|Officials at the Diplomatic Centre Tuesday|
Mr Vice President, as lead CARICOM Head on the issue of Regional Security, I take this opportunity today to convey the region’s progress in the implementation of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CSBI), including priorities for enhancing our security partnerships and national security policies towards strengthening citizen safety and economic growth.
I wish to also highlight the importance of the Arms Trade Treaty and CBSI programmes to help stem the flow of small arms into and through the Caribbean, and to address the issues of immigration reform and criminal deportation.
The region is actively pursuing the development of a Regional Counter Illicit Trafficking Strategy.
These are all part of a comprehensive security apparatus that includes Caricom’s Crime and Security Strategy adopted at our Head of Government conference in February this year.
The goal of the CCSS, as you recall, is to significantly improve citizen security by creating a safe, just and free Community, while simultaneously improving the economic viability of the region.
It represents an historic milestone in our efforts to create a secure region in terms of peace, freedom, democracy and development. I daresay Mr. President that a secure Region redounds not only to our benefit, but also to the benefit of U.S. nationals who visit our respective countries for business or recreation purposes.
We trust that in our deliberations today we would seek to have our ally, the United States of America, reiterate its firm support for our regional security initiatives
I note the adoption of an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) by the United Nations on April 2, 2013 that establishes common international standards for the regulation of international trade in conventional arms.
The harsh statistic is that 70 per cent of homicides in our region are committed with illegal guns, which makes this treaty of particular significance.
The Treaty would be open for signatures and ratification next week – June 2, 2013 – at the UN General Assembly and will enter into force after it has been ratified by 50 States.
We urge the U.S. to support this treaty and use its influence to promote the signing, ratification and implementation of the treaty as well as providing technical and other resources to assist CARICOM member states in the implementation of the treaty.
Colleagues as I close, I note another particularly important issue – that of criminal deportees.
We believe that there should be an increased focus should be placed on improved information and intelligence sharing with respect to criminal deportees, in particular access to complete dossiers on medical and criminal history.
Mr Vice President I thank you.