Press ReleasesStatements and Declarations






Enhancement of Trade and Investment

Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA)


Economic Development and Financial Flows

Disaster Preparedness and Response


Educational Cooperation

Sustainable Development


Reduction of Crime and Violence
Arms Trafficking Control Regime for the Caribbean
Illicit Drugs: Reduction, Education, Rehabilitation and Eradication
Strengthening Criminal Justice Systems
Combatting Attempts to Corrupt Officials
Combatting Money Laundering
Criminal Justice Protection Programme
Strengthening Regional Security Forces
Combined and Cooperative Interdiction Efforts
Collecting, Analysing and Sharing Information
Alien Smuggling and Deportation of Criminals


We, the Heads of State and Government of the Caribbean nations of Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, the Commonwealth of Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, the Republic of Haiti, Jamaica, the Federation of St. Christopher and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the Republic of Suriname and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and of the United States of America, meeting in Bridgetown, Barbados on May 10, 1997, pledge to strengthen our cooperation in responding to the challenges of the coming millennium, in a spirit of partnership and mutual respect.

2. We affirm our unswerving commitment to the norms of international law and the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and in the Charter of the Organization of American States and our respect for the sovereignty of states, multilateral approaches, democratic traditions, human rights, good governance, human dignity and the rule of law.

3. We recognise the heterogeneity and diversity yet shared identity of our family of nations and people bonded by historic and ethnic origins, cultural ties and affinity and close social and economic links. We remain appreciative of the significant contribution of our respective nationals as immigrant communities to the development of each other’s societies.

4. We also recognise the inextricable link between trade, economic development, security and prosperity in our societies. We therefore declare our intention to act in concert to improve the economic well-being and security of all our citizens, to defend and strengthen our democratic institutions and to provide for social justice and stability.

5. As we enter a new century marked by rapid expansion and globalisation of finance and investment, production and commerce, driven by revolutionary developments in technology, we acknowledge the need for a new era in our partnership. In this context, we re-affirm our support for the Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action adopted by the 1994 Summit of the Americas in Miami. We recall that this process undertook to consider the special needs of small economies, with a view to enhancing their level of development and preparing them to meet the challenges posed by the inexorable trends of globalisation and liberalisation of the world economy, and the creation of the Free Trade Area of the Americas. We note the increasing role of the human, technological and communication capacities required for operating in this new competitive international environment and the current reality in most Caribbean States and accept the need for systematic, cooperative initiatives to strengthen the quality of their human resources and technological capacity.

6. Firm in our conviction that stable and prosperous economies, buttressed by the rule of law, are bulwarks against the forces of transnational crime, we are concerned by the growing strength and capabilities of transnational criminal organisations and drug cartels, their attempts to distort and weaken our free economies and democratic systems, and the effects which their activities and presence have on levels of violence and basic public order. We declare our resolve to collaborate in combatting both organised transnational crime and the threat posed to our peoples and the foundations of our nations by illegal firearms and ammunition trafficking. We are acutely concerned by the increasing incidence of alien smuggling and commit ourselves to search for creative and innovative ways to improve our justice systems and the cooperation between them, in order to provide our societies with that sense of security and stability so necessary to freely pursue sustainable social and economic development.

7. We recognise that despite the substantial progress in dealing with debt problems, high foreign debt burdens still hinder the development of some of our countries. We therefore affirm the importance of appropriate debt management measures including those in the programmes of the International Financial Institutions.

8. We affirm our strong commitment to internationally recognised labour standards and worker rights, especially freedom of association and collective bargaining. We underscore the importance of the empowerment of women to permit their full participation in the political and economic spheres, through fair access to education, health care and credit and recognise that addressing and preventing violence against women is an important step toward our goal of strengthening democracy. Vibrant, sustainable and equitable development requires the contribution of all members of society.

9. To achieve these objectives and maintain our process of consultation, we agree that all Ministers/Secretaries of State of the nations of the Caribbean responsible for Foreign Affairs and the Secretary of State of the United States of America will meet to oversee and report to us on an annual basis on the implementation of the Plan of Action appended hereto. In addition, we hereby establish Joint Committees on Justice and Security and on Development, Finance and Environmental Issues, the latter to work in close collaboration with the CARICOM/U.S. Trade and Investment Council, to facilitate an increasing and effective level of communication, coordination and follow-up among our Governments.

10. Towards these ends, we adopt and issue this Bridgetown Declaration of Principles, detailing our beliefs and uniting our efforts to strengthen the ability of our States to pursue sustainable development and to preserve our democracy, peace, economic and social progress and to which we hereby affix our signatures.

Signed by Lester Bird for the Government of Antigua and Barbuda on the 10th day of May 1997
Signed by Hubert Ingraham for the Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas on the 10th day of May 1997
Signed by Owen Arthur for the Government of Barbados on the 10th day of May 1997
Signed by Dean Barrow for the Government of Belize on the 10th day of May 1997
Signed by Edison James for the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica on the 10th day of May 1997
Signed by Jaime David for the Government of the Dominican Republic on the 10th day of May 1997
Signed by Keith Mitchell for the Government of Grenada on the 10th day of May 1997
Signed by Samuel Hinds for the Government of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana on the 10th day of May 1997
Signed by Rene Preval for the Government of the Republic of Haiti on the 10th day of May 1997
Signed by Percival Patterson for the Government of Jamaica on the 10th day of May 1997
Signed by Denzil Douglas for the Government of the Federation of St. Christopher and Nevis on the 10th day of May 1997
Signed by Vaughan Lewis for the Government of Saint Lucia on the 10th day of May 1997
Signed by James Mitchell for the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines on the 10th day of May 1997
Signed by Jules Wijdenbosch for the Government of the Republic of Suriname on the 10th day of May 1997
Signed by Basdeo Panday for the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago on the 10th day of May 1997
Signed by William Clinton for the Government of the United States of America on the 10th day of May 1997.




We, the Heads of State and Government participating in the 1997 Caribbean/ United States Summit in Bridgetown, Barbados committed to furthering the objectives set out in the Bridgetown Declaration of Principles, conscious of the importance of the social and economic development of the Caribbean nations as the foundation for peace, democracy, stability and well being of the region, and mindful of the need for specific measures to develop further the shared economic and security interests between the Caribbean and the United States,

Adopt and Issue the following Plan of Action which reflects our political and policy decisions in order to give effect to the Summit dialogue which we have just concluded:


1. Enhancement of Trade and Investment

We affirm that strengthened trade and investment ties between the United States and the Caribbean are essential to promote the economic development and diversification of the region and to improve the well-being of all our citizens. We recognise the special challenges and opportunities we will face in the highly globalised economy of the Twenty-First Century. We are committed to work together to advance the prosperity and economic security of the people of the Caribbean, by facilitating expanded trade with the United States through improved market access, increased investment in the Caribbean, and availability of technology throughout the region.

We pledge to strengthen efforts to implement sound market-oriented policies and open trade and investment regimes, which are critical to attracting and protecting long-term sustainable investment and to enhancing the competitiveness of Caribbean products. In such an environment, preferential access afforded by the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) is also important. We recall that in 1984, the United States Government therefore introduced the CBI, providing duty-free access for some 90 per cent of the tariff items exported by the Caribbean to the United States, but that some products of interest to the Caribbean were excluded.

We note also that in the same year, the Caribbean governments introduced the Nassau Understanding on Structural Adjustment, thereby initiating a process of import liberalisation.

We pledge to enhance Caribbean-U.S. trade relationship by: 1.1 supporting the expeditious passage of legislation by the United States, to confer CBI treatment on an extended basis, to products of Caribbean origin which are currently excluded;

1.2 working jointly towards the further reduction of trade barriers between the United States and Caribbean countries and endeavouring to refrain from introducing new import restrictions, consistent with World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules;

1.3 continuing to work with all concerned parties to achieve mutually satisfactory marketing arrangements for Caribbean bananas, recognising the critical importance to Caribbean countries of the continued access of Caribbean bananas to the traditional markets of the European Union;

1.4 finding, at the earliest opportunity, a mechanism to facilitate rapid consultations on trade-related issues;

1.5 the conduct of a United States trade and investment mission to the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and other Caribbean countries and by similar missions from the Caribbean to the United States;

1.6 developing within six months, a plan of action for promoting bilateral trade particularly in the agricultural and service sectors, recognising that trade prospects in these sectors and their expansion and diversification are critical components in achieving Caribbean economic security and advancement. Furthermore, the United States will ensure the provision of grant assistance to the Windward Islands in developing and implementing a strategy to nurture the development of Caribbean agribusiness;

1.7 a review by the United States, of its bilateral assistance to the OECS Region and the exploration of measures to increase such assistance and to enhance its delivery in targeted areas;

1.8 seeking to provide measures including technical assistance, in support of programmes that promote internal structural adjustment;

1.9 the provision of technical assistance to Caribbean countries to support their economic diversification and in particular, to assist the OECS countries in pooling their resources in order to enhance the competitiveness of their products;

1.10 facilitating the Caribbean’s implementation of its Uruguay Round commitments. In so doing, the United States will initiate a three-year grant agreement with Caribbean countries to provide technical assistance for trade liberalisation and trade and labour relations, with special assistance for the Windward Islands; and

1.11 the United States seeking to enter into a three-year grant agreement with the University of the West Indies (UWI) and other appropriate institutions in both the Caribbean and the United States, to assist the Caribbean region in formulating a uniform legal approach to meeting new trade commitments and by extending a grant to the Caribbean Law Institute to assist Attorneys-General in the Windward Islands in drafting trade-related legislation in priority areas of reform.

2. Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA)

In keeping with the Declaration of Principles of the Miami Summit, we recommit ourselves to work towards the completion of the negotiations for the Free Trade Area of the Americas by the year 2005. In the design of the FTAA, account will be taken of the need for provisions to facilitate the integration of smaller economies and to increase their levels of development. Against this background, we endorse the call for the launching of the formal negotiations of the FTAA at the Second Summit of the Americas in Chile, in March 1998. We instruct our Trade Ministers to ensure that the necessary preparatory work has been completed by that date.

We recognise that in our hemisphere, the Caribbean is a region with the smallest and many vulnerable economies, with a range of specific characteristics which could affect their effective participation in the FTAA and their integration into the international economy.

We therefore agree to: 2.1 endorse the continued functioning of the FTAA Working Group on Smaller Economies;

2.2 endorse the recommendations of the Working Group on Smaller Economies to provide opportunities to facilitate the participation of the smaller economies during the negotiations and their effective integration in the FTAA, to make every effort to reduce the transitional costs and minimise dislocation to their economies during its implementation;

2.3 the need for technical assistance – as recommended by the Working Group on Smaller Economies – to strengthen Caribbean human, institutional and infrastructural development necessary to assist in the adjustment process and to enable them to participate meaningfully. In this regard, we urge Caribbean countries to analyse their particular circumstances and identify their specific technical assistance needs; and

2.4 encourage the smaller economies in the Caribbean to consider the early implementation, to the extent possible, of internal adjustments which will enhance their ability to participate effectively in the FTAA.

3. Telecommunications

We note that access to modern telecommunications services is indispensable to the development of international trade as well as to national and regional, social and economic development and security. Various factors which influence telecommunications services such as economic size, per capita income, technology, competition, pricing and international traffic patterns are noted. We also note that several national and multilateral initiatives are underway to reform the international settlement regime and that the Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) recently stated that there is an urgent need for action on this issue. We further note that there is a large volume of incoming calls emanating from citizens of Caribbean countries who live abroad, mainly in the United States.

We reaffirm the telecommunications commitments made in the Declaration and Plan of Action of the Summit of the Americas and the Declaration and Plan of Action of the Senior Telecommunications Officials of the Organisation of American States (OAS). We are engaged in a review process in the ITU. We applaud the advances in telecommunications liberalisation made in the WTO and reaffirm the commitments made in the WTO Telecommunications Agreement. We will endeavor to put in place policies that foster a competitive market environment, which encourages private investment in telecommunications infrastructure and accelerates transition to the Global Information Infrastructure. In so doing, we will make every effort to ensure that any transition to competition fosters economic growth, deepens regional integration and serves to reduce the economic, social and educational disparities in all our countries.

We therefore pledge to: 3.1 encourage the development of efficient, cost effective and competition- enhancing telecommunications systems in the region;

3.2 assist the Caribbean countries in examining their telecommunications systems with a view to encouraging competition and exploiting investment opportunities for value-added services as well as for basic telecommunications services;

3.3 give priority consideration to exploiting the new technologies in telecommunications, including the increased use of electronic networks such as the Internet, to expand access to information, facilitate easy access by educational and health institutions to the Global Information Infrastructure and increase the exchange of views on telecommunications issues;

3.4 maintain the multilateral consultative process during the revision of rules for accounting rates, taking into account the implications for Caribbean countries of any changes in those rates;

3.5 support programmes of the ITU and other Multilateral Agencies, such as the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), to provide governments which have made a commitment, or are taking steps to initiate competition in the context of their telecommunications services, with technical assistance on critical issues such as monitoring and reviewing licensing terms, facilitating private sector investment, establishing independent regulatory agencies and developing interconnection, tariff rebalancing and universal service policies; and

3.6 encourage and facilitate participation in appropriate training courses by officials of Caribbean governments which are endeavouring to introduce competitive policies. Expert agencies in the United States and the Caribbean should strengthen and expand training, technical assistance and the exchange of information.

4. Economic Development and Financial Flows

We share the common goal of achieving stable, sustainable economic development and widespread prosperity for all citizens in the region. We affirm the central role of a dynamic private sector in realizing these goals. We also affirm the importance of sound economic policies that provide the environment for private sector-led growth, by emphasising macro-economic stability, the development of our people s education and skills, technological advancement and financial market development.

We recognise that expanded economic ties with countries throughout the region are also vital for fostering growth and prosperity, especially for the smaller economies of the Caribbean region, and we welcome the decision by the Committee on Hemispheric Financial Issues, on 17 February 1997, to establish a Working Group on Smaller Economies, to better focus on the needs and unique problems facing smaller countries’ economies, particularly those of the Caribbean.

We also recognise from recent trends in financial flows into the Caribbean, the urgent need to seek new ways of achieving development goals, including the development of capital markets and the promotion of private investment.

The United States welcomes the Caribbean commitment to the process of regional integration. We note the efforts of both the World Bank and the IDB to provide technical assistance to support regional integration efforts. We encourage the International Financial Institutions to strengthen and expand existing programmes to better advance these important objectives.

We also reaffirm the importance of developing viable credit institutions to serve the needs of micro-enterprises and urge the International Financial Institutions to give this matter urgent consideration.

We welcome the continuing commitment of the United States to assist Caribbean nations in their economic reforms by: 4.1 joining the Caribbean in seeking coordination with other donors on common priorities and approaches to promote private sector growth in the region;

4.2 continuing ongoing regional programmes in the Eastern Caribbean that focus on environmental concerns, disaster preparedness and the expansion of trade;

4.3 maintaining significant programmes in Haiti and making every effort to protect others in Jamaica and Guyana;

4.4 exploring mechanisms to promote private sector development;

4.5 finding institutional mechanisms, including trade missions, to encourage dialogue between the Caribbean and U.S. private sectors;

4.6 exploring ways by which current bilateral and multilateral debt management programmes can support adjustment efforts in highly-indebted countries;

4.7 exploring the possibility of increasing technical cooperation in the areas of:
(a) strengthening and modernising legal and supervisory systems (including prudential regulation and supervisory capacities) in order to bolster savers’ confidence and to strengthen financial systems; and

(b) improved investor education by drawing on the expertise and experience of appropriate institutions in the United States;

4.8 accepting the pledge of the United States to expand its regional cooperation programmes in the Eastern Caribbean, to include a focus on education and micro-enterprise development; and

4.9 joining in the call to the IDB to meet its commitment under the eighth replenishment, to target 35 per cent of Bank lending to smaller economies, including those in the Caribbean.

5. Disaster Preparedness and Response

We recognise that the Caribbean region is vulnerable to several forms of natural disasters including hurricanes, volcanoes, earthquakes and flooding. This vulnerability has been compounded by the geographic situation of the region, which makes the Caribbean Sea a transit area for many cargoes of a potentially hazardous nature.

We also recognise the important role of preparedness and mitigation in reducing the vulnerability of our states to such natural disasters. We pledge to continue to coordinate our efforts and improve our ability to detect, monitor and respond to natural disasters. We affirm the priority of investment in planning, preparedness and mitigation initiatives, to strengthen the capacity of countries in the region to protect themselves from disasters and to decrease the need for emergency response resources in the future.

We therefore agree that: 5.1 the United States will continue to assist, whenever possible, in the provision of logistical support in disaster response, including search and rescue and the supply of humanitarian assistance;

5.2 unaffected countries will give speedy consideration to assisting affected countries in their rehabilitation process;

5.3 the Caribbean nations will take steps to reduce damage by hurricane and other natural disasters, by encouraging effective building design and construction standards through the promotion of the Caribbean Uniform Building Code (CUBIC);

5.4 the United States will provide technical assistance to support the building of a regional capacity for conducting natural hazard assessments, integrating these assessments into national development planning processes, establishing hurricane models for vulnerable countries, undertaking seismic monitoring of volcanoes – including underwater volcanoes – and training in the handling of hazardous materials during chemical emergencies;

5.5 the United States will assist the Caribbean in exploring the availability and means of accessing disaster assistance programmes currently available in the World Bank and the IDB;

5.6 the relevant United States agencies will provide training opportunities in areas such as the handling of hazardous materials, dealing with chemical emergencies and disaster prediction and forecasting;

5.7 the United States and Caribbean agencies will cooperate to develop and promote common search and rescue protocols to govern medical evacuations, support logistics for humanitarian supplies, and overflight in search for survivors and survey damage;

5.8 we will develop and support mechanisms and procedures for civil-military, public and multi-country cooperation in planning joint exercises and mutual assistance for response to natural and technological disasters in the region;

5.9 we will continue efforts to maintain the Cooperative Hurricane Upper-Air Network; and

5.10 the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA) will collaborate in defining further areas of technical cooperation.

6. Aviation

We recognise the importance of air transport to the Caribbean region, both as a means of linking the various countries, as well as an essential component for supporting the vital tourism industry. We note that Caribbean Governments and the Government of the United States continue to emphasise the need for the safe and orderly development of civil aviation. We further note the process of privatisation of air carriers underway in the Caribbean. The increase in traffic activity in the region will require an expansion in the capacity of the aviation infrastructure, the creation of the type of regulatory environment to facilitate such growth and the strengthening of the region’s institutional arrangements to effectively administer the complete spectrum of aviation activities.

The safety and security of international aviation is the responsibility of all countries through their international commitments via the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), relevant bilateral air services agreements and national legal and regulatory action. We recognise that in the nature of international aviation, cooperation among states is vital to safety and security. In this regard, the work of the Federal Aviation Administration International Aviation Safety Assessment programme has been noted.

We therefore agree to: 6.1 work cooperatively to ensure that ICAO has the resources to continue and, where appropriate, expand the aviation safety oversight programmes and security arrangements;

6.2 explore, in conjunction with ICAO, the feasibility of establishing a regional entity to assist with and address issues relating to safety oversight and related regulatory matters;

6.3 develop appropriate aviation disaster recovery and search and rescue plans and coordinate these regionally;

6.4 identify sources of financing, including private sector, bilateral and multilateral as appropriate, to implement institutional programmes and to improve infrastructure, including expansion of runway capacity and upgrading the airside safety facilities (runway lighting and marking systems, navigation, communications and surveillance systems, cargo and passenger handling facilities) where needed. These programmes will include assistance in achieving the economic potential offered by aviation and establishing individual and regional civil aviation capabilities that are financially and technically self-sustaining; and

6.5 support the introduction of aviation satellite technologies and the Global Positioning System (GPS)/Global Navigational Satellite System (GNSS) in the Caribbean for navigation, surveillance and communication through ICAO and air space user groups.

7. Educational Cooperation

We recognise the critical contribution made by education and training to economic growth, to the improved standard of living and the reduction of poverty of our peoples. We also recognise that development of human resources is both a cause and effect of economic development. We acknowledge that new technologies demand new skills and that as the role of the private sector expands and as the public sector is modernised, demand increases for qualified personnel in various fields such as science and technology, informatics, finance and banking, utility operation and regulation, and management skills. The educational institutions at different levels therefore, need to be geared to deliver the required training and professional preparation.

We therefore agree to: 7.1 develop arrangements for appropriate joint action between the universities in the Caribbean and universities and advanced research and specialised institutions in the United States, particularly in such areas as science and technology and informatics and key economic and management fields;

7.2 increase opportunities for qualified individuals from the Caribbean to study at U.S. universities and military service academies and also to receive short-term training in the United States or in third countries; and

7.3 establish regional training programmes designed to broaden the skill base in key economic and management fields. These programmes will be targeted to individuals who traditionally lack access to such fields and training.

8. Sustainable Development

We recognise that the Caribbean, comprising mainly small islands and low-lying coastal states, is extremely dependent on the marine and coastal environment. We note that the Continental Caribbean is also richly endowed with tropical rainforests and other ecosystems and contains, in the Guiana Shield, one of the last major sources of fresh water on the planet. The Caribbean possesses many of the world’s oldest known genetic species of marine and terrestrial biodiversity of significant scientific and commercial value.

We also recognise that the major economic activities of the Caribbean – tourism (land-based and cruise), agriculture, mining (petroleum, bauxite, gold and other minerals), fishing and forestry – are extremely dependent on a sound environment. The sustainability of these economic activities and their continued contribution to the development of the Caribbean, is inextricably linked to the preservation of the environment.

As a bordering country of the Caribbean Basin, the United States welcomes the opportunity to work cooperatively with its Caribbean neighbours to advance sustainable development and maintain the quality and integrity of the Caribbean sea.

Recognising the importance of a healthy environment to our countries, we agree that these threats can only be attenuated by global, hemispheric, bilateral cooperation and national action and commit ourselves to work at all levels, towards making the Caribbean environment more secure.

We therefore agree: 8.1 to implement the relevant provisions of the 1994 Barbados Declaration and Plan of Action on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, the 1994 Declaration and Plan of Action of the Summit of Americas, the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) Conference to Develop a Global Programme for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land Based Activities, and the 1996 Bolivia Declaration and Plan of Action on Sustainable Development in the Hemisphere. Institutions in the Caribbean and the United States with mandates and programmes in the various areas of the four Declarations and Plans of Action referred to above, will develop a collaborative programme to advance the work in the critical areas identified in these Declarations and Plans of Action;

8.2 to enable governmental agencies to access and build upon the best information available by exploring the use of the latest information technology to create a virtual Caribbean Centre for Environment and Development. This Centre will connect databases and projects of international, regional and national academic, business and financial organisations, which have already undertaken related work on development and environmental protection in the region. The University of the West Indies Centre for Environment and Development (UWICED) will be the main Caribbean node in this process;

8.3 to collaborate in the development and implementation of:

(a) fisheries protection management plan to ensure a sustained supply of regional fish stocks; and

(b) conservation measures, including the preservation of threatened marine species and the reduction of fishery by-catch;

8.4 to cooperate to ensure that the current round of climate change negotiations conclude successfully and on schedule;

8.5 to work towards obtaining international agreement in making the Caribbean Sea an environmentally sustainable zone;

8.6 that the United States will assist the Caribbean in its efforts to access resources from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), including provision of technical assistance with regard to the drafting of environmental legislation, in order to facilitate the strengthening of the human resource capacity of the Caribbean, in the area of environmental protection;

8.7 to cooperate in global efforts, including proposals with the participation of our private sectors, to limit and reduce greenhouse gas emissions;

8.8 to endeavour to improve general public awareness of the link between economic activity and environmental protection, through education and outreach programmes, targeted particularly at young people, recognising the usefulness of the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) programme;

8.9 to work towards the implementation of the International Coral Reef Initiative Framework for Action and the Tropical Americas Regional Action Plan, strengthening the monitoring of coral reefs and exploring the establishment of a regional node for the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network;

8.10 to improve management and disposal of solid and liquid waste including ship-generated waste, and to strengthen existing national and regional plans to combat oil pollution; and

8.11 to welcome the implementation by the United States, of the Caribbean Clean Energy Initiative.


1. Reduction of Crime and Violence

We recognise that crime within national borders and organised transnational crime threaten democratic institutions, undermine economic development, engender assaults on health, safety and security and continue adversely to affect the welfare of the peoples of the United States and the Caribbean. We also recognise that there are limitations in the laws and the law enforcement agencies of the Caribbean region. We pledge to collaborate in modernising crime control laws, strengthening the institutional capacities of these agencies through technical assistance, resource strengthening and multi-agency collaboration.

We therefore agree: 1.1 to collaborate with regional institutions in the provision of technical assistance for reform and strategic planning in police and other law enforcement agencies;

1.2 to accord high priority to the provision of training to law enforcement officials. The United States intends to continue to provide training for such officials;

1.3 to collaborate with other States and international organisations to support regional training institutions;

1.4 to promote multi-agency collaboration, nationally and regionally, to enhance the intelligence capability of Caribbean law enforcement agencies;

1.5 that the United States will continue to assist Caribbean States in the latter’s efforts to collect, analyse and share law enforcement information through appropriate systems, having regard to ongoing regional assessments;

1.6 that the United States will continue to provide technical assistance and training in crime prevention and reduction strategies and techniques;

1.7 that the United States will contribute to a United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) regional legal reform assistance project which is designed to assist Caribbean countries in the development of drug control laws, in accordance with the standards and criteria set by the United Nations Conventions;

1.8 to encourage transnational law enforcement cooperation through mechanisms such as the exchange of law enforcement personnel; and

1.9 to take, where applicable, and constitutionally permissible, active steps to conclude and implement mutual legal assistance and extradition regimes.

2. Arms Trafficking Control Regime for the Caribbean

We acknowledge the threat posed by illegal trafficking in arms, ammunition, and other similar materials to the moral fabric of our societies and the well-being of our peoples, as well as the social, economic, cultural, and political foundations of our respective countries.

We acknowledge that the threat posed by this traffic to our societies is compounded by its linkage to the illicit traffic in drugs.

The United States has been a significant country of origin for firearms illegally diverted to other nations. Illegal trafficking in firearms facilitates criminal activity including drug trafficking in these countries as it does in the United States.

We are determined to rid the Caribbean region of the scourge of this traffic by adopting strategies and measures which have the highest possible legal status and enforceability. Additionally, we pledge to work within existing regional and international organisations to combat the illegal traffic in firearms, ammunition and other similar materials.

We pledge to cooperate in: 2.1 improving the mechanisms for the exchange of information and intelligence on a regular basis by means of appropriate international communications systems;

2.2 establishing comparable systems forthe licensing and regulation of manufacturers, importers and exporters of firearms, ammunition, firearms components and explosives, and for import and export permits;

2.3 examining the adequacy of existing laws and regulations in our respective countries and strengthening enforcement of such laws as necessary to control the authorised import and export of arms, ammunition, explosives and other similar materials;

2.4 examining the adequacy of existing legislation to combat the illegal manufacture and traffic in arms, ammunition, explosives and other similar materials and strengthening such laws where necessary;

2.5 adopting model regulations on harmonised export/import documentation and procedures for the movement of firearms, taking account of the work of regional and international organisations in this area;

2.6 pre- and post-shipment verification of licensed shipment of arms, ammunition, explosives and other similar materials to prevent their diversion into criminal hands;

2.7 identifying a national contact point in each country, including law enforcement officials, to act as operational liaisons for the transmittal of firearms trace requests, investigative assistance and law enforcement intelligence;

2.8 the continued provision, by the United States, of technical and other assistance to Caribbean States to assist law enforcement agencies in the control of the illicit traffic in arms, ammunition, explosives and other similar materials and the provision of training in the relevant areas including:
(a) identification of weapons;

(b) information gathering and analysis especially related to the identification of traffickers in and shippers of illegal firearms, and means of concealment in cargoes; and

(c) improving the efficiency of personnel managing conventional and non-conventional points of entry in searching for and detecting arms, ammunition, explosives and other similar materials;

2.9 establishing joint training projects and exchange programmes for appropriate law enforcement personnel to:
(a) determine the scope of illicit traffic in firearms, firearms components, ammunition, and explosives in the Caribbean region;

(b) improve the search for and recording of these materials for tracing purposes;

(c) enhance security at ports and airports; learn about new concealment methods; and

(d) assist nations to evaluate and identify, both previously seized firearms, ammunition and explosives, as well as those recovered as the result of current enforcement actions.

Negotiation of an International Agreement

We recognise that the conclusion of an instrument establishing enforceable rights and obligations is an effective tool in the fight against illicit traffic in arms, ammunition, explosives and other similar materials and, to this end, we commit ourselves to work towards the early adoption of an international agreement against the illicit manufacturing and trafficking in arms, ammunition, explosives and other similar materials.

3. Illicit Drugs: Reduction, Education, Rehabilitation and Eradication

We recognise the threat to hemispheric values caused by the traffic in and use of illicit substances and the compelling need to give the highest priority and importance to primary drug abuse prevention programmes, particularly those directed to the youth of our respective societies.

We also acknowledge that the need to reduce both demand and supply should be addressed within the framework of a comprehensive, balanced and integrated strategy.

We are determined to devise, develop and evaluate a comprehensive multilateral strategy, within the context of the principle of joint hemispheric consultation and determination on issues of regional importance, indelibly inscribed in hemispheric relations through the Summit of the Americas process launched by the Plan of Action in December 1994.

We therefore agree that: 3.1 the United States will cooperate with other donors in –
(a) the provision of necessary assistance and training to Caribbean States for the development and promotion of demand reduction programmes; and

(b) seeking means to develop and implement viable alternative occupational activities;

3.2 there would be –
(a) an exchange of information and ideas on demand reduction; and

(b) an intensification of efforts to reduce the domestic cultivation of cannabis and the production of illegal drugs;

3.3 any additional action contemplated will be consistent with the Organisation of American States/Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (OAS/CICAD) Anti-Drug Strategy in the Hemisphere and supportive of the Plan of Action for Drug Control Coordination and Cooperation in the Caribbean, resulting from the UNDCP-sponsored Regional Meeting on Drug Control Cooperation held in Barbados in 1996;

3.4 in addition to its assistance to Caribbean States, the United States will engage in a US$5.5 billion demand reduction campaign within its own borders;

3.5 each Caribbean State should establish by appropriate legislation, or otherwise, a national organisation to pursue effective coordination of drug programmes both domestically and in partnership with regional and international bodies of similar nature; and that the United States, in collaboration with other donors, will continue to provide technical assistance and training to national bodies to enable them to promote and develop programmes, activities and projects, efficiently and effectively; and

3.6 each Caribbean State will promote demand reduction programmes to include –
(a) programmes of education at all levels of society by means of the maximum use of the print and electronic media and other forms of communication, with a view to increasing awareness of the dangers of drug use and abuse;

(b) school and community based initiatives; and

(c) treatment and rehabilitation programmes.

4. Strengthening Criminal Justice Systems

We believe that for democracies to provide justice and security for their peoples, they must have independent, effective and efficient criminal justice systems.

We acknowledge that the need for the modernisation of the criminal justice systems in the region is urgent and that improvements are required in several areas. We recognise the fundamental principle of the independence of the judiciary in the administration of justice in all our States and we will cooperate to uphold this principle.

The United States reaffirms its commitment to continue to provide assistance in respect of the following: 4.1 a second phase of the UNDCP regional legal reform assistance project designed to train personnel in the prosecution and adjudication of drug, money laundering, and asset forfeiture cases;

4.2 modernisation of the judicial, law enforcement and penal systems of Caribbean States through the provision of equipment and training;

The United States also intends to: 4.3 continue to cooperate with other donors to assist Caribbean States in the development of contemporary and efficient forensic capabilities;

We intend to: 4.4 work together to investigate alternatives to incarceration; and

4.5 pursue with the international financial institutions, means to improve plant and physical infrastructure of the courts, law enforcement facilities, and penal institutions.

5. Combatting Attempts to Corrupt Officials

We are aware that the vast wealth of international criminal organisations may be used to corrupt public officials. We are determined to detect and punish such corruption in our own States.

Recognising that the laws of many Caribbean States do not provide an adequate legislative basis to prevent the corruption of public officials, we agree to cooperate in the development of appropriate measures as follows: 5.1 the drafting of model legislation for enactment in individual states;

5.2 the provision by the United States, of training and technical assistance to Caribbean States on enforcement mechanisms to combat corruption; and

5.3 consideration by Caribbean States of the ratification, in accordance with their internal procedures, of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, and requesting the OAS and other appropriate organisations to recommend to the Heads of Government, within six months, additional actions that should be taken to strengthen effective implementation of the Convention.

6. Combatting Money Laundering

We recognise that money laundering permits drug trafficking and other criminal organisations to perpetuate their criminal activity.

Money laundering is an extremely corrosive force. It undermines the integrity of financial institutions. It corrupts officials and threatens political stability. It can distort economies, skew currency markets and create unfair advantages over legitimate enterprises.

We agree to continue working together to strengthen national, regional and international action against money laundering and we express our support for Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF)-sponsored regional anti-money laundering training initiatives.

We therefore also agree: 6.1 to implement the 1988 United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances;

6.2 to endeavour to adopt the international standards to combat money laundering set forth in the Recommendations of the CFATF, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the OAS/CICAD Model Regulations and the Communiqué from the Summit of the Americas Ministerial Meeting on Money Laundering; and

6.3 that, to this end, the United States will cooperate with other donors, with a view to the development and implementation of the projects mentioned hereunder –
(a) establishment of a Caribbean Continuing Legal Education Institute at the UWI to provide training in the conduct, investigation, and prosecution of money laundering and asset forfeiture proceedings for judges, prosecutors and law enforcement personnel;

(b) the provision of training for relevant personnel in the conduct of financial investigations, the tracing, seizing and forfeiture of assets acquired as a result of drug trafficking and other serious crime, and in the establishment of national anti-money laundering units;

(c) the development of minimum regulatory standards for the domestic and offshore banking sectors, international business corporations, and non-bank financial institutions in accordance with the Basle Committee and the FATF;

(d) the enhancement of the capacities of the customs sectors in the region in the conduct of money laundering investigations; and

(e) the development and conclusion, where applicable, of an agreement to provide for the equitable sharing of assets forfeited as a result of cooperative efforts in the investigation and prosecution of money laundering cases.

7. Criminal Justice Protection Programme

In order to meet the rising threat to the criminal justice systems in Caribbean States in the form of the intimidation and elimination of witnesses, jurors, judicial and law enforcement personnel and their families, we agree: 7.1 to continue to work together towards the establishment of a Criminal Justice Protection Programme that would facilitate cooperation in the confidential protection of witnesses, jurors, judicial and law enforcement personnel and their families;

7.2 that, in furtherance of the establishment of the Criminal Justice Protection Programme, the United States pledges to continue to contribute technical assistance and training that will facilitate appropriate legislative and structural reforms in the medium and long term and which in the short term will include, in particular –
(a) safe-house establishment and operational procedures;

(b) the most advanced investigative methods and techniques, including the preparation of threat and risk assessments;

(c) assessment, including psychological evaluation, of the suitability of witnesses for entry into long term protection programmes;

(d) the handling of witnesses in protective custody;

(e) personal security of witnesses, jurors, judicial and law enforcement personnel; and

(f) the establishment of oversight mechanisms at the national level in the management of the system; and

7.3 to work with other nations and with regional organisations, including CICAD and UNDCP, to coordinate training and technical assistance efforts in this area.

8. Strengthening Regional Security Forces Combined and Cooperative Interdiction Efforts Collecting, Analysing and Sharing Information

We recognise the need for greater cooperation of security forces in the region to deal with illicit drug trafficking, alien smuggling, illegal trafficking in arms and threats to stability. We agree that no single nation has the ability to deal effectively with the threats to the security of the region, and that coordination, cooperation, and combined operations are necessary.

We also recognise that successful mechanisms, strategies, initiatives and working cooperation already exist in the region to counter the illicit trade in narcotics, psychotropic substances and other contraband, and note with satisfaction:
(i) the commitment of States Parties to the Regional Security System (RSS) to bring into force an RSS Treaty that would further integrate their forces and permit participating nations to assist one another by operating in each other’s territory; and

(ii) the continuing cooperation among Caribbean nations and with the nations of the European Union and others to strengthen regional security forces and invite a continued and coordinated role by the European nations in combined operations and assistance.

To this end: 8.1 Caribbean States, through the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, will work towards the conclusion of regional agreements in specified areas of mutual interest, including extradition and mutual legal assistance in criminal matters;

8.2 we agree to work together to enhance maritime interdiction, through appropriate agreements and related assistance. In this regard, the United States undertakes to continue to provide assistance to the Caribbean States to strengthen operational capacities, and to seek legislative authority for an expanded effort;

8.3 Caribbean States will intensify training in maritime interdiction and develop training guides or manuals on boarding and searching vessels reasonably suspected of carrying illicit narcotic drugs or contraband;

8.4 Caribbean States and the United States will examine the efficiency of their Ships’ Registries, and, in that regard, where necessary, Caribbean States will seek the assistance of the United States. Caribbean States and the United States shall also introduce more effective controls in monitoring the movement of vessels, pleasure craft and fishing vessels through the introduction of standard regional enforcement systems that build on existing customs clearance documents for arriving and departing vessels;

8.5 the United States pledges to cooperate with other donors and Caribbean States in the establishment of national and regional computerised databases on all vessels transiting the seas of the region and Caribbean States will share such information with the United States; and

8.6 the Joint Committee on Justice and Security is instructed to assess the feasibility of providing to Caribbean States, additional equipment and support for the Caribbean States in carrying out regional maritime law enforcement.

In respect of port control and security: 8.7 we agree to work with private carriers and businesses to encourage them to adopt security procedures and participate in programmes which deter illegal access to and use of their conveyances and cargo, their associated equipment, and company facilities located at ports and air terminals. These efforts would be aimed at strengthening the capabilities of those involved in the transnational movement of legitimate goods to deter smugglers from compromising their legitimate operations, improving port infrastructures through private sector involvement, and increasing cooperation between government officials and the business community; and

8.8 the United States pledges to work with Caribbean States to provide advice, technical assistance and training in –
(a) maintaining secure factories;

(b) developing adequate controls over packing and shipping processes; and

(c) combatting customs-related corruption

9. Alien Smuggling and Deportation of Criminals

Alien Smuggling

We recognise the right of each State to determine its own policies on immigration, consistent with international obligations such as the United Nations Convention on Refugees and understand that the ability of governments to permit legal immigration is eroded by illegal migration. The respective governments recognise the problems associated with the practice of smuggling migrants through the region.

We will cooperate to end this criminal practice and to bring the perpetrators to justice.

At the same time, it is important that in combatting alien smuggling we should do nothing to undermine the established rights of legal immigrant communities in our countries.

To this end: 9.1 Caribbean States intend to consider the adoption of national legislation making migrant trafficking a criminal offence; and

9.2 we will encourage wider use of tamper-proof documents for the purpose of travel.

Deportation of Criminals

We recognise the right of each State to determine its policies on deportation subject to international law, and agree to: 9.3 provide adequate advance notice to designated authorities prior to a criminal’s deportation;

9.4 provide appropriate information regarding the persons to be deported;

9.5 establish, prior to the deportation, that the deportee is a national of the receiving State;

9.6 hold consultations on other issues associated with deportation; and

9.7 work to improve arrangements by which the deportee has access to his or her assets located in the deporting State.

We note that the United States intends to offer technical assistance in establishing parole and monitoring systems.

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