Caribbean security summit set for June

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — Trinidad and Tobago's Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar says a Caribbean Security summit will be held in June. A venue has not yet been decided.

A statement issued by the Office of the Prime Minister said that Persad Bissessar was “happy that the United States has agreed to a Caribbean Security Summit which could be held as early as June”.

It said that during Thursday's summit between Caribbean Community (Caricom) leaders and United States President Barack Obama in Jamaica, Prime Minister Persad Bissessar had called for the summit to deal with the growing number of issues, which could affect the Caribbean island states, if not checked.

The statement said that Persad Bissessar, who has lead responsibility for crime and security within the quasi-CARICOM Cabinet initiated the discussions with Obama.

“In her submissions to Obama, Persad Bissessar believed that all parties should evaluate Caribbean and US Security. She said the time has now for all parties to critically review, rethink and reform the approach to collaboration between our region and the US.”

The statement quoted Prime Minister Persad Bissessar as saying that there was a clear and present threat which now exists from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and the Foreign Terrorist Fighters.

“A number of persons have been identified as leaving Caricom member states to become foreign terrorist fighters,” she said.

The statement said that General Kelly, of the US SOUTHCOMM, has said that those young radicalised Caricom citizens could return with substantial terrorist skills in asymmetric warfare and Prime Minister Persad Bissessar pointed out that the war cannot be won without shared intelligence.

“We must work together for the security of your people and ours,” she said, adding that Caricom was deeply concerned about recent information from the Commander of US Southern Command.

“This comes at a time of an increase in the illegal trade in small arms, the region's daily fight against narco-terrorism and human trafficking, and the global threat posed by ISIS.

“With these threats against our security, a great deal of anxiety is building, because the assets to defend our borders are being reduced and some of us have none at all,” she said.

Persad Bissessar said informatioin from commissioners of police from across the Caribbean have estimated that as many as 1.6 million illegal guns are in circulation within the region.

“This is a significant cause for concern as we are all aware that guns are the most instrumental factor, for the high murder rates in the Caribbean,” said the Trinidadian prime minister.

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