REMARKS BY THE CHAIRMAN OF THE CONFERENCE OF HEADS OF GOVERNMENT DR. THE HON. TIMOTHY HARRIS PRIME MINISTER OF ST KITTS AND NEVIS ON THE OCCASION OF THE NINETEENTH SPECIAL MEETING OF THE CONFERENCE OF HEADS OF GOVERNMENT ON SECURITY
Posted in: Speeches by volderine | 03 May 2019 | 298
Colleagues, we meet here today as we are deeply concerned about the level of crime in the Community and the need to strengthen our cooperation in security.
When the decision was taken to make Security Cooperation the fourth pillar of our integration movement it was in recognition that a regional solution was needed for a regional problem. It gave us the foundation upon which we could build regional responses to national threats and threats to the Community. It also helped us to construct a security architecture which is in our best interest to support to the fullest extent.
The multidimensional nature of crime and the multi-layered approach required to tackle criminality, requires a strengthened information and intelligence mechanism at the national and regional levels. Critical to this is data collection. That must form the basis of devising strategies and strengthening policy and operational responses to the challenges we face.
There must be closer collaboration among our law enforcement agencies including those tasked with border security on land and sea. Illicit trafficking in guns, drugs and people pose significant threats to our security and enhanced co-operation is an urgent necessity to help in combatting them.
There is no doubt that guns are the most instrumental factor contributing to serious crimes and high murder rates in the Region. At least 70 per cent of the violent crimes recorded in CARICOM Member States, have been committed with the use of illegal firearms.
The high levels of gun related crimes we are experiencing are largely the result of the nexus between the illicit trade in drugs and small arms and light weapons. This is compounded by our geographical location which has made the Region a target for the transhipment of both drugs and firearms with enough of each remaining to fuel gang wars and other criminal activities.
Colleagues, even as we seek to curtail this phenomenon, our law enforcement actions must be accompanied by an increased focus on the preventative aspects. We require innovative and inventive social and economic programmes to lure into a productive lifestyle those most enticed by the rewards of criminal activity.
There is no quick fix nor easy solutions but we have a responsibility as leaders to provide a safe and secure environment for our citizens. We have to address the root causes and other facilitating factors that create the conditions which foster this anti-social behaviour.
As we meet in this Special Session on Security, there is no better way to demonstrate our commitment than by signing key pieces of security related legislation that have been opened for signature or ratification for a considerable time. Some have been languishing for as many as 10 years and others, more recently.
I refer at this time to: the Protocol Amending the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas to Incorporate the Council for National Security and Law Enforcement (CONSLE) as an Organ of the Community and the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) as an Institution of the Community; the Agreement on the Return or Sharing of Recovered Assets; and the Declaration of Intent to Provisionally Apply the Agreement on the Return or Sharing of Recovered Assets.
These outstanding pieces of legislation affect the ability of the regional framework to function properly and in fact stymie the detection rate of some crimes.
The legislative framework provides the authority and legitimacy through which those that are charged with securing the Region’s people and infrastructure act. These are as crucial as the physical resources or training that may be provided to combat the various threats. It is crucial that these be signed and ratified urgently.
We also need to ensure that everyone enacts the model legislation that has been prepared and circulated for the Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS) and Advanced Cargo Information System (ACIS).
When we rise later today, we must be satisfied that this Nineteenth Special Meeting on Security would have significantly advanced measures and actions to provide for the safety and security of our citizens and our nations. It is the paramount responsibility we have as Leaders of our countries.
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
3 MAY 2019
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