Security was at the core of the Conference in a range of areas including economic security, as it relates to the issue of correspondent banking and its implications for Caribbean economies and people; Community projections for economic opportunities and/or threats as a result of BREXIT; the signal of greater commitment to deeper integration by filling the gaps to realise a robust single market and economy; the expansion of trade and economic relations with Cuba and Chile; the territorial integrity of some Member States and securing their borders; the specific case of securing the human rights of persons of Haitian descent and Haitian migrants rendered stateless in the Dominican Republic; and security related to crime and security and Regional security systems.
In the context of crime and security, Heads of Government and other representatives of CARICOM’s Regional architecture, including Community Institutions and Associate Institutions, agreed to deepen and strengthen cooperation in this area,having been brought up to date on the major issues.
Specific agreements included approval for a review of the CARICOM Crime and Security Strategy (CCSS), one of two main policy frameworks which influence the Region’s security policy agenda. The strategic coordination between national security plans and the CCSS and ways to ensure that this was achieved, formed part of the discussions on the issue.
The Meeting agreed that urgent steps be taken to complete a number of critical Regional security agreements, with priority being given to the CARICOM Arrest Warrant Treaty, an essential instrument to address cross-border crime. The meeting not only agreed to its finalisation, but also to the timeline for doing so, which was set at “before the end of 2016”.
Appreciation was extended to the CARICOM Implementing Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS), with the acknowledgment of the important role this Community Institution continues to play in the Community’s effort to address crime and security.
According to the CARICOM Strategic Plan for 2015 to 2019 “…significant improvement of citizen security by facilitating a safe, just and free Community”, is an as aspect of its goal to ensure sustainable human and social development in the Region in order to build its social resilience.
Speaking at the opening of the Conference, CARICOM Lead Head with responsibility for Crime and Security, the Hon. Keith Rowley, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, emphasised his government’s commitment to an active role in all matters pertaining to security.
He noted, ‘the sustainable development of our community depends on us, the safety and security of our citizens is the foundation of our collective future welfare and prosperity’.
Continuing, he stated, “too much of our economy, too much of our well-being, too much progress and quality of life depends on security, for us not to be focused on the peace and comfort of our people”.
The CARICOM Secretariat, along with Member States, Community Institutions and other Regional and international stakeholders, continue to design, implement and execute policy and programmes in this area.