Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Dianne McIntosh, says strengthening the capacity of law enforcement across the region to deal with large crowds and major events is critical, particularly with the ever present threat and danger of terrorism.
Ms. McIntosh stressed that small island states, particularly in the Caribbean, must continue to confront the challenges of transnational organised crimes, and at the same time be aware of the need to support and facilitate large scale events, to ensure the safety and security of officials and the public.
She was speaking at the opening of a sub-regional workshop for Caribbean countries on: ‘Security for major events’, held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, in Kingston, on March 21.
“In light of the danger of terrorism…and crimes, such as the smuggling of contraband, firearms and ammunition; and illicit drugs and money laundering, this workshop deserves utmost priority, focused attention, support and even ongoing improvements, in order for law enforcement operatives to improve their capabilities,” the Permanent Secretary said.
She argued that it is only through collaboration and co-operation that these goals can be achieved, pointing to the timeliness of the workshop, in light of the upcoming celebrations for the country’s 50th anniversary.
Ms. McIntosh said that some of the benefits to be derived from the workshop include: an all encompassing engagement of the experts in major events planning with a view to sharing knowledge, expertise and best practice; the forging of closer ties between regional and international counterparts; and the creation of lasting network and partnerships.
For his part, High Commissioner of Canada to Jamaica, His Excellency Stephen Hallihan, said preventive action and intelligence planning from the earliest onset is vital in ensuring the safety of lives.
In her remarks, Organisation of American States (OAS) Representative to Jamaica, Dr. Joan Neil, said protecting major events means protecting opportunities for socio-economic development, not just for the country in which the event takes place, but for the entire region.
Large scale events which were successfully held in the Caribbean include: the staging of World Cup Cricket in 2007; the Summit of Americas and the Commonwealth Heads of Government meetings in April 2010.
The objectives of the workshop are: to contribute to the development of security strategies to protect major events and so contribute to overall crime prevention; to promote multi-sectoral approaches, such as public/private partnerships; and to promote legacy factors from major events security, in the field of crime prevention.
Participating countries include: Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.
The workshop was sponsored by the Government of Canada, the OAS and the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI).
By Chris Patterson, JIS Reporter