Cautious response from region
Caribbean governments have been giving a cautious response to the death of Osama bin laden, the leader of the terrorist group al-Qaeda, who was killed by a special United States military unit in Pakistan on Sunday.
While the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping is yet to issue a joint statement on the matter, individual regional countries have been making their position known on the issue.
Grenada’s Prime Minister Tillman Thomas, who is also the CARICOM Chairman, said “one thing that is for sure, his death will demorallise the group and there is the likelihood of different fractions emerging because the person they looked on as a leader is no more.
“He was the person who guided the members and he will not be replaced very easily”.
Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart said the country, like all other countries worldwide would be interested in Bin laden’s death.
“Barbados does not get itself involved in disputes of this kind. Our foreign policy is still what it always used to be: ‘friends of all, satellites of none’. But we cannot bury our heads in the sand. We are a tourist economy and if a terrorist element anywhere in the world feels offended by something that another country has done and the residents of that country come to Barbados, we have to face the reality to take all the necessary precautions,” he said.
Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar told reporters that bin Laden’s killing created a complicated scenario for the world.
“Half the world is rejoicing and there are others who are not rejoicing. It is a very complicated issue but for the free world there is rejoicing,” she said.
Trinidad and Tobago has indicated that it is likely to beef up security at its embassies in the United States and Britain.
“At the moment, there is no indication that there is any threat to Trinidad and Tobago, none whatsoever,” she said.
Fourteen Trinidadians died in the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington on September 11, 2001.
Earlier, Jamaica said it welcomed the death bin Laden, saying it is satisfied that justice had been served.
“For many years the world has had to live with the threat of international terrorism and to suffer the wanton assaults on innocent men, women, and children that have destroyed countless lives, wounded thousands, and left a legacy of pain and hurt that abide in our individual and collective memories,” Foreign Minister Dr Ken Baugh said in a statement.
“The Government of Jamaica is satisfied that justice has indeed been served by the execution of Osama bin Laden by US Special Forces and commends the US Government and military for their resolve and tenacity in the fight against international terrorism.”
The Dominica government is warning against complacency by the international community in the aftermath of the killing bin Laden.
Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Alvin Bernard said the Roosevelt Skerrit led administration was pleased with the recent development but said the fight against terrorist activity should continue unabated.
“From the Dominica perspective, the government of Dominica has always taken a stance against terrorism and has taken the initiative to implement legislation to deal with acts of terrorism.
“However, while the events over the last 72 hrs would have provided relief and consolation for all concerned it is no cause for complacency. This is because ten years have elapsed since the events of 9/11 and during that interval a lot has happened as the movement of al Qaeda has become more entrenched and more pervasive,” Bernard said.
But the Dominica government is urging the international community not to sit back and think the fight against international terrorism has ended.
“I think in fact we have to become even more resolved against this phenomenon,” Bernard said, adding that he expects security to be increased at ports of entries as a necessary precaution against increased terrorist activity.
“I expect the inconveniences of travel but I recognize it is a necessary inconvenience for all concerned and we ought not to let our guard down because I believe the whole phenomenon of terrorism is immoral,” he said. (CMC)