St. Kitts and Nevis co-chairs Caribbean Basin Security Initiative Commission

Mrs. Astona Browne, Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, St. Kitts and Nevis and Co-Chair of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative Commission, delivering address at the meeting in Georgetown, Guyana on 13th October 2011.

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, OCTOBER 14TH 2011 (CUOPM) – St. Kitts and Nevis’ representative to the Second Meeting of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) Commission, in Guyana, said the region will advance its mandate to take security to a higher level.

“We are committed to fighting those evils,” he averred. “Our country will work closely and with courage to achieve this extremely important task,” said Mrs. Browne, Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister and Co-Chair of the CBSI Commission.

She asserted that significant stride had been made in combating crime in the Region and avowed that “we will advance with our mandate to take security in the region to a higher level.”

However, she warned that “we cannot survive alone.” “We must build strong bridges of cooperation with traditional and non-traditional states and agencies that are committed to the cause of global peace,” she said.

Notwithstanding the perception that progress was slow, Mrs. Browne asserted, “We will continue to interrupt the plans of criminals who would venture to move through our borders and disrupt those who would dare to perpetrate criminal activities in our waters.”

United States Ambassador to Guyana and representative to CARICOM His Excellency Dr. Brent Hardt, who also delivered remarks at the opening ceremony, emphasized that the CBSI had emerged as a genuine partnership among several nations and provided a vehicle through which other nations in the world who were interested in the Caribbean could lend their support to the partnership.

He added that the Meeting would provide the partnership with the opportunity to take stock of collective accomplishments to date, review the results of the Technical Working Groups and use those results to lay the ground work for Second Caribbean-United States Security Cooperation Dialogue set for the Bahamas in November.

“At the end of our gathering tomorrow we hope that all participants will be able to return home with renewed commitment to the CBSI partnership and a renewed belief that we can work together to enhance the safety and security of our citizens through our cooperation, creativity and perseverance,” Ambassador Hardt concluded.

H.E. D. Brent Hardt, the United States Ambassador to Guyana delivering remarks at the Opening of the Second Meeting of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative Commission Georgetown, Guyana, 13 October 2011. (Photos provided by CARICOM)

Guyana Minister of Home Affairs the Hon. Clement Rohee has called for “practical well-thought out solutions” to relieve the strain on Caribbean populations by eliminating the causes of crime at the local, regional and hemispheric levels.

Minister Rohee acknowledged progress made by the partnership to date, but added that “much more work needed to be done,” to ensure that the peoples of both regions could feel secure.

The Guyana Minister of Home Affairs acknowledged that the CBSI was the type of security cooperation that was capable of addressing numerous challenges facing both the United States and the Caribbean region as they partnered to reduce illicit trafficking, advance public safety and security and promote social justice.

However, he expressed the view that it was now time for the Commission to roll-out strategies and programs to tackle the heart of the problem and to address the growing problem of youth gangs and gang violence. He enumerated several recent threats to security in the region including transnational organised crime, illicit trafficking in small arms and light weapons, cybercrimes and terrorism, and asserted that those threats required a comprehensive regional and hemispheric approach.

“It has been accepted that only through partnerships at every levels can we arrest the problem of crime and violence…our interdependence forces us to work collectively, for our neighbour’s problems today could be ours tomorrow,” he cautioned.

Minister Rohee told the meeting of security officials that Guyana was committed to the partnership and would continue to fight crime in all its manifestations. He reported that his country had passed several pieces of anti-crime legislation recently, and was in the process of equipping the security forces with modern technology to fight crime.

The Caribbean Basin Security Initiative was launched in May 2010 following US President Barrack Obama’s announcement to plough an initial US$45 million into the Caribbean to start a “shared security partnership” among CARICOM Member States, the Dominican Republic and the United States with a view to tackling crime and violence in both regions.

The Dominican Republic’s Ambassador-at-Large to CARICOM, His Excellency Juan Guiliani Cury, in adding his remarks, outlined several priorities which the partnership had been addressing. Those include organised crime, youth crimes and maritime and aerial space security.

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