Port of Spain, Trinidad (Trinidad Express) — Trinidad and Tobago’s Office of the Prime Minister has announced that a Caribbean Security Summitt is to be held in coming months.
The statement in full:
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar SC said she was happy that the United States has agreed to a Caribbean Security Summit which could be held as early as June at a venue to be decided.
During (Thursday’s) CARICOM-US Summit at the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies, Jamaica, Persad-Bissessar called for the Summit to deal with the growing number of issues, which could affect the Caribbean island states, if not checked.
Persad-Bissessar, who is the lead Prime Minister on Crime and Security, initiated discussions today (Thursday) with the visiting United States President, Barack Obama.
Following the Summit, Persad and her delegation left for Panama for the Seventh Summit of the Americas which starts Friday morning with Persad-Bissessar being the very first speaker.
Shortly after Persad-Bissessar arrived, Obama touched down in Air Force One to a big military welcome.
In her submissions to Obama, Persad-Bissessar believed that all parties should evaluate Caribbean and US Security. She said the time was now for all parties to critically review, rethink and reform the approach to collaboration between our region and the US.
The T&T Prime Minister said there was a clear and present threat which now exists from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and the Foreign Terrorist Fighters.
She added, “A number of persons have been identified as leaving CARICOM Member States to become Foreign Terrorist Fighters.
General Kelly, of the US SOUTHCOMM, has said that those young radicalised Caricom citizens could return with substantial terrorist skills in asymmetric warfare.”
Persad-Bissessar pointed out that the war cannot be won without shared intelligence.
“We must work together for the security of your people and ours,” she declared.
Persad-Bissessar said CARICOM was deeply concerned about recent information from the Commander of US Southern Command.
The Commander, she said, spoke of the drawdown of the already decreased naval assets of SOUTHCOMM.
“This comes at a time of an increase in the illegal trade in small arms, the region’s daily fight against narco-terrorism and human trafficking, and the global threat posed by ISIS.
“With these threats against our security, a great deal of anxiety is building, because the assets to defend our borders are being reduced and some of us have none at all.”
Persad-Bissessar pointed out that Commissioners of Police from across the Caribbean have estimated that as many as 1.6 million illegal guns are in circulation within the region.
“This is a significant cause for concern as we are all aware that guns are the most instrumental factor, for the high murder rates in the Caribbean.
“Approximately seventy per cent (70%) of murders in the CARICOM occur through the use of Small Arms and Light Weapons.
“In light of this, Trinidad & Tobago, with the endorsement of all CARICOM Member States, has offered to host the Secretariat of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). We would welcome the support of the United States in this endeavour.”