Caribbean region urged to fight crime collectively

Keith Mitchell

ST GEORGE ‘S, Grenada  — Chairman of the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) Council for Security and Law Enforcement (CONSLE), Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell says a collective approach is needed to effectively address security across the region.

“We need each other as our fight against crime is a collective one”, he said. “As small fledgling economies we are also unfairly subjected to international assessments that sometimes result in blacklisting,” said Mitchell at the opening of the 20th meeting of CONSLE in Grenada on Friday.

The prime minister, who is also the Minister of National Security, noted that “security could never be over-emphasised”. “Without security nothing else works”, he said and pointed to other matters including the issue of border security.

He emphasised that there should be unified positions, given the nature of our borders. “The relevance of border security at the regional level takes on even greater significance because of the porous nature of our borders.”

Concerning the current situation in Venezuela, and its impact and potential impact to affect our countries, he called for regular discourse on security and for the” the adoption of regional positions that give consideration to what is best for all concerned“… each country’s security is correlated with others…[and], we have to accept that”, he said.

The prime minister reiterated that “crime is an escapable reality “that must be faced.

“Some of our neighbouring countries right here … are classified amongst the most violent in the world by virtue of the number of homicides to population ratio.”

“New and emerging threats in the domain of cyberspace” brought on by significant technological advances have been moved from being at our doorsteps to the status of fast becoming a pervasive threat, as our new virtual world often provides the cover of anonymity to many who wish to ply their nefarious trades within our borders”, he continued

This 20th CONSLE will, among other matters, review the management framework for crime and security; the regional single domestic space and the requirements for same. In this last context, matters such as the movement of persons within a harmonised framework for entry and a harmonised visa regime will receive consideration.

The Caribbean’s resilience agenda and its implications for hard security and diplomacy is another policy issue on the table, given the region’s vulnerability to natural hazards, geological and climate/weather related, as well as crime and security threats with their potential to amplify the impact of climate change and the after-effects of natural hazard events, poses serious challenges.

Geo-political issues affecting security in the region, and in this context, the implications of the Framework for Migrant Health on the security sector including the nexus for health security; implications of the non-hemispheric military presence in region, counter-terrorism in the region and what programmes have been put in place to respond to this challenge are included in the matters to be discussed.

Crime and security is the fourth pillar of the regional integration process and the Council for National Security and Law Enforcement (CONSLE) coordinates security and law enforcement arrangements across the community.