Crime – a regional problem, that demands regional solution – CARICOM SG
DPI, Guyana, Monday, January 22, 2018
Secretary-General (SG) of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Ambassador Irwin LaRocque has once again zeroed in on the grave impact of crime and security, noting that the issue is a regional one which requires a regional solution.
Ambassador LaRocque was at the time addressing attendees during the launch of the European Development Fund’s CARIFORUM Crime and Security Cooperation held in Barbados late last week.
According to the Secretary-General, Crime and Security is an issue that is having an impact on all Member States.
“It is a regional problem that demands a regional solution. It requires the full co-operation of all our Member States,” he told the attendees of regional leaders and officials from the European Union (EU).
Back in July of last year, several Member States signed the CARICOM Arrest Warrant Treaty which simplifies the procedure of returning fugitives to the country where charges have been laid. The Ambassador said CARICOM is close to reaching agreement on the return and sharing of recovered criminal assets that is moved around the region.
Further, Heads of Government have agreed to an expansion of the Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) and the introduction of the Advance Cargo Information System (ACIS).
“One of the principal issues that we face in the area of Crime and Security is the trade in, and use of illicit drugs. The Caribbean Region as a whole continues to be ravaged by this scourge as drug traffickers find creative and ingenious ways to conduct their “business” creating challenges for law enforcement in the Region,” Ambassador LaRocque said.
The Secretary-General added that drug trafficking remains a main driving force for the high rates of crime and violence in the Region. This, he said, has led to a steady increase in the availability of illegal firearms.
“The reality is that neither the most trafficked illicit drug, cocaine, nor the firearms, is produced in our countries. Our Region is a transit-point for both. However, significant amounts of both remain on our shores fuelling extreme violence, institutionalised criminal behaviour, and increased gang violence.”
The CARICOM chief said this threatens the security of citizens and visitors and has an impact on the safety of community life, as gun and gang violence become rife and create dysfunction in families through drug addiction and alcoholism. He said the greatest impact is on human resources which we need to continue to build resilient, strong societies.
“How do we combat this insidious threat to our stability? The programme that we are launching focuses on reducing the demand for and dependence on illicit drugs on the one hand, and on crime prevention on the other.”
According to Ambassador LaRocque, the launch was another manifestation of the strength of the co-operation between the European Union (EU) and the Caribbean Region. The EU, he said, has been a long-standing and staunch partner in our thrust to attain sustainable development, and its assistance has been crucial in addressing key areas in that regard.
He said CARICOM has been receiving EDF funding in numerous areas over the years, including the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), private sector support, agriculture, climate change, disaster management, human resource development and in the areas of crime and security.
By: Alexis Rodney
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