CARICOM Member States deepening cooperation to fight crime; Ministers of National Security zero in on firearms trafficking

Ministers of National Security and other delegates at the 24th Meeting of the CONSLE in Jamaica

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is deepening cooperation among Member States to ensure the safety of the Region as increasing and new forms of crimes are occurring.

Security and Law Enforcement Ministers met in Trelawny, Jamaica, on Thursday, 6 October for the 24th Meeting of the CARICOM Council for National Security and Law Enforcement (CONSLE). Deputy Prime Minister of Jamaica, and Minister of National Security, the Hon. Dr. Horace Chang chaired the meeting.  It was the first face-to-face meeting of the Council since the onset of the pandemic.

In their discussions, Ministers, Commissioners of Police and other security officials emphasized the urgency of tackling the threat of transatlantic organised crime, the trans-shipment of firearms and narcotics, maritime security, and cybercrimes. They underscored the importance of intelligence-sharing, aligning national and regional security priorities, and building partnerships and capacity across law enforcement agencies.

CARICOM Assistant Secretary-General, Human and Social Development, Ms. Alison Drayton and Chair of CONSLE, the Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Security of Jamaica listen to an intervention at the 24th CONSLE Meeting

The Meeting discussed matters that were critical to ensuring the viability and sustainability of the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (CARICOM IMPACS) – the nerve centre of the Region’s multilateral Crime and Security management architecture – in the face of a changing security environment that encompasses challenges such as cybercrimes.

At the conclusion of the Meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Chang pointed out that delegates focused heavily on firearms trafficking which he said was “maybe the greatest threat risk to the Caribbean countries,” where firearms are more widely used in homicides. Earlier, he noted that “none of our countries manufacture firearms and yet the ill effects of their proliferation and the contribution to gang violence and transnational criminal activities permeates our respective territories and are responsible for more than 70% of homicides in CARICOM”. 

“It’s a Caribbean problem and we need to get on top of that issue,” he said.

Delegates were updated on the CARICOM Crime Gun Intelligence Unit which will be operational within one month with the support of the Caribbean Interpol Liaison Office.

The CONSLE Chair said that regional cooperation is integral to establishment of the requisite  infrastructure  which is needed to deal with firearms trafficking and the associated criminality such as drug trafficking and, occurring almost simultaneously, expanding cybercrime activity.

“The fact that we were able to focus especially on the firearms trafficking at this meeting was of significant value and we can say we have entered a new era of cooperation in seeking to deal with a common threat to the Caribbean,” Dr. Chang said.

The series of meetings in Jamaica began on Tuesday, 4 October 2022.

On 5 October, CARICOM and the United National Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) had discussions on Maritime Security.

A meeting of the CARICOM Security Cluster and representatives of Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago was convened on 7 October to discuss preparations for a High Level Summit to address Crime and Violence as a Public Health Issue.

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