Caribbean Receives US Aid In Fighting Crime

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Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
April 12, 2012 (CUOPM)

St. Kitts and Nevis is expected to benefit from the announcement of an injection of $US77 million into the Caribbean next year to develop projects to fight crime and violence.

The funds will be disbursed through the security partnership between CARICOM states, the Dominican Republic and the US called the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) that was launched last year.

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Central America and the Caribbean, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs at the United States Department of State, Julissa Reynoso, said the 2012 budget would be used in part to support greater coordination and control of border and maritime routes, training and capacity building for law enforcement and justice sector.

She told a CBSI Commission meeting here that her country would be delivering high-speed interdiction boats and relevant equipment to the Eastern Caribbean as part of the US Secure Seas Effort to complement those already provided to the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica.

Guyana and Suriname will also receive riverine patrol boats and related equipment in 2012.

“We are proud of the accomplishments of the past year under the CBSI,” she said while noting concerns that the CBSI partnership had not made the impact that it should have.

“We have encountered many challenges but we believe that the CBSI provides a useful and necessary framework for coordination and collaboration with our partners in the region.”

The US representative said automated fingerprint identification system equipment were being purchased for six states, and, in accordance with a CBSI agreement, a regional legal advisor will develop a task force to address critical crime issues including homicides and to advise on legal reforms.

During the opening ceremony for the CBSI, Guyana’s Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee called for “practical well-thought out solutions” to relieve the strain on Caribbean populations by eliminating the causes of crime at the local, regional and hemispheric levels.

He acknowledged that progress has been made through the partnership but added that “much more work needed to be done,” to ensure that the peoples of both regions could feel secure.

He said the Commission needed to roll-out strategies and programs to address the growing problem of youth gangs and gang violence among other issues.

“There is urgent need to get to the stage to implementation so that the fruits of the partnership can trickle down to the benefit of the Caribbean peoples”¦of importance is the urgent need to begin to rolling out programmes that go to the heart of countering trafficking in narcotics and firearms, which poses a major challenge in the national security of our respective countries,” the Home Affairs Minister said.

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