NASSAU, Bahamas — The adoption of the Political Declaration on Combating Illicit Drug Trafficking, Organized Crime, Terrorism and other Serious Crime in the Caribbean should help to reinforce and strengthen national and regional efforts in the war on illicit drug trafficking, transnational organized crime and terrorism, according to Minister of National Security, the Hon. Tommy Turnquest.
Regional National Security Ministers, Attorneys General and Ministers of Legal Affairs signed onto the Declaration during the Ministerial Conference on Illicit Drug Trafficking, Transnational Organized Crime and Terrorism held February 17-20 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
The Meeting was held under the auspices of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in cooperation with the Government of the Dominican Republic.
Minister Turnquest, who was elected the Conference’s Rapporteur (designated to give the meeting’s report) was accompanied to Santo Domingo by Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Senator the Hon. Michael Barnett and other senior law enforcement and national security officials.
Mr. Turnquest told his regional colleagues that the multi-faceted threats facing the region make “a strong case for continued regional and international cooperation and the use of best practices in addressing serious challenges.”
“The issues of illicit drug trafficking, organized crime and terrorism and other serious crime challenges, affects us all as Ministers of National Security and as Attorneys General and Ministers of Legal Affairs here in the Caribbean,” Mr. Turnquest said.
“The region’s vulnerability to transnational criminal activity, unacceptable high levels of crime across the region, and the need to be vigilant with regards to the threat of international terrorism, make a strong case for continued regional and international cooperation and the use of best practices in addressing serious challenges,” Mr. Turnquest added.
Similar views were expressed by other conference participants including representatives from the United Nations Security Council’s three committees dealing with terrorism – the Inter-American Committee on Terrorism (CICTE), the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) and the UNODC.
The National Security Ministers also outlined areas in which international assistance is required, including funding for policies, programmes and mechanisms needed to implement and report under the numerous international and regional treaties addressing drug and arms trafficking, transnational organized crime and terrorism.
Delegates met with donor countries and organizations following the adoption of the Declaration and urged them to contribute to the implementation of the Conference’s Action Plan. Donor countries, in particular, were encouraged to consider providing funding, technical and other support to the Action Plan as an investment in security for themselves and all concerned countries.
Mr. Turnquest said the Declaration supports the Conference’s primary objective of ensuring that regional efforts to counter drugs and arms trafficking, transnational organized crime and terrorism and other crimes “are more coherent, mutually supportive and effective.”
Minister Turnquest, along with Attorney General Barnett, joined other regional Ministers of National Security and Attorneys General in making strong representation for the re-opening of an Office of the UNODC in the Caribbean. The UNODC closed its office in Barbados five years ago, citing costs and other “considerations.”
“The Political Declaration of the conference confirmed that the Ministers and Attorneys General are looking forward to the return of a Caribbean-based UNODC in the very near future,” officials said.
Minister of National Security, the Hon. Tommy Turnquest headed The Bahamas’ delegation to the Ministerial Conference on Crime and Security held February 17-20 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Minister Turnquest was accompanied by Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Senator the Hon. Michael Barnett. Pictured from left are Assistant Commissioner of Police Raymond Gibson, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of National Security Missouri Sherman-Peter; Minister Turnquest; Attorney-General Barnett and Director of Public Prosecutions Bernard Turner.
Minister of National Security, the Hon. Tommy Turnquest engages in a discussion with Secretary for the Interior and Police of the Dominican Republic, Franklin Almayeda Rancier (Chairman), and the Executive Director of UNODC, Antonio Maria Costa, during the Ministerial Conference on Crime and Security held February 17-20 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Mr. Turnquest was appointed Conference Rapporteur.