Thursday, December 6, 2012

PM Kamla urges regional security chiefs to confront organised crime

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar on Wednesday opened the Third Annual Caribbean–US Security Cooperation Dialogue at the Hyatt in Port of Spain by urging delegates to recommit to substantially reduce illicit trafficking and to advance public safety and security in the region.

She also said it is the responsibility of top security ministers and officials from the region to promote social justice by promoting justice sector, fighting government corruption, and assisting vulnerable populations who are at risk of recruitment into criminal organizations. 

Speaking in her joint capacity as the Chairman of the National Security Council of Trinidad and Tobago and as lead Head of Government in CARICOM with responsibilities for crime and security she said each Caricom country faces a some common problems.

"The ravages of Transnational Organized Crime reach into the smallest island," she said. "
Vessels ply our waters with crews of mixed nationalities and cargoes of deadly drugs worth millions...

"We are dealing with guns and human smuggling, the upsurge of gang warfare, the breakdown of civil security."

She said it is in this context that leaders in the region must be more vigilant and "form a virtual iron Atlantic wall" of protection against these enemies through opportunities provided by the U.S. government.

"I am advised that since financial year 2010 the US Government has allocated approximately $203 million USD for the CBSI and $64 million USD for fiscal year 2012.

"Over the past two and a half years, the opportunities for enhanced training and capacity building were presented through Technical Working Groups, Focus Groups, Bilateral Letters of Agreement and programs implemented by various US agencies.
"Additionally, all of our governments have signed bilateral Letters of Agreement under the CBSI with the US Government," she said.

Speaking about Trinidad & Tobago, the PM said in September 2011, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the US Ambassador signed a Letter of Agreement (LOA) to increase cooperative opportunities for security matters.

The agreement, which was amended in September 2012, provides assistance to local authorities in:
  • Strengthening Counter narcotics Control Capabilities
  • Money Laundering and Financial Crimes
  • Drug Demand Reduction
  • Rule of Law and Human Rights – focusing on Prison Management Corrections; Law Enforcement Professionalization Support,with respect to our Borders and Ports 
She added that Trinidad and Tobago alone has benefited from US$1.6 Million to help develop and implement programs aimed at increasing public security in these areas. 
She also identified some future challenges and offered advice on how to deal with what she called "multidimensional security threats" in a global village that is driven by information communication technology.

She said it is important to strengthen intra-regional partnership through enhanced cooperation and at the
 political, diplomatic and technical levels. 

Persad-Bissessar asked delegates to devise a meaningful way for nations to share information to combat the threats they face.

She also shared her vision for dealing with crime and security, noting that she is considering: 
  • Bolstering up the office of Regional Security in the Office of the Prime Minister so that I may be kept up-to-date on the Caribbean security picture 
  • Evaluating the acquisition of long range fixed wing aircraft that would have a Caribbean reach 
  • Investigating the possibility of cost effective long range patrol vessels
  • Training helicopter pilots to command the long range helicopters
  • Investigating the operational status of our radar systems
  • Convening a CARICOM Security Summit early next year where we can together review progress and the way forward as Caribbean leaders
Persad-Bissesar acknowledged the U.S. as a key strategic partner of the Caribbean States and pledged close collaboration with Washington in "jointly addressing security challenges and in finding solutions to crises that threaten our viability. We are the third border of the USA."

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai