(SKNIS): The Council of Ministers of the Regional Security System (RSS) met today (March 17) at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort to discuss a number of pertinent security matters faced today that need to be confronted.
Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, said that the security threats, which are being faced are many and include the increased level of criminality in the region that results from the use of small arms. He said that it has been a longstanding and important concern, where he believes that international partners and stakeholders could do more in terms of assistance.
“For too long we have been the victim of weapons, which we did not create, which we did not produce and for which we make no profits,” said the prime minister. “I believe that the international community, the producers of these weapons, have to do a lot more than they have been committed to do in the past if they are going to be genuine partners in the future.”
Prime Minister Harris said there is also a problem of drug and human trafficking that requires new resources, new skills and competencies in law enforcement.
The prime minister said that the region has joined together with the international community in the fight against terrorism and has done so in a variety of ways.
“True as it was the overhauling of our entire legislative agenda including responding to legislation with respect to the financial space in which we all must participate in order not to be barricaded from the rest of the world so we have been playing our part in terrorism and we are even more deeply committed to playing a major role moving forward,” he said.
Another important matter addressed was the issue of cybercrimes. The prime minister said that it is a new emerging area that is creating “a tremendous level of concern for all involved and the situations that have emerged the world over again indicate that this has transboundary implications and therefore all of us have to be ready and be prepared.”
Prime Minister Harris said that it is known that there are nationals from some countries including one country in the CARICOM region who go abroad to join ISIL and who possibly may return to the jurisdiction.
“Clearly we need to be able to track their movements, maybe to identify them early and later track their movements,” he said. “What that means in terms of the types of freedoms which our people have been accustomed to and how we engage in these new challenges is a matter which we will require ongoing discussions.”
The prime minister said that the issue of criminal deportees is not a new issue, but in recent times has emerged critically on the forefront within the United States of America and the European Union (EU).
“It has been at the heart of many of the security issues and even at the heart of political discourse in the EU, certainly in Germany, the UK and it is emerging elsewhere,” he said. “So, that is a matter that we need to confront and hopefully at some point in time perhaps when we hear the presentations from the EU and those from our neighbour, the USA, that matter would either engage us today or some subsequent date but clearly now this is a matter which all of us have to pay attention to.”
The Council of Ministers, who met today, comprised of ministers of national security from the six member states: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.