Prime Minister calls for Recommitment to Regional Agencies

Friday, April 12, 2019 8:07 PM- George's, Grenada
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April 12, 2019 – Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr. the Right Honourable Keith Mitchell has called on CARICOM countries to recommit themselves to funding institutions that are part of the regional security infrastructure.

Dr. Mitchell made the call during remarks delivered at the start of the 20th Meeting of the Council for National Security and Law Enforcement (CONSLE) which was held in Grenada on Friday.

Dr. Mitchell who chaired the CONSLE meeting, said security must be treated with the importance it deserves. He said, “We claim to have security as our number one priority.

The movement of people, trans-border crime and the threat of terrorism pose significant challenges. Security is an item on the agenda of every Heads of Government meeting that I have attended.”

He added, “We therefore must be prepared to finance the operations of the institutions that protect and serve us in that area.

They serve us well and we all benefit. It is important therefore that we all contribute to ensuring the sustainability of these organisations. The security of our region should never be compromised by our failure to demonstrate full commitment to our regional institutions.”

The Prime Minister told local and regional delegates attending the meeting, “Let us not leave here today without frank discussion on the financing of the region’s security architecture and important institutions such as CARICOM IMPACS, the Regional Security System and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency. Lest we forget, each of these institutions are different but complementary components of our wider security architecture and provide critical services to all of us in this region.”

Dr. Mitchell underscored the need for the region to be united, particularly on security matters. He said, “We must therefore have regular discourse on security and adopt regional positions that give consideration to what is best for all concerned.”
Citing Venezuela as a current area that illustrates the need for unity, the Prime Minister said, “We should all be singing from same hymn sheet with respect to Venezuela. It is unfortunate that we have not been doing so.

It is important for us to realise that the only way to succeed and be taken seriously, we must hold hands together. We may not always agree with each other, but we must hold hands together, that is when we are respected. Simply put, each country’s security is correlated with others, we have to accept that.”

Speaking generally on crime in the Caribbean. Dr. Mitchell said it remains an inescapable reality. He said, “Despite the very best efforts of law enforcement agencies, crime continues to plague our societies. Some of our neighbouring countries right here in the Caribbean are classified amongst the most violent in the world by virtue of the number of homicides to population ratio. Also, the proliferation of illegal firearms which continues to play a significant role in organised criminal activity, is leaving too many victims in its wake.”

The Grenadian leader appealed to colleague National Security Ministers and other delegates to seek regional solutions. “I ask that you address the matters not only from a national perspective, but to consider them from a regional standpoint. I encourage you to recognise that there is strength in unity and any divisive behavior can only hinder the region’s progress towards continuously improving our economies and creating better opportunities for our citizens.”

Friday’s meeting served as preparation for a Special Summit of CARICOM Heads of Government, scheduled for early May in Trinidad and Tobago, which will focus specifically on matters of security and give consideration to regional strategies and activities currently underway in the ongoing fight against crime.




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