITIME COUNTER-DRUG COOPERATION AGREEMENT

Secretary of State Warren Christopher and Prime Minister Basdeo Panday of Trinidad and Tobago signed two treaties and one agreement on March 4 at a ceremony at the Prime Minister's office. The two treaties and an agreement signed by the Secretary on behalf of the United States with the Government of Trinidad and Tobago are: an extradition treaty, a mutual legal assistance treaty, and a maritime counter-narcotics cooperation agreement. These treaties are expected to greatly facilitate cooperation on law enforcement between our two countries.

The current extradition treaty in force between the United States Government and Trinidad and Tobago is the United States - United Kingdom extradition treaty dating from December 22, 1931. This treaty was made applicable to Trinidad and Tobago upon its independence. The United States is in the process of replacing this treaty with modern treaties in the region which are more effective and easy to implement. It will enhance both countries' capabilities to bring criminals to justice, especially those involved in drug related crimes. Similar treaties have been negotiated with Barbados and the other Eastern Caribbean islands.

The mutual legal assistance treaty will improve law enforcement between the United States and Trinidad. It will facilitate the investigation, prosecution, and prevention of crime in a variety of areas. Some of these areas are: providing documents and records, taking testimony of persons, executing requests for search and seizure, transferring persons in custody to provide testimony or otherwise participate in trial preparation or at trial, and assisting in the identification and forfeiture of the instrumentalities of crime.

The maritime counter-narcotics cooperation agreement spells out the terms under which law enforcement officials of either country may serve as ship riders on each other's vessels, including the extent to which they may participate in counter-narcotics operations while so embarked. The agreement provides for ship boarding in international waters. It also contains Trinidad and Tobago's consent for U.S. aircraft engaged in law enforcement operations to overfly its territory and order aircraft suspected of drug-trafficking to land.

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