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CARICOM Member States deepening cooperation to fight crime; Ministers of National Security zero in on firearms trafficking

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is deepening cooperation among Member States to ensure the safety of the Region as increasing and new forms of crimes are occurring.

CARICOM Ministerial Council for National Security and Law Enforcement (CONSLE)met in Trelawny, Jamaica, on Thursday 6 October for the 24th Meeting of the. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Security of Jamaica, the Hon. Dr. Horace Chang chaired the meeting.  It was the first face-to-face meeting of the Council since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In their discussions, Ministers, Commissioners of Police and other security officials emphasized the urgency of tackling the threat of transatlantic organised crime, the trans-shipment of firearms and narcotics, maritime security, and cybercrimes. They underscored the importance of intelligence-sharing, aligning national and regional security priorities, and building partnerships and capacity across law enforcement agencies.

The Meeting discussed matters that were critical to ensuring the viability and sustainability of the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (CARICOM IMPACS) – the nerve centre of the Region’s multilateral Crime and Security management architecture – in the face of a changing security environment.

At the conclusion of the Meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Chang pointed out that delegates focused heavily on firearms trafficking which he said was “maybe the greatest threat to the Caribbean countries,” where firearms are more widely used in homicides. Earlier, he noted that “none of our countries manufacture firearms and yet the ill effects of their proliferation and the contribution to gang violence and transnational criminal activities permeates our respective territories and are responsible for more than 70% of homicides in CARICOM”. 

“It’s a Caribbean problem and we need to get on top of that issue,” he said.

Delegates were updated on the CARICOM Crime Gun Intelligence Unit which will be operational within one month with the support of the Caribbean Interpol Liaison Office.

The CONSLE Chair said that regional cooperation is integral to establishment of the requisite infrastructure needed to deal with firearms trafficking and the associated criminality such as drug trafficking and, occurring almost simultaneously, expanding cybercrime activity.

“The fact that we were able to focus especially on the firearms trafficking at this meeting was of significant value and we can say we have entered a new era of cooperation in seeking to deal with a common threat to the Caribbean,” Dr. Chang said.

The series of meetings during the week included discussions on Maritime Security with the United National Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Preparations for a High Level CARICOM Summit to address Crime and Violence as a Public Health Issue also engaged the attention of a committee established for the event

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