Cash injection for regional security forces

This will be added to the $2 million in equipment donation, and the US$10 million for the Regional Security System’s Airwing which were all announced last November.

This was disclosed by director of Narcotic Affairs at the US Embassy in Bridgetown, Kurt van der Walde. “This would be used specifically for border and port security for Eastern Caribbean countries and aimed primarily at providing operational mentoring for our partner nations,” he said.

However, Caribbean countries must step up to the plate and show results that the funds received are helping in order to continue benefitting from the massive injection of money in the future.

“We plan to support success in those countries and agencies that are showing true partnership. Conversely, we will not continue to support those countries and agencies that can’t show results, or don’t exhibit partnership with us,” van der Walde stated.

Walde also warned that the CBSI funding will not go on forever as the training and equipment donations will end in a few years.

The director said US experts will continue to visit each benefitting island to collaborate and share global best practices in detecting and combating illicit activity that causes breaches in border security.

This, he told participants of a Regional Security System Border Security and Anti-Terrorism course at Paragon, needed to be achieved through a unified regional response.

This prompted calls for an effective information sharing mechanism throughout the region from Regional Security co-ordinator Grantley Watson.

“We must be made aware that constant failure to assist our neighbours when in need, could result in our alienation when we need support the most. This state of affairs is a disastrous recipe for the sustainment of a safe and secure region,” he said.

Watson called for inter-agency co-operation at all levels, stressing that drug smuggling and the threat of a terrorist attack were realities which regional countries needed to face.

According to Watson, it was important that agencies learnt from previous incidents and put targeted methods in place in an effort to reduce their vulnerability and make their borders more secure.

“Just because we cannot foresee the future does not mean that we should not be prepared for it….We must therefore never rest on our laurels and leave to change that everything will be alright,” he said.

He called on regional security forces including Barbados to be proactive and decisive in their actions in an effort to fight transnational crime. “We must always prepare for any eventuality, welcomed or not. That is the true art of success and progress,” he stated.

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