Fighting crime with donors help
Guyana Chronicle
March 12, 2003

Related Links: Articles on CARICOM
Letters Menu Archival Menu

SEEKING financial and technical assistance to fight serious crimes linked to narco-trafficking, gun-running and also associated with the hundreds of deportees being sent to the region from North America, and the USA in particular, has become a matter of priority for governments of the Caribbean Community.

At a time when transnational crime, such as money laundering and financing of terrorism is a preoccupation for major industrialised nations, the governments of CARICOM are anxious to get traditional aid and trade partners in Europe and North America much more focused on listening to what they have to say on the challenges of crime and security.

The intention is that having objectively assessed the problems confronting the region, the international donor community will appreciate why they should undertake a critical review of their own policies to be more forthcoming in providing financial and technical assistance to the Caribbean in the fight against drugs and arms trafficking, and money laundering.

Just last week, Sir Ronald Sanders, Antigua and Barbuda's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and Deputy Chairman of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force, lamented the decline in foreign aid to the Caribbean for the anti-crime fight just when such assistance seems even more critical than previously.

In addressing a conference in Ottawa, Canada on `Crime in the Caribbean Basin -- Options on Transnational Crime', hosted by the Canadian Foundation for the Americas, Sanders pointed to the serious threat that trafficking in firearms in the Caribbean poses for the security and stability of the region.

The envoy urged participants to use their influence in securing support for last month's decision by CARICOM heads of government in Port-of-Spain to seek a high-level meeting with the donor community focused on the implementation of an 'Action Plan on Crime and Security' in May this year.

The hope is that the international donor community will be responsive to the calls from CARICOM in the new strategies on crime and security.

In its latest report, the Regional Task Force on Crime and Security noted that the negative impact of crime and violence on the sustainable development of some member states of CARICOM "compels us to make a clear link between crime prevention and developmental strategies..."

Against the findings of the Task Force, came the disclosure in Ottawa last week by High Commissioner Sanders that "there is now evidence of a network of criminals throughout the Caribbean who are known to each other in Canada and the United States..."

There is, therefore, all the more urgency for the donor community to rethink the cutbacks in assistance to the region on anti-crime programmes, and be willing to participate in the high-level meetings currently being organised.

(Reprinted from yesterday's 'Daily Nation' of Barbados)

Site Meter