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Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security, Senator the Hon. Arthur Williams Jnr. will participate in this week’s Ministerial Conference on Security, Drug Trafficking, Transnational Organized Crime and Terrorism as Challenges to Development in the Caribbean in the Dominican Republic.
The conference which is organized by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC) and the Government of the Dominican Republic takes place in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic February 17-20 2009.
Minister Williams has welcomed the opportunity to participate in the conference, noting that the issues to be discussed affect most of the countries within the region. He said Jamaica’s participation is crucial to ensure that the country’s concerns are taken fully into account.
He also noted the drugs for guns trade with Haiti, pointing to the need for continued collaboration between the countries in the region to not only eradicate this problem, but also that of drug trafficking, money laundering and other crimes in the CARICOM region.
Minister Williams said given the nature of the region, where crimes which affect one country, ultimately affect another, means the problem needs continued action by all countries in the CARICOM region, working together with their regional and international partners.
Senior officials, high-level experts and representatives from civil society and regional organizations including the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS), will also participate in the Conference.
In June 2008, the UNODC signalled that it would engage Caribbean Governments in an initiative to formulate an Action Plan, with the objective of generating resources for the development of programmes and projects to assist governments in combating escalating crime and violence in the region. The UNDOC indicated that this new initiative might also assist in the re-opening of the UNDOC Regional Office in Barbados, which had been closed in part due to high operational costs.
The UNDOC’s undertaking to assist Caribbean governments and the convening of the Ministerial Conference follows the release in March 2007 of a Joint Report of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, together with the Latin American and the Caribbean Region of the World Bank, entitled “Crime, Violence, and Development: Trends, Costs and Policy Options in the Caribbean”.
The Report focuses on issues including conventional crime, organized crime, risk factors for crime and violence, the socio-economic cost of crime and the public policy of crime and violence prevention in the Caribbean region. Using case studies from the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, the Netherlands Antilles, the Dominican Republic and Trinidad and Tobago, the Report examines critical issues including youth violence, criminal deportations, drug trafficking, the contribution of the criminal justice system to the control of crime, and violence and guns and crime. The findings of the Joint Report will underpin the Conference’s discussions and decisions.
The overall objective of the Conference is to develop a regional strategy (an Action Plan) that would strengthen the response of Caribbean Governments, including The Bahamas, to the many very serious challenges drug trafficking, transnational organized crime, security and terrorism present, or could present, to development in the Caribbean region.
The Conference will be convened in two parts. In the first part, to take place 17-18 February 2009, Senior Officials/Experts from Caribbean countries will review the agenda of the Ministers’ Meeting. In addition to discussing matters on the Conference’s agenda, the Officials/Experts will also complete drafts of the two documents the Ministers will consider and adopt, a Political Declaration and an Action Plan.
In reviewing the threats and challenges posed by illicit drugs, transnational organized crime and related matters, the Ministerial part of the Conference, to be held 19-20 February 2009, will discuss issues including Law and Enforcement and Organized Crime, the Legal Framework, Drug Demand Reduction, and National Strategies for Countering Terrorism and Transnational Organized Crime.