St. Kitts and Nevis Strengthens Relationship with USSOUTHCOM

Prime Minister Douglas (left) and General Fraser brief the media after a meeting at Government Headquarters

Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 13, 2011 (SKNIS): The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis has reaffirmed its partnership with the United States Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) as it continues to confront security challenges affecting the twin-island Federation and the Caribbean Region as a whole.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Honourable Dr. Denzil Douglas welcomed the new Commander of USSOUTHCOM, U.S. Air Force General Douglas Fraser, as he made his inaugural visit as part of a familiarization tour.

The Prime Minister indicated that the discussion was productive and timely. Common security issues shared by both the local and U.S. Governments were highlighted including transnational criminal organizations which conduct various illicit activities such as the trafficking of drugs, arms, humans and large bulks of money.

General Fraser praised the cooperation between the two parties.

“We have great partners and great relations between the armed forces and the law enforcement capacities here in St. Kitts and Nevis and the United States Southern Command,” he stressed. “Our meeting was an opportunity to reaffirm that close relationship and to affirm that as we move into the future, there remains a commitment on the part of the United States Southern Command and the United States, to the security within the Region and [we are] continuing to work together to improve that relationship and the capacity within the Region.”

Much of the cooperation will be done through the U.S.’ Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) – a strategy focused on citizen safety throughout the hemisphere. The CBSI has three core objectives which are: to Reduce Illicit Trafficking, to Advance Public Safety and Security; and to Promote Social Justice.

In March, St. Kitts and Nevis signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the United States for a secure seas maritime package which includes the provision of two interceptor vessels for use by the local Coast Guard.

General Fraser noted that further assistance including training, equipment donations and project funding will be provided by various U.S. agencies to achieve the objectives of the CBSI.

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