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Combine security assets for citizens’ safety – SG LaRocque urges Security Ministers at CONSLE

Posted in: Press Releases | 13 November 2015 | Release Ref #: 173/2015 | 3312

    Remarks by the Secretary-General  Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Ambassador Irwin LaRocque  On the Occasion of the   SIXTEENTH MEETING OF THE COUNCIL FOR NATIONAL SECURITY AND LAW ENFORCEMENT (CONSLE)  TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO


    I regret that I am unable to be with you at this very important Meeting.  It is clear that the serious and pressing nature of security issues in our Community demand our collective urgent attention.  This is a matter that affects us nationally and regionally, as the threats spread beyond borders.  It was in recognition of this fact that the Conference agreed to make Crime and Security the 4th pillar of the Community and, more recently, approved a CARICOM Crime and Security Strategy to clearly articulate our regional security framework.

    The pristine image of our Community as a “zone of peace”, safe, stable and welcoming, is being assailed by unacceptable levels of crime.  There is sufficient evidence to point to the fact that transnational crime is fuelling serious domestic criminal activities within Member States.  Additionally, the recent terror threat advancing globally, adds another dimension to the dynamics of transnational organized crimes and violence being perpetrated regionally.  The Region is directly involved as transit route, safe haven, and destination for illicit trafficking activities in arms, drugs and humans.


    Against that background, it is imperative that we bring to bear our collective security assets in the Community to try to ensure the safety of our citizens.  This demands a high level of co-ordination and co-operation among our Member States.  We have great examples of the effect of what that can achieve through the work of the Joint Regional Communications Centre (JRCC) and the Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS). It is also evident in the operations of the Regional Intelligence Fusion Centre which allows for information sharing within the Community.


    These two agencies have proven their worth, and the regional commitment to their establishment is equally necessary in other areas, particularly in the finalisation of legislation and other legal instruments to support the regional crime and security architecture.  There are a number of these instruments which are required for implementation of our Security Strategy, and the Secretariat is committed to supporting the review and conclusion of these, with the required policy guidance of the CONSLE. I also call on the Legal Affairs Committee to pay more urgent attention to these legal instruments.


    Included is the Protocol Amending the Revised Treaty to incorporate CONSLE as an organ of the Community, and IMPACS as an Institution of the Community.  This is both timely and critical to reinforce the establishment of Security as the Fourth Pillar.


    Let us resolve at this Meeting to put that legislative framework in place, bearing in mind that ensuring the sustained success of the elements of this architecture, requires both leadership and adequate financing.  The signal that taking such positive steps will send, will serve to strengthen the confidence of our international partners who have been supportive of our efforts to tackle the situation. 


    Our efforts must also include a thrust towards crime prevention.  Our youth are being disproportionately represented, both as victims and perpetrators of crime, and this is extremely worrying.  In that regard, we welcome the assistance of the United States, through the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), in the conduct of a successful Workshop on Youth at Risk and Vulnerable Populations.  It is envisioned that there will be offers by Member States to host other similar workshops so as to continue the momentum into 2016.


    Another major partner, the European Union, is rendering assistance in other aspects through the 10th and 11th EDF, and the rollout of activities under these programmes is expected for 2016 and beyond.


    The United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) also continues to be a significant partner in supporting elements of our Regional Crime and Security Strategy.


    Ministers, it is my hope that your Meeting today advances not only the regional security agenda, but also the prospects for a safe and a secure Caribbean Community.