OS-SMS Initiatives in Support of Caribbean Security at the Session of the Committee on Hemispheric Security on the Special Security Concerns of Small Island States. 27 March, 2014


Remarks by Adam Blackwell, Secretary for Multidimensional Security at the Session of the Committee on Hemispheric Security on the Special Security Concerns of Small Island States. 27 March, 2014

OS-SMS Initiatives in Support of Caribbean Security

Your Excellencies:

Good morning to you, and thank you for the opportunity to address you all at this very important session of the Committee on Hemispheric Security on the Special Security Concerns of Small Island States. At the Secretariat for Multidimensional Security, we are always cognizant that when we speak about governance and security challenges for small island states, in relative terms, we are speaking about massive maritime and air borders. For example, Barbados, with around 300,000 inhabitants and 430 sq. km. of land, has a maritime area of 183,436 sq. km., Antigua and Barbuda has 82,000 inhabitants and 440 sq. km. of land but about 110,000 sq. km. of sea.  I was reminded of this at the CABSEC Summit last March in Curacao. So when we consider this along with the fact that Caribbean Member States’ economies are relatively small, more dependent than most on global supply chains and tourism, and are highly susceptible to climate events and global economic conditions, we begin to understand the challenges facing our Caribbean Member States.

And as if these challenges were not enough, Caribbean countries are now confronted with the complex and multidimensional threats to national and citizen security that are generated by drug trafficking and transnational organized crime. Recent drug seizures indicate increased flows of South American narcotics through the Caribbean. Clearly this has collateral impact, such as the increased availability of illegal firearms and increased cash flow for the criminal gangs facilitating this global drug trade. Unfortunately, we can also expect that there will be violent competition between rival gangs.

At the SMS we are very mindful that these factors place unprecedented burdens on security institutions and legal systems, and also impact economic and political stability and human development. And for this reason, we were very pleased when CARICOM Heads came together in February 2013 and adopted the CARICOM Crime and Security Strategy (CCSS), and with it, a joint and coordinated approach to addressing the crime and security in the region. This strategy reflects over a decade of constant, incremental advancement in regional security dialogue, collaboration and coordination. It recognizes the full gravity of the transnational security challenges facing the Caribbean and wisely seeks to leverage CARICOM, hemispheric and international expertise, resources and cooperation to chart a common way forward. We at the Secretariat for Multidimensional Security consider this watershed strategy document as an excellent touchstone and litmus test for our efforts in the Caribbean.

What the OAS is doing:

I am pleased to report that in the past year since the adoption of the CCSS, the SMS has made important contributions that support CARICOM’s efforts to implement its strategy. These efforts, which the different units of the Secretariat are undertaking in the Caribbean, in accordance with their mandates and work plans, are underpinned by a methodology I call Smart Security. What has been learned is that effectiveness in confronting security challenges has less to do with “quick-fix” heavy-handed anti-crime legislation and more to do with balanced investments in people and institutions and the building of strong, professional, security institutions that approach security challenges from an objective, evidence-based, multidimensional and multi stakeholder perspective, and that also rigorously evaluate their results and indicators.

A complete written report will be distributed to member states at the end of this meeting but please allow me to highlight a few specific areas where the OAS/SMS has assisted Caribbean Member States in the past year, and to preview a few upcoming programs:

Starting with the issue that the CARICOM Strategylists asStrategic Objective No. 1

Taking the Profit out of Crime:

As part of a comprehensive program involving the coordinated action of CICAD and CICTE, assistance is being provided to the Government of Dominica, which will strengthen its ability to effectively prevent, investigate and prosecute financial crimes as well as predicate offenses to money laundering such as drug, arms and human trafficking, in compliance with the FATF 40+9 Recommendations. It is important to note that this special program was put together in response to a request made by the Dominican Financial Intelligence Unit during a meeting of CICAD’s Group of Experts on Money Laundering Control.

Crime and Violence Prevention

The CICAD Demand Reduction Section has had a very successful year for its Training and Certification Program for Drug and Violence Prevention, Treatment, and Rehabilitation Service Providers (PROCCER) in the Caribbean. Major accomplishments include the completion of an institutional and human resource profile and training needs assessment in the Caribbean; the adaptation of the PROCCER Treatment Curriculum for Caribbean training needs and completion of the PROCCER Prevention Curriculum, Training of Trainers; the commencement of in-country trainings; the establishment together with the UWI Mona Campus of the PROCCER Regional Certification Mechanism; and the development of the PROCCER Evaluation Mechanism for the evaluation of trainers and the training methodology.

Next steps in 2014 include the development of a specialized training module for professionals working with high-risk juveniles (treatment service providers, persons working in detention centers, persons working in Drug Treatment Courts), as well as a specialized training module for professionals working with high-risk female drug users.

It is important to highlight here that PROCCER-Caribbean includes the involvement of all Caribbean English-Speaking OAS Member States through varied participation in the PROCCER Advisory Council, PROCCER Task Forces, and PROCCER National Point Persons.  Additionally, the CICAD Demand Reduction Section works with the national drug commissions, CARICOM, The University of the West Indies, St. George’s University, the Caribbean Association of National Training Agencies, and other regional experts in demand reduction.

Within the framework of CIFTA, and in response to the alarming indicators of armed violence in the hemisphere, where more than 80 percent of homicides are committed using firearms, we have launched two successful firearm control initiatives resulting in the marking of more than 300,000 firearms and the destruction of more than 35,000 firearms and about 1 million rounds of ammunition. In the Caribbean, we have delivered firearms marking training and equipment to 12 CARICOM countries. In September 2013 we also sent a technical assistance and training mission to Dominica to destroy a stockpile of 180 surplus firearms and over 1,000 kilograms of munitions. 

As we continue to develop public policies on Citizen Security in the Americas that include the gender perspective, I am pleased to inform that we are currently developing programs on Prevention of Gender Violence to Promote Social Inclusion, which are aimed at strengthening the police response to the problem and helping to prevent domestic violence cases. Our goal is also to boost trust and cooperation between the police, the community, and key sectors through the participation of community leaders in the crafting of public policies on security. We are hoping to deliver a pilot project of this program in a CARICOM member state within the next few months. 

Regarding the problem of gangs, we are convinced that it is an issue deeply rooted in factors related to societal and economic exclusion. Effective strategies to address the problem are linked to reinsertion, prevention and community involvement. We are working on designing a validated community-based intervention model that supports reductions in gang violence and gang membership. We hope to soon be able to offer this tool to interested Member States.

Intelligence and Information Sharing:

Helping Member States make informed, evidence-based policy decisions is one of the major contributions that the OAS/SMS can offer. The OAS Hemispheric Security Observatory continues to provide assistance to national statistical offices through its participation, along with the IDB, in the project called Regional System of Indicators for Citizen Security. Under this program, the OAS/DPS Unit has provided technical assistance to several Caribbean Statistical Offices to assist them with developing and adopting standardized data collection methods. This effort is critical to the reliable collection, analysis and evaluation of official data on public security. 

In 2013, the Inter-American Observatory on Drugs (OID) section of the CICAD Executive Secretariat (ES/CICAD) provided technical assistance to the Drug Observatories of 12 CARICOM Member States in preparing, implementing and analyzing major drug use surveys, as well as preparing analytical reports on the results. These include Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad & Tobago.

ES/CICAD also provided technical and financial support to Universities, including 2 from the Caribbean (Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago) as part of a comprehensive strategy to increase awareness and understanding of the drug problem and promote the creation of a regional academic and scientific platform of information.

OAS/CICAD is also working with the Government of Trinidad and Tobago on the Regional Counterdrug Intelligence Training School Initiative. This program seeks to establish in Trinidad & Tobago, a specialized center for academic and operational training in the anti-drug intelligence field. The Initiative recently received Cabinet approval and work toward the establishment continues. 

Enhancing Law Enforcement Capabilities and Institutional Strengthening:

The Secretariat for Multidimensional Security has embarked on the design of the Inter-American Network for Police Development and Professionalization, which takes a systemic and police knowledge management approach and is designed to reduce asymmetries in the region’s police institutions, enhance cooperation among them, promote research into and the exchange and transfer of experiences and best practices, and foster the professional development of our police forces.The Network will facilitate the professional development of 200,000 police officers in the hemisphere over a five-year period, providing training in English, Spanish and Portuguese. The Network is designed to promote and harness horizontal cooperation and to include the crucial value-added participation of the region’s universities. 

The Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism (MEM) fosters dialogue and hemispheric cooperation to confront the drug problem through an evaluation process which results in national and hemispheric reports on progress in drug control. This mechanism helps Member States detect strengths and weaknesses in their drug policies and provides assistance to improve them. The MEM’s Sixth Evaluation Round has been underway since early 2013, and is currently evaluating countries on the implementation of 27 common recommendations stemming from CICAD’s Hemispheric Drug Strategy and its Plan of Action, 2011 – 2015. These recommendations are focused on different aspects of Institutional Strengthening, Demand and Supply Reduction, Control Measures and International Cooperation. Recent MEM missions to Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Haiti and Belize were aimed at helping these member states receive the maximum benefit through their full participation in this mechanism.

The OAS/SMS, through its Departments CICAD and CICTE have delivered an impressive number and variety of training events for Caribbean law enforcement. From January 2013 to today’s date, over 37 activities have been carried out in the Caribbean, be they workshops, seminars, or table-top simulation exercises, and over 1,300 security professionals from the Caribbean have attended those events. These training events include:

–         JETWAY train-the-trainer Seminars for Passenger Security

–         Seminars on Chemical Diversion, Chemical Control and Officer Safety

–         Seminars on Investigations of Internet Sales of Drugs

Strengthening Border Security:

Among the many courses and training events offered by the SMS in the Caribbean, below is a list of those training events which were executed since January 2013 that are directly related to strengthening border security, be they air, land or maritime borders:

–         Courses on Airport Access Control Techniques and Aviation Security Assessments and Training

–         Passenger and Air Cargo Interdiction Training

–         Maritime Port Security Assessments and Crisis Management Exercises

–         Travel Document Security, Identification Management and Fraud Prevention

–         Workshops on Immigration and Customs Controls and Cargo Container Controls and Interdiction

Coordinated border controls and improved port and airport security to help stem the flow of illegal firearms and drugs and can improve awareness and control of the inflows and outflows of people and goods. Also, training for airport security officers and port officers to better detect irregularities in documents, cargo and human behavior increases their effectiveness. 

Increasing resilience to Cyber-Crimes:

We continue efforts to increase our Member States’ resilience to cybercrime. Recently, Cyber Security Specialists from OAS/CICTE, through an initiative coordinated by the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy, and Mining of Jamaica, provided technical assistance to that Government for the development of a National Cyber Security Strategy. Expert advice was given on the development and implementation of the national strategy, and participants were guided through working group sessions to formulate the main tenants of the strategy. Just as it has already done for Trinidad and Tobago’s efforts in this regard, OAS/CICTE will continue supporting and facilitating Jamaica’s efforts. We hope to continue providing this support to the other member states that require it.

Aside from the assistance for the formulation of national strategies, the CICTE Cyber Security Program also organized two regional workshops to promote dialogue and information-sharing on various policy and technical aspects of cyber security; technical training courses on aspects of incident response. Delegations from several CARICOM countries attended these workshops and received guidance and exposure, which can be critical to skills and knowledge building in this very technical area. 

Strengthening the Justice Sector:

One program that I am very proud of is the the Drug Treatment Court (DTC) Program for the Americas which aims to help the governments of OAS member states and specialized professionals (justice and health) set up and/or consolidate drug treatment courts in their jurisdictions and thus offer a court supervised alternative to incarceration through treatment and rehabilitation for drug dependent offenders. We are convinced that the use of drug courts and alternative sentencing for certain non-violent drug offenders could help to address the serious problem of prison overcrowding, as well as reducing the economic and social costs associated with incarceration.

In the Caribbean, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados, Belize,  the Bahamas, Suriname, and Grenada are among the countries involved (exploring, implementing, or expanding the Drug Treatment Court model). The DTC Program trains judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys and treatment providers. There are also study visits and exchanges to the United States, Canada and Chile as well as practical training through court simulations. Just earlier this month, officials from Belize, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and Barbados participated in the Exchange and On-Site Study Program that took place in Vancouver, Canada. Currently Jamaica has three Courts in operation, and planning a forth this year; Trinidad and Tobago has one court, and is opening a second in the Summer, and a Juvenile Court by June 2014; Barbados launched its first DTC in February of this year. Suriname, Grenada, Belize, and The Bahamas are currently studying the model for possible adoption.

Critical Infrastructure and Major Events Security:

In today’s globalized world, recreational facilities, airports and sea ports are have come to be considered critical infrastructure, especially for countries highly reliant on tourism and international trade, like those from the Caribbean. The OAS/CICTE, together with UNICRI have been executing a Security for Major Events program in the hemisphere called the International Permanent Observatory on Security Measures during Major Events (IPO Americas). National Focal Points from several CARICOM member states, as well as representatives from CARICOM IMPACS have participated in their recent events in Santiago, Chile and in Ottawa, Canada.

The CICTE Secretariat also implements a Tourism Security Program which, in 2013, held 6 training events in the Caribbean. These events seek to improve/update tourism security training by building capacity while also focusing on fostering integrated public-private sector strategies and partnerships. 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

That, in a nutshell, is what the Secretariat for Multidimensional Security has contributed toward the implementation of CARICOM’s Crime and Security Strategy. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our donors; Canada, the United States, Mexico, Spain, and Sweden, among others.

Thank you for your attention.   

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