National Security Minister, Hermangild Francis, has voiced concerns about terrorism and the possible effect on tourism in an address to members of the Saint Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture.
Addressing private sector representatives on Wednesday, Francis disclosed that he has discussed the issue of terrorism with the Director of the Regional Security System (RSS) and the threat it poses to the Caribbean.
“We do not have the exact number of ISIS fighters returning to their countries but we know that between 150 to 400 of these individuals, especially from Trinidad and Tobago, have returned,” the former Deputy Police Commissioner who is currently Chairman of the RSS said.
He asserted that the situation was very problematic for the Caribbean.
“Imagine, most of the Islands are depending on tourism and we have an incident with one of our tourist ships – maybe in Aruba, Martinique, Saint Vincent – you could imagine the sort of catastrophic reaction that is going to happen to our main export,” the minister stated.
Francis said that Saint Lucia will be addressing the issue by going to the primary schools to ensure that young children are not radicalised.
According to Francis, all the evidence indicates that children are radicalised from a very early age.
“That is one of the techniques that the ISIS movement uses,” he observed.
“We are going to make sure, with the help of our minister of education, to put in place programmes so that those young children – vulnerable children, can be taught how to deal with radicalisation,” Francis told members of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture.