|Security centre in TT |
By CLINT CHAN TACK Tuesday, February 19 2013
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CARICOM MEETING: Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar (seated at left) and Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran (seated next to Persad-Bissessar...
PRIME MINISTER Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday proposed establishing a regional security coordination centre in TT to focus regional efforts to combat common security threats.
Addressing a meeting on the regional crime and security agenda at the Caricom Inter-Sessional Heads of Government Conference in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Persad-Bissessar announced, “As Lead Head for Security in Caricom and Prime Minister of TT, I am prepared to establish a centralised coordination centre to ensure synchronised response between the affected nation and its Caricom partners and manage the inputs from other national centres and the various regional agencies.”
Saying this facility will be a Regional Security Coordination Centre, Persad-Bissessar told her Caricom colleagues, “now may be the ideal time to revisit the concept of National Joint Coordinating Centres.”
“I fear that we have found ourselves in a very serious situation and are running out of time as the scourge of transnational crime is slowly taking over the region.” Declaring that the time has come for “urgent and drastic action”, the Prime Minister said, “Our geopolitical reality necessitates that we utilise every opportunity to form what I refer to as a virtual iron Atlantic wall against the multidimensional security threats facing our region.”
Noting that security threats now facing the region are non-traditional, Persad-Bissessar said, “We must therefore find non-traditional unique ways of confronting and overcoming them.”
Declaring that regional law enforcement agencies can no longer afford to operate in isolation, the Prime Minister said, “Our enemies have become not only more united with each other, but also more versed in technology and equipment; which we, too, must master if we are to keep one step ahead of our enemies.”
Persad-Bissessar said, “The only way in which this could be done is by working together, speaking the same law enforcement language and using the same modern up-to-date technically sound methods.”
After identifying trans-border intelligence and taking the profit out of crime by targeting criminal assets and protecting the financial system, as essential regional anti-crime strategies, Persad-Bissessar urged Caricom colleagues to consider a recommendation from the Council of Ministers responsible for National Security (CONSLE) for, “the introduction of a border fee of one United States dollar per passenger by all Member States as a temporary measure to stem the immediate crisis in funding, along with Member States’ contributions to regional security institutions, in accordance with the established formula in order to secure sustainable funding.”
She also expressed concern about rising levels of youth crime and violent crime in the Caribbean. After noting that “high levels of violent crime in the Caribbean hinder development,” Persad-Bissessar identified youth crime as a serious concern within Caricom.
“It has been estimated that because of youth crime, countries lose out on millions of US dollars annually in tourism revenue. For instance, in my own country, I am advised, it has been estimated that US$35 million is lost annually in tourism revenue,” she said.
“According to the Caribbean Human Development Report (CHDR) 2012 — ‘Human Development and the Shift to better Citizen Security,’ youth crime is costing Caricom countries between 2.8 percent and four percent of GDP annually, in terms of direct expenditure on crime fighting and in lost revenues due to youth incarceration and declines in tourism revenues.”