Saturday, February 24, 2018

Caricom has plan for crime

• Region to adopt strategic goals• US to strengthen support


Warm welcome: A supporter greets Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, right, following her arrival at Piarco International Airport on Thursday night. —Photo: CURTIS CHASE

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Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has listed a number of initiatives, aimed at addressing crime in the Caribbean as a whole, which were agreed to at the Caricom Heads of Government meeting in Haiti.

Speaking at the VIP Lounge of Piarco International Airport upon her return from Haiti on Thursday, Persad-Bissessar said discussions were held with United States Attorney General Eric Holder, who agreed to strengthen the assistance of the US in the Caribbean's crime fight.

Persad-Bissessar said Holder and Caricom agreed on the following:

• To adopt new steps to address gun and gang violence that crosses international borders;

• That the US will do more to stem the number of guns coming into the country and the Caribbean;

• That the US would provide greater notice to Caricom states when deporting Caribbean nationals, and will assist in building capacity among law enforcement and other national authorities to treat with deportees;

• That the US will continue the provision of experts from the Justice Department as partners in the criminal justice systems;

• To dedicate and commit attention to fighting crime and toward enhanced information sharing; and

• To build capacity and infrastructure regarding cyber attacks.

The Prime Minister said the issue of deportees was posing a problem to Caricom nations, with Haiti having some 50 deportees per day from the US.

Persad-Bissessar also noted there were no monitoring mechanisms in place in this country with respect to deportees, and this was something she will ask National Security Minister Jack Warner and the Immigration Division to look into.

The Prime Minister said Caricom heads of government also agreed to a number of crime-fighting initiatives.

Caricom heads, she said, agreed to adopt a Regional Crime and Security Strategy, which consists of 14 strategic goals, to guide the community's approach to crime and security.

The Prime Minister further said all heads endorsed the convening of a Regional Forum on Crime and Violence in April/May this year.

She added that it was also agreed there would be a review of the existing legal framework to determine priorities for implementation.

Persad-Bissessar said requests will be made to attorneys general and ministers of national security to meet as a matter of urgency, with a view to putting this framework in place—particularly with respect to the Caricom Maritime and Airspace Security Cooperation Agreement and the Caricom Arrest Warrant Treaty.

The Prime Minister also announced that Caricom heads approved the appointment of Francis Forbes as the director of the Implementation Agency for Crime and Security.