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Regional security ministers meeting


rhondathompson, [email protected]

Regional security ministers meeting

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CASTRIES, St Lucia – National security ministers from countries represented on the Regional Security System (RSS) began a meeting in St Lucia today intended to devise new strategies to deal with the escalating crime situation in the region.
At least three prime ministers are attending the one-day meeting of the Council of Ministers of the RSS which links  Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts- Nevis, Dominica, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the host country in a joint security pact that includes providing mutual help on request.
Chairman of the RSS Council of Ministers Guy Mayers said that delegates will examine exactly what are the threats to the region, conduct a review of the work of the council for the last year and see how the islands can have a closer collaboration for the security of their borders. 
“The Council of Ministers is a group that is responsible to oversee the work of the RSS and so we will meet on Friday to review our performance, review the security threats in the world and the region and come up with an adequate response,” said Mayers, who is also St. Lucia’s  National Security Minister.
The ministerial meeting, which was preceded by a meeting of officials on Thursday including regional police commissioners,  will also discuss efforts toward a harmonised approach to tackling crime through the formation of a single Organisation of eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Police force.
A final document will eventually be presented to the OECS leaders later this year.
“With crime becoming an increasing concern throughout the OECS, sub-regional Security Ministers have agreed that a single police force for the region in one sure way to fight back,” Mayers said.
While details of the proposal have not been made public, Mayers says the single OECS police force is expected to be even more effective than the current RSS. 
“Under the RSS we have a certain understanding with regards to the training that is conducted by the islands on behalf of the RSS but with a single police unit managing and supervising the work of the police will create better synergies among the police forces in the OECS and we expected that this would lead to greater success in our fight against crime.  
“The mere fact that you can create a situation where you have police on the beat who are less known to family and friends, it will avoid some of the problems you have in small islands like St. Lucia where everybody knows everybody.  In addition there maybe need for covert operations to be done and if the security units are not known they can better carry out those operations,” Mayers said.
Apart from the single OECS police force, the meeting will also examine proposals for the creation of a single judicial and law enforcement space. 
“For instance of a St. Lucian commits a crime in his country and jumps on a fishing boat headed for St. Vincent, we want to ensure that we have the capacity to pursue that person in St. Vincent and bring him back to St. Lucia and not have to go through the hassle of a long extradition treaties and processes in the court.” (CMC)

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