Regional Maritime Security On The Agenda

Senior Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, The Most Honourable Jerome Walcott (middle) flanked by left to right: Mr. Callixtus Joseph (CARICOM IMPACS), Ms. Josefina Otero (UNODC), Lt. Col Michael Jones (Executive Director, CARICOM IMPACS), Senior Foreign Service Officers Mrs. Sandra Gittens and Mr. Tyronne Brathwaite and Foreign Service Officer Ms. Janaé Kellman (Photo credit: Government of Barbados)

Author: Government of Barbados

Improving maritime security was the focus of discussion when officials from the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) had a working meeting with Senior Minister and Minister of Foreign and Foreign Trade, Senator Dr. The Most Honourable Jerome Walcott.

The officials provided the Senior Minister with a briefing on the development of a Caribbean Maritime Security Strategy which seeks to address inter alia trafficking and smuggling (firearms, illicit drugs, people, flora and fauna, antiquities, counterfeit goods, minerals/fuel, cash); theft of other natural resources; illegal migration; illegal dumping and pollution of the environment; terrorism and Illegal, Unreported or Unregulated (IUU) Fishing.

Senior Minister Walcott noted that the Caribbean Maritime Security Strategy was ambitious but highly necessary and timely. He advised that the Association of Caribbean States should also be consulted given that it has as a mandate the promotion of an integrated management approach to the Caribbean Sea within the context of sustainable development.

In turn, Executive Director CARICOM IMPACS, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Jones, disclosed that throughout the consultative process, there is the realization that security issues are inextricably linked to development. He maintained that threats to law enforcement and security have been particularly disconcerting to CARICOM hence the intention of the regional leaders to address the issue of crime and violence from a public health perspective.

Alluding to the San Jose Treaty which seeks to enhance maritime security, the UNODC representative Ms. Josefina Otero, explained that while countries already have their national security strategy, the Caribbean Maritime Security Strategy would enhance the maintenance of national and regional security in times of emergency and natural disasters. She added that it must also be borne in mind that criminals operate without geographic boundaries.

In addition to the meeting with the Senior Minister, the CARICOM IMPACS and UNODC team also met with other senior and technical government officials.  (MFAFT)

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