Regional officials strengthen partnership to fight crime

first_img Sharing is caring! Share NewsRegional Regional officials strengthen partnership to fight crime by: – November 14, 2011 From left: US Ambassador to The Bahamas Nicole Avant, Bahamas Minister of National Security Tommy Turnquest, US Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham and Minister of National Security of Antigua and Barbuda Dr Errol Cort. Photo: Tony Grant Jr NASSAU, Bahamas — The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other US agencies are working with Caribbean partners through the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) to develop a fingerprint collection system that will help check criminals against terrorism and criminal databases, US Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said on Thursday.“Once this system is operational, we believe it will allow for sharing of information between the United States and participating Caribbean countries,” said Napolitano, who spoke at the 2nd Annual CBSI Caribbean-United States Security Cooperation Dialogue at the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island.She outlined various initiatives — including aviation security training and anti-terrorism assessments — which she said are examples of strong, cooperative models that work, and that can be expanded and used to strengthen regional cooperation in other areas.“Ultimately, our success will hinge on how well we continue to work together within the framework of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative to advance our common goals.”Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, who also addressed the high-level gathering, said it was an important opportunity for regional leaders to act together to counter their countries’ continued vulnerability to transnational criminal activity, including drugs and arms trafficking, human smuggling, illegal immigration and money laundering. “The costs of the security measures we are required to take are daunting,” Ingraham said. “This is further complicated by the economic challenges generally faced by the region and now by the slow recovery from the global economic and financial crisis which continues to impact our own economies.”Ingraham expressed confidence that CBSI cooperation will measurably reduce transnational trafficking of all kinds.“The matters coming before this dialogue highlight the priorities to which our partnership will turn its attention in the year ahead: firearms controls, prison reform, juvenile justice and greater public and private sector and civil cooperation,” he said.“At the core of all our endeavours must be our commitment to the mutually supportive cooperative partnership we have established, that will foster greater regional coordination and ensure long-term sustainment of Caribbean-United States efforts.”The prime minister also acknowledged “a time-honoured” relationship between The Bahamas and the US Coast Guard in the area of search and rescue.He noted that on Wednesday night, a mail and passenger boat, the M/V Legacy, ran aground and was taking on water just off the coast of Abaco with 18 people including a child on board.Ingraham noted that it was determined that conditions would not permit a rescue by boat.He said only the US Coast Guard helicopter, dispatched from Andros, was able to rescue the nine crew and the nine passengers from the Legacy and transport them all to safety to Marsh Harbour, Abaco.Napolitano said that the Coast Guard and US government partners have committed to provide boats and related training to a number of Caribbean countries totaling $10.9 million to date.“In the future, we want to build on these efforts by working through the CBSI to improve our domain awareness in the Caribbean,” she said.“This increased collaboration may include sharing technology with partner countries, creating a system to share near real-time information about threats, and developing a maritime and air control strategy.“We also hope to work with you to create a new forum to share best practices and develop new tactics to counter drug trafficking and transnational criminal organizations.”By Candia DamesNassau Guardian News Editor Sharecenter_img Tweet Share 26 Views   no discussionslast_img

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