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The Region has been receiving much international co-operation on security matters to host the ICC Cricket World Cup (CWC) 2007, which is the world’s third largest event, after the Olympics and FIFA World Cup Football.
This is being co-ordinated through the International Support and Advisory Group (ISAG), established by the Region with assistance from the British government, which seconded two experts previously in charge of a similar process during the 2004 Olympics, held in Greece.
The Group has been meeting since July with CWC host countries and the United States.
Giving a further update on ISAG, Deputy Prime Minister of Barbados and Chair of the Security Committee for the ICC CWC 2007, Mia Mottley said that in recent times, there has been a move to also include countries from Latin and Central America, to also assist in areas where there was a deficit.
She was addressing a recent press briefing during the Sixth Meeting of the Bureau of the Council of Ministers of National Security and Law Enforcement in Trinidad and Tobago.
“People should be aware that there is no country in the world today that can host a global sporting event without having international co-operation,” she stressed.
“For example, when Greece staged the last Olympics, there was an international support advisory group that reflected support from different countries and NATO, in respect to assistance in maritime matters, air surveillance and ground control,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.
This was also the case in Germany, where foreign police assisted the government in crowd control, particularly where there were language issues. “Obviously, the domestic police force may not speak the language of all of the countries that are coming,” she noted.
With the current linkages formed through ISAG, Miss Mottley said that in the event of any major incident or issue, the Region would not have to make first-time overtures to countries, as contingency plans would already be in place, which would see members of the global community coming to the Region’s aid.
“There is the need for us to be able to meet all kinds of threats that exist and where there are still deficits, after looking at what is the total number of experts within the region. We have gotten commitments in specialized areas of policing, bomb detection, Chemical, and Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) threats to be able to have assistance from the international community,” Miss Mottley noted.
Equally, assistance is being received in relation to the public health aspect of the event. “We also have to take public health and port health seriously in the context of single domestic space and we have gotten significant assistance already from the Canadian government and European Union in relation to the commitment to place one epidemiologist in each of the 10 countries,” she informed.
The Region is currently seeking to have negotiations completed in relation to other public health assistance from other governments, with the help of ISAG.
“You will recognize it has been a significant accomplishment for us to have this mechanism, which in fact, fast tracks our negotiations and requests with the international community,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.
Highlighting some of the important international collaborations, Miss Mottley pointed out that the Region has been working “very closely” with the British government, which was providing excellent support in relation to visa arrangements for visitors during the event and, wherever there have been deficiencies, in terms of training and other support issues. The Americans have provided technical assistance also with the Advance Passenger Information System (APIS), which will be used when screening applicants for visas.
The South African government has also indicated the desire to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Region in relation to the deployment of personnel and assets to help with some issues. “As you know, we have to man the maritime environment, the domestic environment, air space from the beginning of the games to the end, from a security perspective, and also from a public and port health perspective,” she pointed out.
In the event of any type of mass emergency or disaster preparedness issue within the region, the Deputy Prime Minister revealed that there were plans in place for each of the countries. “We are working with the international communities to also ensure that we have the capacity to do mass evacuations across the region, in the event it becomes necessary,” she said.
“We want the work to be superfluous come May 1… It would be highly irresponsible and reckless of us as governments not to have put all these plans in place, because at the end of the day, a significant event can have deleterious consequences, not just for a part of the region, but in many instances, because of the size of our countries, we really have no margin for error in relation to the management of any major issue,” Miss Mottley added.