JIS News

CARICOM territories seem poised to benefit from international alliances with Britain and the United States, that are geared towards enhancing security initiatives in the Caribbean region.
This was disclosed by Minister of National Security, Dr. Peter Phillips as he officially opened the first ever meeting of the Ministerial Sub-Committee of Attorneys General and Ministers of National Security of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston.
Dr. Phillips told the group on Friday (Jan. 9) that the mobilization of resources, for regional crime prevention and security initiatives, was the main objective of the two-day (January 9-10), meeting of the Ministerial Sub-Committee.
Pointing to indications of help in this regard, Minister Phillips, told the group that the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair, in his response to the meeting with CARICOM heads of government with him, last December, has indicated his interest in facilitating the process of resource mobilization and the refinement of security strategies.
The National Security Minister also informed the gathering, “We expect the fulfilment soon of the commitment given by the President of the United States [George Bush], to facilitate a meeting between the CARICOM Ministers of Security and the Secretary for Homeland Security in the United States [Tom Ridge]”. He stressed, “we have to bear in mind that impending meeting, and the need for us to fashion our own approaches, in the light of those two sets of contacts that we will have, with our major international partners”.
The perceived need for a regional approach to crime fighting and security, Dr. Phillips noted, has its roots as far back as 1992, when the report of the West Indian Commission on the Caribbean Community, issued in a document called ‘Time For Action’, that there was an urgent need for the region to develop regional security arrangements.
“So that small countries like those in CARICOM and indeed in the wider Caribbean,” Minister Phillips noted, “would not be held hostage by the vulnerability of their smallness and have their development jeopardized by the threat of crime, or by the need for major military expenditures or other security expenditures,” he added.
This need has been exacerbated by the events of “9/11”, the trade of illegal narcotics through the Caribbean, and the impending single market and economy in the region, he noted.
Upon the meeting’s conclusion, Minister Phillips said he would submit a report to the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Mr. Patrick Manning, who has the lead responsibility for Crime and Security among the CARICOM Heads of Government. The twin-island republic, he also noted, was to be thanked for its financing of the work of the Secretariat for the Taskforce on Crime and Security.

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