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Published 23 March 2023


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Basseterre, Saint Kitts and Nevis, March 22, 2023: The Prime Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Minister of National Security, the Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew joined other Regional Heads for the Regional Security Systems (RSS) Council of Ministers meeting in Grenada today, [Wednesday 22nd March 2023].

The Prime Minister was accompanied by the Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security Ms. Cecile Hull, Commissioner of Police Mr. James Sutton, and Commander of St. Kitts and Nevis Defence Force (SKNDF), Lieutenant Colonel J. Anthony Comrie.

The one-day meeting provided a platform for regional leaders to exchange ideas and discuss best practices for enhancing regional security. The regional heads discussed the importance of addressing the current challenges such as illegal arms trade, drug trafficking, and intelligence gathering while reasserting their commitment to strengthening collaborations.

(Regional Leaders at the Regional Security Systems (RSS) Council of Ministers meeting in Grenada)

During the Opening Ceremony, the Honourable Dickon Mitchell, Chairman of the RSS Council of Ministers, Prime Minister of Grenada, and Minister of National Security, Home Affairs and Public Administration et. al., his Opening Statement lauded the RSS model for the admiration and recognition it has been receiving not only regionally, but globally.

“The RSS continues to provide significant value to regional security. Reflecting on the work of the Regional Security System, I’m immensely proud of the organization’s record of accomplishments and its ability to pivot and adapt in response to converging threats,” RSS Chairman, Prime Minister Mitchell stated.

Chairman Dickon Mitchell added that the RSS has currently been deployed to Saint Lucia for three (3) weeks “to assist with restoring order and calm to a section of the country that has recently experienced a spike in gun-related criminal activity”.

He added that “strategically, the institution is tasked with protecting and securing our nation’s borders through the planning and preparation and training of law enforcement and military agencies, the mentoring and development of financial investigator, the recovery and extraction of digital evidence, and the collection and analysis of crime data to support evidence-based policing”.

In underscoring the significance of the RSS and reaffirming the United States’ commitment to support the region, Her Excellency Linda Taglialatela, Ambassador of the United States to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean, and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), strongly encouraged “all RSS member states to pass updated cybercrime laws” to ensure the continued success of the organization, “so the Eastern Caribbean has effective tools to fight transnational crime”.
Her Excellency Malgorzata Wasilewska, Ambassador of the European Union (EU) to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and CARICOM / CARIFORUM, reassured the regional leaders of the European Union’s support to regional security.

“Our delegation on Barbados, on behalf of the people of Europe, has realized a number of initiatives through our more than fifteen (15) years of collaboration with the RSS, especially in the area of strengthening the capacities of RSS member states’ defence and police officers. In this regard, we have recently kicked off a new project that will allow the delivery of six (6) training programmes over the next twenty-four (24) months. The first course on joint operational planning gathered sixteen (16) officers at the RSS training institute for four (4) weeks between February and March of this year. We look forward to upcoming activities which include a full-scale field training exercise scheduled for April 2024 in Saint Lucia,” Ambassador Wasilewska stated.

As part of the EU’s commitment towards assisting with ensuring higher security standards in the region to track the movements of persons and cargo, Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska added that “a 48-month EU funding programme on criminal justice reform will assist eight (8) countries in the Eastern Caribbean including most of the RSS members in their efforts to reduce case backlogs by the provision of IT solutions and qualified expertise”.  This initiative will be implemented by the United Nations Development Partnership (UNDP).

Dr. Hyginus ‘Gene’ Leon, President of the Caribbean Development (CDB), addressed the regional leaders on the topic “Achieving Security and Development in the Caribbean through Regional Cooperation”.

In his address, Dr. Leon expressed wholeheartedly his passion for Caribbean development. He advised the regional leaders that “systemic integrity is imperative for holistic development…security therefore broadly defined is at the heart of development.” He further informed the leaders that “the pursuit of development starts and is maintained with a commitment to implementation and with that and only then will we have delivery on development outcomes. At CDB we embrace that philosophy, and we believe that to achieve sustainable development we must build a resilient ecosystem, one that encompasses all dimensions of resilience, including social resilience, financial resilience, environmental and productive capacity.”

During the discussion segment, in his response to the gang violence and crime within the Caribbean, Prime Minister and Minister of National Security Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew stated that there is a need for applying unconventional approaches.

He shared with his colleagues the mechanisms that have worked within the twin-island Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis and urged the delegates to seek balance in the approaches stating that they “cannot just approach with an iron fist”.

Each speaker reiterated the significance of strengthening relations with fellow member states to promote regional stability and security.

The RSS Treaty was signed in Grenada on March 5th, 1996, replacing the 1982 Memorandum of Understanding.

The meeting can be viewed here

Prime Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis and Minister of National Security, the Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew at the Regional Security Systems (RSS) Council of Ministers meeting in Grenada. 

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