Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
May 26, 2010 (CUOPM)
Caribbean nations and the United States begin talks Thursday aimed at forging a security cooperation arrangement to tackle criminal and security threats to the region.
The Inaugural Caribbean-United States Security Cooperation Dialogue will take place in Washington D.C., USA.
The initiative is in keeping with a commitment made by U.S. President Hon. Barack Obama at the 5th Summit of the Americas held in Trinidad and Tobago in April 2009, to pursue a security partnership with the Caribbean through a Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI).
Since the Summit, CARICOM and U.S. officials have met jointly to define and develop the goals and scope of the CBSI, which has been rationalised as a “multi-year, multi-faceted effort by the US Government and Caribbean partners to develop a joint regional citizen safety strategy to tackle the full range of security and criminal threats to the Caribbean Basin.”
Discussions will take place under four broad priority areas namely: Substantially Reduce Illicit Trafficking; Advance Public Safety and Security; Promote Social Justice; and State Contributions.
Specific focus will be on strategies to improve the Region’s law enforcement capacity to substantially reduce illicit trafficking associated with transnational crimes, and approaches to prevent crimes by focusing on youth and other vulnerable sections of the population.
Chairman of the CARICOM Council for National Security and Law Enforcement (CONSLE), Senator the Hon. Dr. Errol Cort of Antigua and Barbuda will lead the CARICOM delegation, while US Attorney General Hon. Eric Holder is among the Washington officials who will be in dialogue with the CARICOM delegation.
Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Arturo Valenzuela will conduct the opening ceremony on the US side and Secretary for Homeland Security Janet Napolitano has been invited to be part of the dialogue.