Rowley: Robust regional security is essential

Fol­low­ing are the open­ing re­marks de­liv­ered by Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley at the 19th Spe­cial Meet­ing of the CARI­COM Heads of Gov­ern­ment on Se­cu­ri­ty cur­rent­ly tak­ing place in Port-of-Spain:

On be­half of the Gov­ern­ment and peo­ple of the Re­pub­lic of Trinidad and To­ba­go, I ex­tend, as Lead Head of Gov­ern­ment for Crime and Se­cu­ri­ty in the CARI­COM Qua­si-Cab­i­net of the CARI­COM Coun­cil for Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty and Law En­force­ment (CON­SLE), a warm wel­come to this 19th Spe­cial Meet­ing of the Con­fer­ence of Heads of State and Gov­ern­ment of the Caribbean Com­mu­ni­ty on Se­cu­ri­ty.

Our meet­ing to­day comes a mere five months af­ter we al­so host­ed the 18th Spe­cial Meet­ing of the Con­fer­ence of Heads of Gov­ern­ment of CARI­COM on the CARI­COM Sin­gle Mar­ket and Econ­o­my (CSME) in De­cem­ber, last year. Dur­ing that meet­ing we stressed the im­por­tance of se­cu­ri­ty sys­tems for the ef­fec­tive func­tion­ing of the CSME, in par­tic­u­lar, the free move­ment regime and we al­so agreed that this spe­cial meet­ing on Se­cu­ri­ty would be con­vened ear­ly in 2019.

Col­leagues, I re­call pledg­ing as lead Head of Gov­ern­ment with re­spon­si­bil­i­ty for crime and se­cu­ri­ty in the CARI­COM Qua­si Cab­i­net, to take an ac­tive role in all mat­ters per­tain­ing to re­gion­al se­cu­ri­ty. That pledge has not waned and as we sit to dis­cuss and de­ter­mine the way for­ward in the “Man­age­ment of the Re­gion­al Se­cu­ri­ty Frame­work,” we are aware that the sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment of our Com­mu­ni­ty de­pends on the safe­ty and se­cu­ri­ty of our cit­i­zens.

The re­gion has ex­pe­ri­enced an evo­lu­tion in se­cu­ri­ty threats, in­clud­ing but not lim­it­ed to glob­al­iza­tion and the re­sult­ing im­pact of il­le­gal hu­man and nar­co-traf­fick­ing, mon­ey laun­der­ing, il­le­gal mi­gra­tion and de­por­ta­tion, grow­ing rad­i­cal­ism and ter­ror­ism, and the ap­pli­ca­tion of tech­nol­o­gy, the emer­gence of pri­va­ti­za­tion of se­cu­ri­ty, eco­nom­ic is­sues, en­vi­ron­men­tal and health is­sues.

Our Re­gion­al Se­cu­ri­ty Frame­work is the mech­a­nism through which greater col­lab­o­ra­tion among the Re­gion­al Se­cu­ri­ty Forces and Re­gion­al In­sti­tu­tions and oth­er en­ti­ties will op­er­ate, in our ef­forts to com­bat transna­tion­al crime and oth­er se­cu­ri­ty threats. I main­tain that a ro­bust re­gion­al se­cu­ri­ty ar­chi­tec­ture is es­sen­tial to the se­cu­ri­ty of mem­ber states.

Giv­en that we are in the process of fine-tun­ing our re­gion­al se­cu­ri­ty ar­chi­tec­ture, the role and im­por­tance of CARI­COM IM­PACS be­comes even more sig­nif­i­cant as we re­view the Man­age­ment Frame­work for Crime and Se­cu­ri­ty. Trinidad and To­ba­go, in the 20th Meet­ing of the CON­SLE last month in Grena­da al­so com­mit­ted to reg­u­lar­iz­ing our fi­nan­cial con­tri­bu­tions to IM­PACS.

The CON­SLE ac­cept­ed the rec­om­men­da­tion that a job analy­sis be con­duct­ed for the po­si­tion of the Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor. Trinidad and To­ba­go has of­fered to as­sist in the ex­e­cu­tion of the job analy­sis.

Dur­ing the meet­ing of the CON­SLE, the CARI­COM Sec­re­tari­at pre­sent­ed rel­e­vant find­ings and rec­om­men­da­tions from a re­port of an in­ter­nal au­dit of CARI­COM IM­PACS. The au­dit rec­og­nized that there were some short­com­ings, how­ev­er, IM­PACS is work­ing to cor­rect the rec­og­nized ar­eas and will soon have them ad­dressed.

There is a need for us to de­vel­op a ro­bust le­gal frame­work, as it re­lates to for ex­am­ple, the Ad­vance Pas­sen­ger In­for­ma­tion Sys­tem (APIS) and the Ad­vance Car­go In­for­ma­tion Sys­tem (ACIS) as well the need for the col­lect­ing and shar­ing of in­for­ma­tion. Le­gal Se­cu­ri­ty In­stru­ments that are still out­stand­ing must be signed and rat­i­fied by Mem­ber States. For ex­am­ple, one (1) more rat­i­fy­ing state is re­quired for the CARI­COM Ar­rest War­rant Treaty to be en­tered in­to ef­fect.

Trinidad and To­ba­go has adopt­ed the In­te­grat­ed Bal­lis­tic Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion Sys­tem (IBIS) ven­dor’s rec­om­mend­ed pro­to­col and pro­ce­dure for ac­qui­si­tion of ev­i­dence. Ca­pac­i­ty build­ing, in the area of Bal­lis­tic in­for­ma­tion shar­ing, re­mains a chal­lenge, but CARI­COM IM­PACS will con­tin­ue to work close­ly with the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca (US) on this is­sue, since a sig­nif­i­cant amount of guns and am­mu­ni­tion present in our re­gion, are man­u­fac­tured in the US.

Con­se­quent­ly, to­day’s meet­ing will con­sid­er a pro­pos­al by IM­PACS to agree on the strate­gic ini­tia­tives which could be pur­sued at the Eighth Caribbean-Unit­ed States Se­cu­ri­ty Co­op­er­a­tion High-Lev­el Di­a­logue, which is be­ing host­ed by the Gov­ern­ment of the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca, in Wash­ing­ton DC, on May 16th, 2019.

There is al­so a move to es­tab­lish the Caribbean IN­TER­POL Li­ai­son Of­fice and I un­der­stand, the or­ga­ni­za­tion has al­ready be­gun work­ing with the Gov­ern­ment of Bar­ba­dos as it re­lates to the Head­quar­ters’ Agree­ment.

Fur­ther, I am to ad­vise, IM­PACS is work­ing with IN­TER­POL to be­gin­ning pro­gram­ming on firearms, cy­ber se­cu­ri­ty and hu­man traf­fick­ing.

Or­gan­i­sa­tions such as the Unit­ed Na­tions, the Or­gan­i­sa­tion of Amer­i­can States, the Eu­ro­pean Union through the Eu­ro­pean De­vel­op­ment Fund (EDF) and the World Cus­toms Or­gan­i­sa­tion are al­so im­ple­ment­ing pro­grammes across the Re­gion, which com­ple­ment ex­ist­ing projects and ac­tiv­i­ties.

We are grate­ful for the sup­port of our in­ter­na­tion­al part­ners but we main­tain that the CARI­COM needs to de­vel­op its own set of pri­or­i­ties on crime pre­ven­tion, firearms, cy­ber-se­cu­ri­ty, ef­fec­tive mon­i­tor­ing and eval­u­a­tion and mar­itime co­or­di­na­tion.

Dur­ing this Spe­cial Meet­ing, we will con­tin­ue to de­ter­mine the way for­ward on a draft Stan­dard­ized Vet­ting Pol­i­cy for Se­cu­ri­ty Per­son­nel to be adopt­ed by the Re­gion.

It should be not­ed that the vet­ting pol­i­cy em­ployed by the Trinidad and To­ba­go Po­lice Ser­vice was sub­mit­ted to CARI­COM IM­PACS, for its con­sid­er­a­tion in the de­vel­op­ment of the Re­gion­al Stan­dard­ized Vet­ting Pol­i­cy.

We are aware of the con­tin­u­ing sit­u­a­tion in Venezuela and we en­dorse the view of the cur­rent Chair­man Prime Min­is­ter Har­ris, who notes that all of us - Heads of Gov­ern­ment - are col­lec­tive­ly charged with en­sur­ing the con­tin­ued se­cu­ri­ty and sta­bil­i­ty of our beloved Caribbean re­gion.

As our meet­ings in Guyana, the Unit­ed Na­tions, Uruguay and Ecuador at­test, en­sur­ing a peace­ful so­lu­tion to the is­sue is our first and fore­most pri­or­i­ty as we work in uni­son to safe­guard our peo­ple’s fu­ture.

Col­league Heads, ladies and gen­tle­men, the se­cu­ri­ty of the fu­ture of the Caribbean Com­mu­ni­ty will be de­ter­mined by our abil­i­ty to more ef­fec­tive­ly and ef­fi­cient­ly re­spond to, and an­tic­i­pate threats to our re­gion’s en­dur­ing in­ter­ests.

This is the essence of strate­gic fore­sight, to iden­ti­fy dri­vers of change, and to con­sid­er po­ten­tial out­comes and in­ter­ests to in­form strate­gic de­ci­sions. Crime and se­cu­ri­ty is the fourth pil­lar of the re­gion­al in­te­gra­tion process and the Coun­cil for Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty and Law En­force­ment (CON­SLE) co­or­di­nates se­cu­ri­ty and law en­force­ment arrange­ments across the Com­mu­ni­ty.

Let us un­der­stand that for us to have a fu­ture we must en­sure that our cit­i­zens are safe and se­cure.


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