Cocaine seizures across CARICOM Member States, training of police personnel and the provision of fast boats to help curtail maritime criminal activities are among the successes of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), according to a statement issued by the Caricom Secretariat.
These were outlined by Co-chairs of the Fourth Meeting of the CBSI Commission Ms Astonia Browne of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Mr. Juan Alsace of the United States at a press conference on Tuesday following the meeting at the Guyana International Conference Centre Liliendaal.
Ms Browne, who is the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of National Security in St. Kitts and Nevis said the meeting was successful and areas that required improvement were identified. She said some projects that were discussed at the meeting included Advanced Fingerprinting Information System (AFIS), Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS), Regional Integrated Ballistics Information Network (RIBIN), Counter Arms Trafficking and Crime Prevention Efforts in relation to At-risk youth. She stated that one of the aims of CBSI is crime prevention and that there was a focus on deterring at-risk youth from becoming involved in criminal activity while helping them to develop vocational skills.
Alsace, who is the Director of the Office of Caribbean Affairs at the US Department of State said in order to tackle crime effectively in the Region, a careful husbanding of resources from the US and the Region was required. He said areas of improvement identified at the meeting included a more efficient use of resources, information sharing and the establishment of minimum standards across the region.
He said further that the CBSI needed a holistic “whole government” approach with commitment from both the US Government and those of the Member States of CARICOM and the Dominican Republic. He also outlined that to date the US government had dedicated US 263 million dollars to the project over the past four years, of which 60 million was dedicated in 2013.
Permanent Secretary Ministry of Home Affairs, Guyana Angela Johnson, in her remarks, said Guyana welcomed the progress being made by the CBSI to address challenges in relation to at-risk youth, trafficking of firearms, digitizing of Regional ballistic information and the development of advanced fingerprint system for the Region.
The CBSI was established following the Inaugural Caribbean-United States Security Cooperation Dialogue held in Washington, DC on 27 May 2009. It comprises representatives of CARICOM Member States, the United States of America and the Dominican Republic.
Its objective is citizen security and aims to substantially reduce illicit trafficking, increase public safety and security and promote social justice through support and collaboration in areas such as Maritime and Aerial Security Cooperation; Law Enforcement Capacity Building; Border/Port Security and Firearms Interdiction; Justice Sector Reform; Crime Prevention and At Risk Youth.