US said committed to working with Caribbean on security issues

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — The United States says it is committed to working with Caribbean countries to combat threats that endanger their security and that the launch of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative on May 27 should be viewed in this regard.

US Department of State Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphere, Arturo Valenzuela, said that President Barack Obama had during the 2009 Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago voiced the US commitment to partnership in this hemisphere.

“On May 27, 2010, the United States and the nations of the Caribbean will live up to that responsibility by launching the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), an important step forward for the prosperity, security, and liberty of the region. CBSI will support a joint US-Caribbean partnership that addresses the various security and safety concerns of our respective governments and citizens,” Valenzuela said in a statement.

He said that the definition of security under this new view goes beyond assistance for security forces and anti-trafficking efforts.

“CBSI is a broad initiative that also puts an emphasis on citizen safety partnerships that recognise the need to invest in crime prevention approaches, including education and workforce development as alternatives to criminal enterprise. This comprehensive view also acknowledges the need to further strengthen justice sector institutions to successfully investigate and prosecute all forms of criminal activity.”

The US State Department official said that Washington and the Caribbean were entering a new phase in their relationship that should not be viewed as a panacea against crime and violence, “but the beginning of a collaborative approach, one that identifies and provides appropriate and sufficient resources to institutions and communities in a common effort to support their efforts.

“Over the past year, representatives from our governments have met four times to define our strategic priorities. We have similarly identified a framework for security cooperation and a broad plan of action. These are not mere political declarations but rather guiding documents that should set a clear path toward improving citizen safety over the coming years,” he added.

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