Caribbean Leaders Discuss Numerous Crime Issues

Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
April 07, 2008 (CUOPM)

A number of agreements will be signed to fight human trafficking, drug trafficking and other crimes in the Caribbean region.

Caribbean leaders at the 13th Special Meeting in Trinidad and Tobago last weekend agreed to sign the Maritime and Airspace Security Cooperation Agreement by July this year, engage international partners, particularly the United States of America, with respect to the implications for the Region of their anti-narcotics efforts in Central America and the Pacific Coast and immediately draft model national legislation for enactment by Member States.

With regard to intelligence and information sharing, it was agreed to conduct of a region-wide information campaign against crime to be facilitated by CARICOM Secretariat; the retooling, retraining, and realignment of national and regional Intelligence Units to assist law enforcement agencies in the fight against Crime and utilise current facilities such as the Regional Intelligence Fusion Centre (RIFC), the Joint Regional Communications Centre (JRCC) and the CARICOM Watch List.

On the matter dealing with the procurement of equipment, Caribbean leaders agreed to formulate a strategy for information sharing in the procurement of assets among military and law enforcement entities in Member States; assign a Working Group to create an index/inventory of existing resources in the Region; identify the gaps therein and recommend equipment to fill the gaps identified.

It was also agreed to explore the establishment of a Rapid Deployment Regional Joint Force, enforce existing regulations that pertain to the use and storage of firearms and ammunition, develop a regional database of firearms which is accessible by all regional law enforcement agencies, increase the capacity of detection and surveillance methods in relation to the movement of firearms including the importation, sale, transfer, theft and use of firearms and introduce measures to improve systems, procedures, intelligence and training with a view to enhancing border security.

Regional leaders also agreed to increase the capability and coordination among law enforcement agencies to develop intelligence to conduct operations, and to enhance the enforcement of laws with regard to drug trafficking, maximise the use of available technology in detection, deterrence and seizure of illegal drugs entering and transiting the Region and ensure the implementation of systems, procedures, intelligence and training with a view to enhancing border security.

The establishment and development of specially trained, equipped and dedicated teams of homicide investigators, full utilisation of forensics, including DNA and comprehensive crime scene management, the introduction of video in criminal proceeding, inclusive of ID parades and timely completion of investigations and improve conditions for speedy prosecution of persons charged were also agreed upon.

With regard to crime prevention, Caribbean leaders agreed to promote inter-agency collaboration for crime prevention at the national level, establish the Regional Investigative Management Team to support difficult and protracted investigations, implement the CARICOM Justice Protection Programme and work towards the establishment of a Western Hemispheric Justice Protection Programme, establish a CARICOM polygraphing capacity with a view to addressing corruption in law enforcement and other agencies and enact legislation to allow for plea bargaining, the interception of communications and confiscation of assets connected to criminal activity.

It was also agreed to the development of monitoring capability, intelligence monitoring and analytic capacity on gang related activity nationally and regionally in the fight against gang- and youth-related violence and the establishment and training of counter-kidnapping units (response teams and hostage negotiators), increased use of technology and intelligence and monitor and target gangs/individuals whose modus operandi includes kidnapping/forcible abduction.

Caribbean Presidents, Prime Ministers, Premier and Chief Ministers also agreed to pursue negotiations of standardised agreements/MOUs with Canada, to United Kingdom, the United States of America and other states with regard to deportees with the view that those agreements or MOUs should provide for adequate notification periods, the settlement of personal affairs prior to deportation of long-term residents, complete dossiers, including criminal antecedents and medical records where applicable, appropriate arrangements to reduce the financial burden on deported persons, and on receiving countries, support for programmes designed to aid the rehabilitation and reintegration of deported persons in the Region.

Agreement was reached on the establishment of a mandatory requirement for the enforcement of monitoring orders where persons are deported in relation to convictions for specified major offences, the development of an information-sharing protocol to guide the transfer and dissemination of information related to deported persons between relevant law enforcement authorities throughout the Region and collaboration in the establishment of transition centres in each country to facilitate short-term stays for deported persons without shelter and/or familial support.

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