National security ministers from across the Caribbean are meeting for three days in Jamaica.
Jamaica’s National Security Minister, Dr. Horace Chang, says the gathering is crucial in addressing transnational crime that is seriously impacting several regional countries.
“The small arms trade, which was highlighted by the Prime Minister (Andrew Holness) when he spoke at the United Nations, is a major topic for all of us, also the transshipment of drugs. We are located between two major continents – the biggest producer of the drugs in South America, and the biggest market is North America,” Chang said.
Jamaica is hosting the 24th meeting of CARICOM’s Council of Ministers of National Security and Law Enforcement (CONSLE) which is also being attended by police commissioners from across the region.
CONSLE is responsible for the coordination of the multidimensional nature of security to ensure a safe and stable CARICOM. Jamaica is currently serving as chair of the body.
Chang said the region is also confronted by issues related to cybersecurity and general maritime security, “which are major strategic issues to be examined and to ensure greater collaboration among all Caribbean countries.
“Collaboration will definitely help in reducing the flow [of illicit guns and drugs] as we seek to make our borders safer and work with our friends in the region to share information and manage the entire maritime space.”
The CONSLE conference will include a meeting of the Security Cluster and a meeting with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), which will examine the progress on the regional Maritime Security Strategy and the Treaty of San José.
The treaty is aimed at enhancing the collective ability of the Caribbean to counter maritime drug trafficking.
“We look forward to a successful conference to strengthen the security bonds and sharing of information between our friends in the region so that we can all operate in a safer space,” Chang said.