National Security Minister, Victor La Corbiniere, discussing the ISIS threat to the Caribbean, has said that the Muslim religion can never be a problem.
“If you are Catholic or Muslim or Buddhist, clearly you have freedom of expression and the right to participate in any religion that you would like,” the Minister declared in an interview.
He asserted that his historical understanding of all of those religions is that all have a good and fundamental basis, looking at bettering humanity.
However La Corbiniere explained that what individuals choose to do under the cover of religion is a different matter.
He recalled by way of example that in Christianity there have been Christian wars, and asserted that Saint Lucia has to stand firm against any form of criminality under any kind of banner, religious or otherwise.
The Minister observed that Muslims have contributed a lot of good to the world.
With regard to the specific threat of ISIS, La Corbiniere disclosed that the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) has been strengthened to deal with the issue.
“Part of what we need to do is work with international agencies and governments because a lot of this has to do with intelligence,” he said.
The Minister said:
“From time to time people come into Saint Lucia and we have reason to suspect that for one reason or another they may not be the sort of persons that you would want to have here, but you must be able to have the intelligence and the process by which you screen them which would allow you to pick up some of those issues.”
La Ciorbiniere said he believes that every single country in the Caribbean would have had persons who are potentially flagged as being involved in terrorism or terrorism financing who visit from time to time.
He explained that the requisite mechanisms would have to be put in place to address that issue.
He said it was not always a matter of being able to send such persons back, but creating a framework to manage the process properly.
The Minister said he was fairly confident that Saint Lucia has worked to put such a system in place, although resources are limited.