Mr. Chairman, Ambassador Andres Gonzalez,
Ambassador Elliston Rahming, on behalf of the Caucus of CARICOM Ambassadors,
Ambassador Albert Ramdin, Assistant Secretary General,
Distinguished Invited Speakers,
Distinguished Permanent Representatives,
Distinguished Alternate Delegates,
Distinguished Permanent Observers,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am proud to present to this special session of the Committee of Hemispheric Security, the report of the Secretariat for Multidimensional Security. I will not go through it point by point, but I would like to highlight a few salient elements about the document and the work that it contains.
Delegations will note that the document is formatted along the lines of the CARICOM Crime and Security Strategy. This is so that we can strategically align our efforts with regard to the implementation of the CARICOM strategy, which my Secretariat uses as a baseline for its efforts in the Caribbean.
As the name clearly indicates, the Secretariat for Multidimensional Security is grounded on the principles set forth in the Declaration of Bridgetown on the Multidimensional Approach to Hemispheric Security, adopted in June 2002, and later consolidated in the Declaration on Security in the Americas, adopted in Mexico City in October 2003.
As such, the programs and activities that we implement recognize the cross-cutting, complex, and multidimensional nature of the security challenges confronting the region.
I have just come back from the CABSEC 15 meeting in the Bahamas where Ministers and other experts from the Caribbean made clear that the intertwined threats of gangs, drugs, guns, cyber crime, money laundering, human trafficking, and terrorism are clear risks to the societies and institutions of the Caribbean. As I said in Bahamas, the name “Small Island State” is a misnomer as we are actually dealing with significant maritime and air borders. The Caribbean Sea is the second largest sea in the world with the largest number of small island developing states (SIDS) and maritime boundaries in the world. The region, involving 22 independent countries and 17 territories with a population of more than 40 million, is also one of the most tourism-dependent in the world. The travel industry provides almost 1 million direct and indirect jobs and contributes to a quarter of the region’s foreign exchange earnings. Consequently these so called ‘small islands’ are connected as never before; with millions of tourists, a large diaspora, cruise liners and financial transactions, to name but a few, all passing back and forth.
So we must face this complex security environment with clear mandates and well conceived, balanced, evidence-based and coordinated interventions. The message that I receive time and again from our colleagues in the region is that they need institutional approaches that are scalable and coordinated across all relevant stakeholders, or else they are easily overwhelmed.
From our report you will see that the SMS, through its three dependencies, CICAD, CICTE and DPS, is doing just that.
Secretariat of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD)
CICAD, through its hemispheric strategy and action plan is implementing several programs focused on reducing the supply of drugs. Programs such as establishing regional counter-drug intelligence training centers, as seen in Trinidad and Tobago, providing training on both search techniques for pleasure vessels and containerized shipping, and investigation techniques for the sale of drugs via the internet, among others.
They are also working to reduce crime and the demand for drugs through programs like PROCCER Caribbean and PROCCER- Juveniles, which promote effective prevention, treatment and rehabilitation systems. These innovative programs have brought together all 14 English speaking Caribbean OAS member states into a unique partnership that draws in CARICOM, the University of the West Indies, St George’s University, non-governmental organizations, and National Drug Councils.
We are attacking money laundering, providing specialized training to FIUs, judges and prosecutors, while simultaneously helping to improve judicial systems through the Drug Treatment Courts program. Additionally, we are working to improve the effectiveness of Correctional Services, for when alternatives such as DTCs are not available or pertinent.
Department of Public Security (DPS)
The DPS is working to build law enforcement capacity and professionalism by implementing the Inter-American Network for Police Development and Professionalization. The program will provide virtual and onsite training courses for Police Officers, sub-regional seminars for the exchange of information and best practices, a permanent network allowing police officers to communicate and exchange experiences, and certification through a specific International Standards Organization (ISO) Standard for Quality Management.
Firearms play a major role in insecurity in the region and we are actively addressing this by distributing firearms marking machines throughout the Caribbean, training officers on record-keeping, destroying surplus and obsolete firearms and ammunition, and providing up-to-date model legislation on Firearms.
I would also like to highlight a new program we have just begun in Jamaica. It is called: “A New Path” Promoting a Healthy Environment and Productive Alternatives for Juvenile Remandees and Offenders in Jamaica. It is designed to provide job skills AND life skills training to juvenile remandees, as well as individual psychosocial attention and individual follow-up for six to twelve months after their release to enable their successful reintegration into society. This is the kind of program that should prove critical in breaking the cycle of recidivism and violence.
Secretariat of the Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism (CICTE)
CICTE is working to secure Caribbean borders, providing several training programs in Port Security, Aviation security, and Supply Chain Security. Specifically, the Customs and Immigration Security program addresses trade security in major Caribbean ports. Building on previous trade security initiatives, this project will focus on training customs and port security officers on container and cargo ship security. The Caribbean region is highly dependent on tourism and international trade and the security of its sea, airports and cargo are of the utmost importance. We are also assisting Member States in developing tourism security and crisis management plans for entire tourist destinations, rather than just for specific facilities. We are also expanding the focus of tourism security programs to address the specific risks and threats of a particular place, such as kidnapping or sex tourism.
We are even helping to protect Caribbean sovereign space on the internet, building resilience through a very robust Cyber security program that has provided assistance to several CARICOM countries to develop National Cybersecurity Strategies and to build Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRTS).
This is by no means a complete list and frankly we should not be talking about lists but integrated programs. I would like to see us develop collectively our own multi year Caribbean work plan and task force that would align with both IMPACS and the needs of the region.
There is much work to be done and many challenges to overcome. For that we call on you, our Member States, our Permanent Observers to continue to provide the necessary financial resources and even consider increasing your contributions.
In addition to financial funding, there are many other important ways Member States can assist: Providing technical expertise, sharing good practices, and participating actively in the various OAS political fora that address security concerns to name just a few. We all have something to contribute, as we all have a stake in the outcome.
Thank you for your time and attention.
- Intervention on point 6 of the agenda: CARICOM/OAS MOU
Ladies and Gentlemen: I am very pleased to report that in July of 2014, a Memorandum of Understanding between the Organization of American States and the CARICOM Implementation Agency on Crime and Security (IMPACS) was signed for the development and execution of joint programs and projects in support of CARICOM’s Crime and Security Strategy. Doing the honors were Mr. Francis Forbes, Executive Director on behalf of CARICOM IMPACS, and myself, on behalf of Secretary General Insulza.
Our MOU should institutionalize closer coordination and information sharing, which are very critical as our organizations look to increase efficiency and reduce duplication of efforts. As important as these things are, I am pleased to report to you that our MOU goes beyond that. It establishes the required legal foundation on which to build a solid and impactful security cooperation infrastructure. Although the MOU in and of itself does not create any financial obligations on either of the parties, it establishes the ground rules that enable our organizations to undertake such complex activities like joint implementation of projects, pooling of resources and services , and cooperative fund raising.
Essentially, we have created a vehicle or a vessel for the specific purpose of delivering security cooperation to the Caribbean region. We place this vessel at the disposal of our Member States. Give us the direction, the task, the coordinates and together with CARICOM IMPACS we will work to bring your charge to safe harbour.