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TT signs Caricom arrest treaty

By LARA PICKFORD-GORDON Sunday, July 13 2008

CRIME and security were high on the agenda of the recent Caricom Heads of Government meeting at which Trinidad and Tobago (TT) signed the Maritime and Airspace Cooperation Agreement and Caricom Arrest Warrant Treaty.

The signing took place at the meeting which took place in Antigua and Barbuda from July 1 to 4.

Speaking at a media briefing at the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Knowsley Building yesterday, Foreign Affairs Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon said the Maritime and Airspace Agreement provided a framework for cooperation in maritime interdiction and mutual assistance by making best use of regional maritime and air assets.

The Arrest Warrant Treaty provides an “expeditious system for the arrest and surrender of requested persons for the purpose of: conducting criminal prosecution for an applicable offence, executing a custodial sentence where the request for persons have fled from justice after being sentenced.”

Gopee-Scoon said other Caricom member states are expected to sign the agreement “shortly.”

Caricom Heads remain concerned about the escalating crime threats to the region including transnational crime and resulting violent criminal activity at the national level.

The leaders noted the need for strengthening of the security measures which were implemented during the Cricket World Cup last year and urgent need for enactment of legislation to support the regional security agenda.

Gopee-Scoon said deportation was discussed and Heads reaffirmed their commitment to the agreed Caricom position on deportation “which entails the pursuit of negotiations of standardised agreements/MOU with United States of America, the United Kingdom, Canada and other states on a bilateral basis.”

Focusing on the progress towards the Establishment of the Single Economy, Gopee-Scoon said Heads welcomed the launch of the Caricom Development Fund with the signing by eight member states. The fund will provide financial and technical assistance to disadvantaged countries to enhance their prospects for successful competition and address any negative impact of the establishment of CSME. The Fund was launched with US$60 million and has a target of US$250 million. A regional consultation will take place on the Single Market and Economy at the end of this year to review member states’ implementation of various components of the single market. To enhance food security, regional governments agreed to improve incentives for investment in agriculture and food production making it comparable to other sectors and encourage investment.

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