Caribbean governments and the United States have jointly committed to enhancing Caribbean Basin Security Initiative objectives to reduce illicit trafficking, as well as to increase safety and security and prevent youth crime and violence.
The commitment was made during their meeting in Washington on the 10th anniversary of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative.
To reduce illicit trafficking, the governments agreed to a 10-point plan which includes convening a technical working group meeting to combat transnational organised crime and terrorism to confront money laundering and financial crime.
A 10-point plan was also agreed upon to increase safety and security. It includes improving police-juvenile interactions.
Addressing the meeting in Washington, Grenada’s Minister with responsibility for Disaster Management and Information, Senator Hon. Winston Garraway said foremost among the challenges faced is the threat of firearms, which is responsible for more than 75% of the region’s murder rate.
He pointed out that functional co-operation with the US is key if this problem is to be solved. ‘We are prepared to make, and remain committed to making progress on advancing and strengthening initiatives with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), including a call for greater presence of ATF Agents situation in Caricom, and fully support the further development of the Regional Integrated Ballistic Information Network (RIBIN), as a key tool to solve gun crimes.’
Speaking on behalf of the Chair of (CONSLE), the Council for National Security and Law Enforcement, Sen. Garraway pointed to the importance of technology to tackle crime and enhance security, and made reference to the Advanced Passenger Information System, the Advanced Cargo Information System, and the Caricom Watch List System, to increase risk assessment capabilities. “Technology is a greater enabler in the fight against crime and the protection of our citizens. To ensure an adequate response, investment in critical ICT infrastructure, modern equipment is needed.”
He is heartened by what he referred to as a genuine desire to co-operate and collaborate in a variety of areas to safeguard citizens, build capacity, and to create opportunities for prosperity and the development of the region’s economies. In closing, he said, “We must ensure that there are mechanisms in place for us to benefit from the expertise within the regulatory authorities and access to resources from the various funding agencies. The region need support to adequately address challenges that we are confronting.”
The next High-Level Security Cooperation Dialogue will be held in the Caribbean in May 2020.