CARICOM Ministers of National Security and Law Enforcement will meet in Suriname this week to discuss ways to boost the regional agenda for crime and security as they seek to step up the ongoing battle against crime and violence in the Region.
The Eighth Meeting of the Council of Ministers Responsible for National Security and Law Enforcement (CONSLE) starts on Thursday with an official opening ceremony to be addressed by the President of Suriname, as well as by other CARICOM officials.
The addresses are expected to provoke thoughts on crime prevention strategies and policies that can help to build sustainable capacity and strengthen regional and international cooperation against crime – particularly in the areas of drug trafficking and illicit firearms.
Following the opening ceremony, Security Ministers will get down to the business of the agenda on which a primary item is the status of the legal process for instituting security co-operation as the fourth pillar of the Community, and subsequently establishing the CONSLE as an organ of the Community and the Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS), a Community institution.
According to a release from the CARICOM Secretariat, for this process to be completed, all 15 Member-States must sign a Protocol to amend the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, which will allow for the incorporation of CONSLE into the Treaty.
To date six Member-States have signed.
In addition, the CONSLE will discuss plans to advance its preparation for the launch of the CARICOM Travel Pass (CARIPASS) as well as the drafting and ratification of legal frameworks for the implementation of the Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) and the Advance Customs Information System (ACIS), all of which are mechanisms designed to facilitate hassle free movement and tighter security at ports of entry and borders across the region.
A regional crime prevention strategy is also on the agenda and plans to re-engage the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in the region, including the recent CARICOM-UNODC initiative to develop a CARICOM Social and Development Crime Prevention Action Plan, will also be the subject of discussion.
This targeted plan focuses on reducing violence, fostering social inclusion, promoting re-integration, empowering victims and protecting the environmental and economic resources.
It is to be implemented early next year alongside the existing regional crime and security strategy.
Prior to the meeting of the CONSLE, the Security Policy Advisory Committee (SEPAC) began a two-day meeting yesterday while tomorrow, there will be a technical meeting between Officials of CARICOM and the USA in preparation for the Caribbean-USA High Level Dialogue on Security Cooperation later this year.
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