Press Release:– Minister for Home Affairs, Justice and National Security Senator the Honourable Hermangild Francis along with Attorney General Stephen C.J. Julien on Friday, January 25, 2019 returned on island after attending the one-day Regional Security System (RSS) Council of Ministers’ Meeting in Barbados.
Minister Francis said the one-day meeting is a strong signal that Caribbean leaders remain highly committed to collectively combating crime.
He also described the meeting as productive and geared towards setting the tone for the New Year.
“The highlights of the meeting indicated that the escalation in lawless activities is really a regional problem and not per se an isolated or one “island” issue. Barbados for example has had eight homicides already and this is very unusual for Barbados historically. At the meeting Prime Minister Mia Mottley stated clearly that she was very keen to address that, as well as Prime Minister Ralph Gonzales who in respect to Saint Vincent, shared a similar concern. Saint Lucia too espoused these sentiments and so the best approach is to keep working together to push back on the criminality in way that sends a strong message.”
Minister Francis explained that there are some negative dynamics associated to the free movement of people around the region and those appear to be strong contributory factors, to the current challenges confronting the region. “I talked about the Free Movement of People and those who misuse this as a means to move around committing serious crimes and then moving again to evade Police. I also talked about the polygraph tests and every leader present supported that this should be applied to everyone working in law enforcement and border control before they are hired and then periodically thereafter”.
Another major talking point for the regional leaders he says was the judiciary‘s role in the context of the region’s response to criminality.
“Bail seems to be given to notorious characters so easily that it defeats the work of the police”, he lamented.
Other talking points from the RSS Council of Ministers Meeting included Gangs and the Anti-Gang Legislation, the implementation of a new Anti- Corruption Unit for the RSS, adoption of a harmonious position on the marijuana issue and the feasibility of an inter-island exchange programme to benefit law enforcement officers.