Burch highlights importance of Caricom gathering
National Security Minister David Burch has attended a meeting in the Caribbean to discuss security, policing and other law enforcement issues.
The Senate leader attended the 11th Caricom Council of Ministers Responsible for National Security (CONSLE) held in Antigua on December 1 and 2.
He joined National Security Ministers from Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, the Bahamas, Barbados, the Cayman Islands and Trinidad and Tobago.
Sen Burch said: “There are still those who question Bermuda's participation in this regional organisation and they are likely to continue to do so in spite of this or any report.
“But I can state that our participation at this level is critically important to the security of our country as evidenced by our enhanced collaboration and interdiction successes by our border protection agencies.”
He said prior to the World Cup of Cricket in 2007, Caricom formed a regional group called Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) to oversee and coordinate anti crime activities in the Caribbean.
Bermuda decided to participate and Bermuda Regiment troops were on hand to help with security in Bridgetown, Barbados, he explained.
“Additionally, our Commissioner of Police and Commanding Officer of the Bermuda Regiment participate in IMPACS conferences and workshops. Out of that effort IMPACS has evolved as a permanent agency.”
Sen Burch said there was also a report and subsequent discussion on the first meeting of the Caribbean Security Initiative, a joint security effort between the US and the region.
Launched earlier this year, the first meeting was held in Jamaica and IMPACS is expected to hold further discussions about the initiative early in the New Year.
At the same time as the meeting in Antigua, Sen Burch said he nominated a senior police and customs officer to attend a separate conference on how to fight against organised crime and drug trafficking.
That conference was held in Port of Spain, Trinidad on December 2 and 3 and sponsored by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
Superintendent Andrew Boyce and Principal Customs Officer of the Joint Intelligence Unit Steven Perinchief attended on behalf of Bermuda.